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WAS LUSH RIGHT TO LEAVE UK SOCIAL MEDIA?

SPOILER: PROBABLY NOT

The UK has an estimated 45 million active social media users, that’s around 68% of the entire population. Globally that figure rises to just over 5 billion. So it seems like common sense that anyone looking to get the highest exposure possible for their brand or business would want to be on social media. Yet in recent months a growing number of organisations have been taking a ‘social media detox’. Or, in the recent case of Lush abandoning it all together.

Every social media user has quit a platform or two at one point in their lives. Taylor Swift (one of the most followed accounts on Twitter) famously deleted years of content from all her social media accounts and even her website back in 2017. However, like Swift, most of us find it difficult to maintain the detox for any significant length of time so it remains to be seen just how permanent Lush’s social media blackout is. It is also worth mentioning that the decision to up and leave social media only applies to the UK, the brand’s overseas’ accounts have remained active.

Why is this important? Well because helping to increase exposure and building up brand awareness are some of the main advantages of social media for businesses. Perhaps Lush feel they have reached a point of saturation in the UK and can now afford to take a risk.

For a lot of businesses social media provides a cost effective solution to increasing brand visibility, with the added benefit of boasting often stronger results than more traditional methods. After all, pretty much every social media platform is free to join and use. Meanwhile, by simply having an account businesses are increasing the chance of being seen.

In fact, according to data published by Facebook, around 60% of Instagram users say they regularly discover new brands or products on the platform. It goes without saying that for any business growing their reach should be a number one priority, as every new person reached is a potential new customer.

Lust stated that the main reason for their blackout was because they were finding it harder to organically talk to their audience directly. This rationale has drawn a fair amount of criticism with many people arguing that if Lush were finding it hard to engage with their customers their content was to blame.

The reason for this widespread criticism comes from the fact that social media is universally considered to have revolutionised the way businesses engage with their customers; allowing them to not only directly connect with their audience and encourage two way communication but also build a stronger relationship and trust.

Interestingly statistics from Hootsuite suggests that 77% of active social media users have regularly engaged with content in the past month. This supports the idea that Lush’s issue engaging with their customers says more about them than it does social media as a whole. For a lot of companies, the reason they find themselves struggling with customer engagement is down to their voice.

HOW BRANDS FIND A VOICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Every time a company publishes a post or shares an update, they are giving their brand a voice, regardless of whether that content is on their own website, in the media or on social media. And every time a company uses their voice their customers form an opinion, meaning it is integral that companies learn how to use their voice effectively.

Social media channels are often the easiest way for an organisation to define their voice and personality. Having a strong and distinct brand voice helps an organisation establish itself from their competitors and better engage with their stakeholders.

In today’s digital world, social media is often the first place a person will visit in order to learn more about a company. Research indicates that over a fifth of consumers exclusively use social media to research a company or brand before interacting with them and more than a quarter say that companies who are active on social media appear more ‘human’ and therefore trustworthy.

Undoubtedly Lush has its reasons for abandoning social media in the UK and they won’t have made the move lightly. Maybe it will pay off and maybe it won’t, only time will tell. However, for the majority of businesses social media remains a key channel to reach and engage your customers. ~ Damien

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