IN THE WAKE OF LUSH’S ABANDONMENT OF THEIR UNITED KINGDOM-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, BRANDS ARE WONDERING IF THE FIGHT TO STAY “SOCIAL” IS BECOMING FUTILE.
Social media has undeniably become an integral part of most sound marketing strategies. If executed well, an organic social strategy can engage customers, foster intimate communication channels, and encourage a sense of authenticity that gets audiences to trust the brand.
However, marketers are now questioning if they should cut back on organic social efforts since the emergence of a statement released by UK-based beauty giant, Lush, explaining that they would be deleting all social media platforms because they are tired of fighting with algorithms and don’t want to “pay to appear in your newsfeed”.
If you’re not familiar with Lush, the brand is a widely popular cosmetics retailer famous for its swirly, multicolored bath bombs – which became a hit after influencers began posting videos of the fizzing spheres in their tubs, an aesthetic color concoction practically crafted for Instagram. Lush was also an early champion of the “self-care” crusade, which places indulgent facemasks, organic eye creams, and sparkly baths at the forefront of the viral, social media-fed movement – a tactic that picked up a cool 1.19 million followers across their social platforms.
So why would a brand that fits so well into the organic social media model make the decision to verge from this strategy – and does this mean other brands should be taking the cue and abandoning their own social strategies as well?
“Most businesses invest in social media with extremely high expectations and are disappointed by the whole initiative when those expectations aren’t met,” Jeff, a digital strategist at 321 the Agency, had to say about Lush’s decision.
Paid advertisements are great in getting brand content in front of new eyeballs, but to really get the most out of their social strategies, brands have to have a strong organic strategy for the paid strategy to stand on. While paid media is their chance to gain viewers, organic is their chance to bring the brand to life and keep those viewers around long enough to build recognition; subsequently turning viewers into fans.
“I think Lush’s judgment was a bit shortsighted. What happens is most brands just focus on a bottom line to track their social performance, but there is no direct ROI on social,” Nico Bryan, a social media strategist at 321, commented. “In order to do it properly, there are expenses that some brands aren’t willing to pay without assurance that they’ll see measurable investment returns”.
Nevertheless, organic social strategies aren’t going out the window any time soon.
Sure, paying to play becomes complicated when companies can’t reap immediate returns, but there is an undeniable risk to run when companies choose to opt out of establishing social platforms.
In order for organic and paid social media to work, each platform must be seen as a vehicle for direct communication to the people rallying behind the brand, not as a means to a dollar-sign-shaped end. Only by shifting their social presences toward consumer-focused approaches will brands be able to break through the social static.