Lush is stepping away from social channels in the UK. It will instead direct customers to its website, email, and phoneline for one-on-one conversations while also increasing its emphasis on influencer marketing over social.

The cosmetics company has announced that it is ‘switching up social’ and that as of next week it will instead talk directly to its customers via live chat on its own platforms rather than social media.

Lush UK has 569,000 followers on Instagram, 423,143 on Facebook (complete with chatbot) and 202,000 on Twitter – followings many brands would covet. But it will now shutter the Lush UK, Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla accounts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tubular Labs told the Drum that in 2018, Lush’s Facebook and Instagram channels garnered over 10m video views. Furthermore, it found that these accounts had an average of 42% growth, month on month, on the surface, indicating at success in reaching audiences with its content.

It is a change of pace from a company that once had a marketing strategy steeped in social media. The best illustration of this was the bold but cricitised SpyCops campaign that revealed how undercover police officers had infiltrated the lives, homes, and beds of activists since 1968. Some said the work was overly critical of the police, but Lush, leaning into its activist roots, insisted it was highlighting a single “democracy-threatening” unit of undercover police.

A senior Lush spokesperson hinted at an increased emphasis on influencer marketing in place of the social platforms, telling The Drum: “You’ll start to see the rise of Lush personalities online. This isn’t a replacement for the brand channels but an opportunity for our customers to connect one-on-one with people within Lush based on the various categories.”

The company announced:

“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 brand social channels – Lush UK, Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox and Gorilla across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and open up the conversation between the Lush Community and us instead.

“Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.

“We believe we can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe, because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution. We want social to be more about passions and less about likes.

“This is the first, exploratory step in Lush UK cutting out the middleman between ourselves and the Lush Community. However, we understand that this isn’t an action that can be supported just yet in all markets.

“This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.”

Michael Lemberg of social management app Falcon commented that Lush’s content was probably to blame for its difficulty reaching customers.

It will continue to operate its US social accounts.

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