Would you ever step away from Instagram for your business?

Would you ever step away from Instagram/Facebook for your business?

I'm so interested to see that LUSH UK have announced they are ‘bidding farewell to some of their social channels’. This is a bold step for any company to take (one I’m sure we all consider from time to time!).

For Lush, a global company with hundreds of physical stores, a well known and loved brand (and importantly, one that was successful well before the social media age), this action will have different implications for their business than it would for solo-preneurs, less established, or digital brands.

Lush have always been advocates ‘against animal cruelty’, and have built their success, brand and community around strong ethical values (and the delightful/sometimes overpowering bath-bomb-waft that draws you in from down the street).

To see them step away from their huge social channels in the UK and use a hashtag instead, is a move that on the one hand seems counterintuitive (less people will find out about their products, positive ethical influence, education and inspiration), but at the same time feels quite fitting as leaders in the industry of ethical cosmetics and general self-care. (Because we all know how questionable and damaging the social media world can be for us when it comes to the lack of genuine human connection, comparisonitis, rampant consumerism, polarisation of views etc etc).

Lush’s move has the essence of ‘setting an example’ to other brands and to their customers; to move away from reliance on a brand, on social media, on paying to reach your followers and the tiresome struggle with algorithms, and to step back out into the physical world, as people running a company and their shops.

I know they won’t have any issues with their customers continuing to promote their products through their own personal social channels, so it’s not like Lush are going to disappear from the internet (and they will keep the local Lush store accounts), but to take away their UK IG ‘home’ feels like a step backwards when it comes to having a complete online presence and a space for your customers to engage and interact.

Yes, you can go into the physical stores, visit the online shop, the local IG accounts, but there won’t be a main hub for UK customers. I mean, just to be clear, I’m not personally worried about this as occasional customer who doesn't engage with their social anyway. I’m interested in this as a business and marketing decision and what we are seeing here. Perhaps this move is the brands genuine expression of integrity, and is not about reducing costs or keeping up with the demands that having a huge online platform presents.

My thoughts are… by taking away your online platform you also take away the community you created by establishing it in the first place. You take away the convenience that social provides for people to access your products and your brand story. Technology in general is only advancing and gaining deeper roots in our minds and cultures. By removing yourself from an online platform, you don’t solve the problems that exist within it or because of it.

If you really want to change the way people (your customers specifically) use social media to be healthier and more personal as a brand, then keep being honest, keep using it consciously and with kindness, allow space for real conversation and community, set up more in-person events for your customers/clients etc. If you don’t want to pay to appear in newsfeeds, don’t pay, and find other ways to genuinely connect and share. By simply disappearing, you don’t make the issues go away.

I am posting about this because I find it an interesting and thought provoking decision for a business of this kind to make and am curious about it, and what we can learn from it. I totally feel that the decisions any company makes are theirs to make, and no one can say what is right for another, I respect Lush’s decision.

Here’s their full post on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv_F76GFOZw/

What do you think about this move? Would you ever step away from your IG? Have you done it? What difference did it make?