Recently Lush Cosmetics announced they were going to close down their social media accounts and it’s definitely got our industry buzzing and the marketing professionals questioning their sanity. I am totally hooked by it and have been busy researching, thinking and talking to everyone about it for a good few weeks. Last week I wrote a blog putting the decision into context and explaining exactly what Lush have decided to do and how they are planning to roll that out. If you didn’t read it just click HERE and you can jump over to it for a quick catch up. This week I want to write about 6 lessons indie beauty brands can learn from Lush’s decision to leave social media.
I’m breaking this down into 3 lessons I think you should be acting on and 3 lessons you need to make sure you’re not repeating in your business.
Let’s get stuck into the positive stuff!
Lesson 1: Never be afraid to be different, innovate, shake things up and stand out
Let’s be honest here, whatever the outcome of Lush’s decision their bold actions have definitely got the world’s attention. We are all talking about them and the publicity they are receiving is stella! Now, I’m not suggesting you announce your imminent removal from Insta, that would be seriously silly and I’ll point out why when we get into the lessons you don’t want to repeat, but there is real value in looking for ways to be different and changing up the norms we have got really used to. Lush is renowned for and has built its success on always shaking things up. Whether they are challenging social, political or environmental issues, they have never been afraid to be different and break the mould. Have a think for a second about some of the other hugely successful brands out there at the moment.
Emily Weiss launched Glossier with the radical new approach of creating products that customers really want, not what beauty institutions believe they need. She made the bold decision to be a direct to consumer only brand and dared to offer product at low price points. Her maverick attitude has led to the creation of an iconic, cult brand which in just 5 years is worth over $34 million!
Brandon Truaxe well and truly stuck two fingers up to the establishment when he created The Ordinary; a disruptive brand with the goal of selling highly effective products, packed with proven ingredients with pricing integrity.
Can you think of any others? Pop them in the comments below.
If you want to make a dent in the world of beauty then you need to be more Lush, Weiss and Truaxe!
Lesson 2: User generated content is the magic fairy dust
As I mentioned in my previous blog Lush are not totally moving away from social. They are encouraging fans to post on their behalf using #LushCommunity. I think this is super savvy. Nothing generates sales better than evidence of ‘normal’ people using and loving products. The power of peer to peer selling is insane and is something every brand should be encouraging.
Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to contribute to your content. Pop something in each order that gives them a unique hashtag and encourage them to post pictures of them opening their order and using your products. Contact loyal customers and incentivise them to post about you on a regular basis. Launch campaigns to post pictures of your products in holiday destinations.
If you want to take a look at a brand that are rocking user generated content then check out Fenty Beauty. Search the #fentyface and you’ll find 67 674 posts from raving fans showing their love.
Lesson 3: Build your business on land you own
In our increasingly online world we have all become a little too obsessed with social media. Now, I am a real fan of social and have built a successful business off the back of it but I also understand the value of making sure some of my business foundations are offline or owned by myself.
As Chris Ducker says
“If you are not focusing on getting your community off of Facebook, (or anywhere else online that you have no real control over) and into your privately owned ecosystem, then you are fundamentally building your home on rented land.”
The fate of social media is out of your control. If you build your entire business on Instagram when something goes wrong you lose the ability to engage with your fans. Whether that’s an hour outage, a day when things don’t work properly or heaven forbid an end to the site entirely, your business will be seriously compromised.
Lush are encouraging its customers to engage with them through the telephone, email and the chat function on their website. These are all mediums they own and control. They are taking the conversation off their rented land and putting it firmly on their owned land.
You can do the same. Email marketing is the greatest way to engage with your customers and followers offline. Every aspiring brand should have a strategy to build their email list and be communicating regularly and consistently with their list members.
When you combine online and offline marketing strategies then you’re onto a winner.
Right, after 3 positive lessons it’s time to have a look at 3 things Lush have done that I would never recommend you do.
Lesson 4: Do not abandon social media
The biggest mistake I think Lush is making is removing themselves from social media and I would recommend you never consider doing this. Love or hate it we now live in a digital world and if you want to have a successful business you have to have a social media footprint.
Here are a few stats to back this up
42% of the world’s population are on social media, and, it’s not just a ‘young’ person’s thing. Nearly 91% of millennials are on social but around 80% of Gen X and 50% of baby boomers too.
It’s not just about the stats though. Building your brand is about building a community that serves your ideal customer and their lifestyle needs. Social media gives you access to a ton of FREE ways to do this. You can create a Facebook Group where your tribe can hang out, you can take your fans behind the scenes using Insta Stories or you can share and educate through your You Tube channel. There are so many ways to creatively reach your audience and grow your biz using social
We are lucky to live in age when marketing and reaching new customers has never been easier or cheaper. Make the most of it!!!!
Lesson 5: Always control your own message
One thing that seriously worries me about Lush’s decision is that by taking themselves offline they cannot control their own message on the platforms. If you’re not there you don’t have a voice and all that’s being said about you is coming from others. Now, you could say that they are bigging up their fans and trusting them to positively represent them, but that has back fired for them in the past. After their recent #SPYCOP campaign they received a barrage of negative and outraged social comments and there were unproven press reports suggesting that they deleted some of these. So for a brand who has felt the force of negative social, it really surprises me that they are relinquishing their control and voice.
Lesson 6: Never rely on influencers
One of the strategies they have hinted at to replace their social is using more influencers. Now, I’ll be honest, it’s not clear whether these will be mega influencers, micro influencers, fans or Lush staff. One thing is clear however, the general public and social users are definitely wising up to influencer marketing. We are dealing with savvy consumers who see no value in endorsements from people who are being paid large sums to say nice things. Placing your marketing success into the hands of influencers is therefore risky. I suspect Lush will focus on using fans and staff and avoid the celebrity and macro influencers, so it will be interesting to watch how they role this out and how well it works.
In the words of Lush themselves,
“this isn’t the end; it’s just the start of something new”
I’m certain there is far more to come and I’m excited to watch how it plays out.
I went into more detail on a recent episode of Indie Beauty TV so you can watch it here:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on the situation and have found great value in the 6 lessons indie beauty brands can learn from Lush’s decision to leave social media I’d love to hear your comments so please pop them below and it would be great if you could share and pin this blog. Social share buttons can be found at the top of the page and the image below will give you the best pinning results.
Loads of indie hugs and love, Rachel xxxx
While you’re here why not check out some of the other blogs I’ve written. Here’s one to get you started.
6 lessons indie beauty brands can learn from Lush’s decision to leave social media indie beauty brands can learn from Lush’s decision to leave social media