It’s not every day that you see a brand bid adieu to social media. In fact, these are the accounts that surge their engagement during the holidays, when a lot of us are at least trying to unplug and relax IRL. Starting November 26, also known as Black Friday, Lush Cosmetics will be doing the exact opposite when it quits social media, which begs the question: will we see others eventually do the same?
First, here are the deets on Lush’s exit, formally titled the “Global Anti-Social Media Policy”: the brand will no longer post on four platforms–Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Facebook. Its Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest accounts will remain active for customer care and inspirational content, and the four aforementioned accounts will remain on those platforms for brand protection but no longer actively post or engage with followers. Lush will also invest more time and resources into its app, email newsletter, and in-person activations to make up for the disconnect.
This also isn’t the first time the UK-based brand has attempted a clean break from the interwebs. Back in 2019, it took an almost one-year break from social media before the unexpected challenges of COVID-19 forced it to come crawling back. This time, motivated in part by the growing concerns (and whistleblowing) around certain social media networks, Lush is giving it another shot.
“Social media was not designed to look after people’s health, but our products are. It is counter-intuitive for us to use platforms that keep you hyper-tense, engaged and anxious,” said Lush chief digital officer Jack Constantine. “I could be risking my career by doing this. And you can’t deny there’s a commercial risk, but we’re prioritising people over profit.”
There is definitely risk. Social media networks are constantly churning out resources for creators and entrepreneurs since studies have shown that these spaces have a major impact on our spending habits. Though this type of strategy could have positive implications for long-term loyalty, there is also the potential of (and inevitable) loss of profit. In fact, Lush anticipates that the change will be more of a slow burn.
Per Vogue Business:
“Mark Constantine estimates that the company could lose £10 million in the short-term. However, Lush’s direct sales from social media — not accounting for people who are prompted on social media but purchase through other channels — account for just 0.5 per cent of total sales.
Jack Constantine says the move won’t have much impact on digital marketing budgets. ‘We focus on content creation, which is used across platforms. We will repurpose where that content lives, but we weren’t doing paid social anyway, so we won’t be moving or losing budget there.'”
It will also be interesting to see if this takes hold among creators, whose success can partially hinge on their relationships with brands. If more brands continue to leave social media, what will that mean for the creator economy and social media at large? Most importantly, will this ultimately help make social media a safer space?
“If there are changes to these social media platforms, we will go back to them,” said Mark Constantine. “We would need to see them move away from the purposeful, addictive algorithms they use and follow the advice of their own research.”
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