Back in April 2019, cosmetics brand, Lush renounced social media. Cue jaws hitting the floor along with endless debates and diatribes across social media. Their ‘Switching Up Social’ campaign informed customers that they were quitting social media in favour of one-to-one conversations over the phone and via email. This bold move got many people thinking and wondering whether they too should jack in social media marketing. After all, if a big brand like Lush can do without it, why exactly would any business need to invest in social media?

The Argument For Quitting Social Media

According to Lush:

“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.”

Let’s take a look at some of the inexorable truths in this statement.

Social media platforms are constantly updating and changing to keep users and increase market share. This is reflected in algorithm changes that show a preference for shareable, engaging content based on user habits. But, what does this mean for brands?

Effectively, organic growth is slower and harder to achieve. As user numbers continue to increase, the number of posts flooding social media newsfeeds has also increased exponentially. So, it’s increasingly unlikely that posts will reach their intended audience without being boosted. There’s simply too much content at any given second for anyone to see it all. Boosting is like a VIP pass to bump the queue.

Ultimately, this means that brands need to advertise on social media to feature on newsfeeds consistently. So, it’s easy to see why quitting social media altogether may seem an attractive option. No one likes being forced to pay for their customers to see their content right?

But, then again, isn’t that what marketing and advertising have always involved?

Reasons For Not Quitting Social Media

It’s important to draw a distinction between social media for personal use and social media for business use. A point often overlooked is that social media is free to use. There’s no upfront cost. And there likely never will be. That’s why the vast majority of people have a personal social media profile, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other platform.

In fact, most people will have a personal presence on multiple platforms. Some they’ll prefer over others and use more regularly to share photos, videos, personal updates, GIFs, news articles — pretty much anything that interests them. But most importantly, it’s content that they feel others within their network will find interesting and engage with.

As a business, your social media profiles are very different. Because your goals and motivations as a business are very different from your personal ones. In short, as a business, your ultimate goal is to sell your product or service. You can dress it up any way you like, but that’s the whole point for having a social media presence as a business. It’s is just another marketing channel, like TV, print, and radio advertising. And we all know that those aren’t free.

But brands still swear by these. You won’t see Lush quitting TV and print advertising spots in a hurry. So perhaps quitting social media is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Think Twice Before Doing a Lush

The PR exposure and coverage from this social media stunt have undoubtedly thrown new light on Lush as a brand. They’ve had some pretty bad PR in the recent past too, so this will be seen as a bold move by a brand looking to reaffirm its values and ethics.

However, quitting social media is only a move that a brand the size of Lush can make. And even then, their US social media profiles still remain active.

So before you reconsider whether your business needs to be on social media because of the cost of advertising, think about the cost of advertising offline. Which is more cost-effective? In fact, which is more effective and measurable?

Yup. Social media.

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.