Cosmetics chain Lush is closing down several of its social media accounts this week after growing “tired of fighting with algorithms”.
The firm, which sells soaps, bath bombs and beauty products, tweeted the announcement on Monday and asked followers to call, email or message via its website instead.
Lush UK has nearly 1.2 million followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
It told followers: “We're switching up social.
“Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed.
“So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.”
Last summer, Lush UK was criticised for a “damaging and distasteful” campaign hitting out at undercover policing in more than 100 of its stores.
Lush “has always been made up of many voices”, it added, and dropping social media means conversations won’t be held “in one place”.
The customer care team will be responding to messages and comments but soon enough the way to reach out will be through the website’s live chat, email, or calling.
This is to make social “more about passions and less about like”, Lush UK claims. Lush UK, Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla are all accounts set for the axe in a few days.
'This could do more harm than good for Lush's brand reputation'
Tony Oakley, head of digital at media strategists Medialab, described Lush UK’s decision as a “bold move” but “potentially brave”.
Reaching audiences across numerous channels is important, he added, and brands shouldn’t rely solely on social media – but he had a word of warning.
He said: “We understand that marketers are beginning to feel frustrated that social media has become the main bridge between them and consumers, however Lush’s core target audiences are digital natives who have an expectation that brands will have an ‘always on’ presence in this space, so this move could allow Lush to be playing into competitors’ hands.
“By scrapping the UK social channels, the company’s existing followers are at risk of feeling neglected, and this could do more harm than good for Lush’s brand reputation.
“The new strategy to focus on influencing by promoting the use of #LushCommunity needs to be fully thought out and strategised as, although it continues conversations online, anyone can latch on to the hashtag, whereas social profiles allowed them to communicate as a brand on both a one-to-one and one-to-many level.”
Samantha Kelly, founder of Women’s Inspire Network with nearly 50,000 followers herself, called the move “bizarre”.
She responded: “Social media is the best customer service tool and you have direct access to your customers.
“Also what about the people on Twitter over 200k followers are they not important? Do you RT others eg your customers...do you ask how they are/ post pics of behind the scenes.”
Social media strategist Brian Fanzo, who has 126,000 followers, suggested changing its use of social media was a better bet, rather than binning it altogether.
Moving away from social media would only give its audience “the feeling that you don’t care to hear from them”, he said.
Responding on Twitter, he said: “If you shift your vision of what success looks like [on] social media to driving conversations, providing value and creating content that celebrates your customers I have a feeling you’d find massive value here.
“I agree sales, talking at people and focusing on likes doesn’t work!”