The company that popularized the bath bomb dropped another kind of bomb in April of 2019: Lush U.K. is saying goodbye to social media and focusing on more traditional channels instead.

In a statement published on Instagram (oh, the irony), Lush said “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 social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.”

So far, it’s only the Lush U.K. branch that has made the decision to dump social media, and only time will tell if its U.S. counterpart follows suit. While one decision’s company is exactly that, it has given marketers something to think about. Can a brand today thrive without social media?

What Does This Mean for Lush U.K.?

What does this mean? We can only surmise, but it’s reasonable to assume that they’ve confidently come to the conclusion that they don’t need social networks any longer. They have a loyal customer base, and they have other ways to interact with those customers. Lush U.K. offers live chat via their website, an email address and a phone number. What more do you need? All three of those options are easy for anyone to use, and possibly easier for Lush U.K. to manage.

Anyone that has managed a business’s social media presence before knows how difficult it can be to monitor and respond to comments across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the list goes on. The task gets even more difficult as followers grow and paid ads mean more eyes on your content.

Lush’s mention of keeping up with algorithms likely has to do with Facebook’s always-changing news feed logic, which recently changed again to provide users with fewer ads and more organic content from friends. While this change is meant to bring Facebook back to it’s root purpose of being a social platform, it has added implications for brands. Visibility is going to cost you.

Still. No more social media?

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What Does This Mean for Digital Marketers?

Lush isn’t the first company to make headlines doing this. Last year, the pub chain JD Wetherspoon quit Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They cited the misuse of personal data and the addictive nature of social media among the reasons for the decision.

Now, two doesn’t make a pattern, but it’s reasonable to wonder, is this the beginning of the end? Will social media marketing go away?

Admittedly, social media is crowded and cluttered. Ads are part of the social platforms. People have lost trust in social media due to Facebook privacy faux pas and bought and paid-for influencers. Fake news and political divisiveness have become the norm. And some people are tuning out of it all. Three social media giants—Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter—saw declining numbers in 2018.

But that doesn’t necessarily signal the beginning of the end. It might signal that it’s time to rethink your overall marketing strategy, though. In today’s social landscape, brands can’t fake it. Authentic experiences and services that resonate with a well-defined audience are integral to a successful social presence. And that may mean abandoning Facebook for Snapchat and other on-the-cusp channels if your target audience made up of Gen Z.

Lush’s news should also serve as a reminder that there is more to marketing than social. While digital marketers should make sure that social is adequately represented, they must also have the other pillars in place.

Marketing Pillars

By marketing pillars, we mean the foundations on which you build the rest of your marketing efforts: your website, SEO, email, content marketing, affiliate marketing, paid ads, etc. Social media marketing has been the darling of recent years, but the pillar pieces have continued to be effective and cost-effective—and necessary. In fact, many businesses need the pillars firmly in place before they can make good use of social media marketing.

Social media marketing rarely works as a standalone channel over the long haul, and it can be a challenge to generate ROI from social media. The Direct Marketing Association found only 48 percent of marketers were seeing a return on investment.

If your business has been heavily focused on social, maybe it’s time to do a quick review of those pillars to make sure they are solidly in place.

  • Your website: Without a website, where will consumers go to browse your products, learn more about your business or sign up for your email list? Does your site immediately convey its purpose and service to its customers? Is it mobile-friendly? Is your SEO up-to-date with the latest Google algorithms? Are you tracking your web analytics and adjusting as necessary? Are you maximizing conversions? Is your pay-per-click strategy in place?
  • Your email marketing: Is email dead? Not by a long shot. In fact, it’s alive and well and delivering results. OptinMonster has a useful side-by-side comparison of email marketing to social media marketing that shows email delivers a significantly higher ROI for a variety of reasons. Are you GDPR compliant? Are you actively building your quality list?
  • Your content marketing: According to one study, companies using content marketing see 30 percent higher growth rates compared to those that don’t. But that content has to be high quality and useful to prospects and customers. Have you revisited your content marketing strategy lately?

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