Using social media is often seen as a crucial approach to any successful marketing campaign. As well as giving a brand exposure, online profiles offer companies a chance to engage with potential customers. However, with news that Lush have decided to quit social media, questions are starting to emerge about the future of the platforms.
At First Digital Media, our blog this week looks at the future of social media and how it is going to change.
Why is Lush Leaving Social Media?
As a shock to most people, popular beauty brand Lush decided that this week they were going to close their platforms in the UK. They have 596k followers on Instagram, 202k on Twitter, and a further 423k on Facebook. However, the profiles in North America are to remain open.
In a statement released on Twitter, a series of tweets outlined the company’s position:
We’re switching up social.
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. pic.twitter.com/nJUzG0lham
— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019
They continued by saying they would be “opening up the conversation between you and us instead”. Although, not everybody is happy about Lush’s decision:
Would love to see the reasoning behind this. From what I understand of your customer base, it would make sense for social media to be the best way go reach them, and for them to reach you.
— Vicky Pearce ? (@vicky_pearce) April 8, 2019
You have to be where your customers WANT to hang out – not where you want them to be.
And if you don’t want to talk to people on social media – you still have to listen to them on social media – otherwise you’re going to miss out on feedback that matters.
— Roger Edwards (@Roger_Edwards) April 9, 2019
For such a big company with a massive presence on social to completely “give up” on those trying to reach them via these channels just because you feel overwhelmed is sad. Hire the right people. If you value community like you say, you’ll get it done.
— Tyler Narducci (@TylerNarducci_) April 9, 2019
A Growing Movement
Despite the backlash, Lush aren’t the only ones to step away from social media. Towards the end of last year pub chain Wetherspoons came off of social media, stating:
“We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business”.
Alongside this, they also claimed that they had concerns about “the addictive nature of social media” as well as the “misuse of personal data”.
In February, Unilever threatened to pull ads from Google and Facebook if the platforms did not do more to tackle illegal and extremist content. Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Weed, said the company could no longer support an industry where fake news, extremist material, political manipulation, child exploitation, sexism and racism were commonplace.
On top of this, well-known entrepreneur Elon Musk removed the Facebook pages for SpaceX and Tesla last month. Attributing to the #deletefacebook movement, he tweeted:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018
Is Social Media Declining?
With more and more companies moving away from the platforms, it would be easy to assume that there is a decline in those using it. However, that is not the case. StatusBrew provided statistics of the average amount of users per platform:
Making Changes for the Future
As more companies and users have raised concerns about the content being published across social media, steps are starting to be taken against this. Earlier this week it was announced that the government were putting forward measures to regulate social media platforms. This means that they will work harder to fight back against harmful content.
The plan, if passed through government, is to impose “substantial” fines on those that abuse the rules. Currently most platforms run on self-governance. If the government does step in, it would be an interesting take on democracy and freedom of speech.
Germany passed a similar law, known as NetzDG, in 2018. The regulations apply to companies with over 2 million followers and means that anything deemed illegal can be removed in 24 hours. On top of this, the company would also face a fine of up to €50m.
Perhaps in the future there will be more control over social media, preventing the spread of hateful or harmful media. However, any control must be done carefully.
If you would like to find out more about social media, please feel free to get in contact with us today.