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Lush UK is washing its hands of social media. The UK-based bath & body brand has decided to cut the social media chord, shuttering multiple branded accounts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. With well over a million followers on those channels, the move is no small thing.

“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,” the brand posted from their UK accounts.

Lush Bath Bomb 1

Above: One of many psychedelic social posts from Lush

Some have praised Lush, calling them brave and predicting that the move is a sign of things to come. With Facebook business page organic reach (the number of followers who see unpaid posts) declining from around 25% in 2011 to 0.5% in 2017, it is harder than ever for brands to gain traction on social without having to pay for exposure. Add to that increasing criticism of social platforms for being lax with privacy and for hosting hateful and divisive content, and you have a formula for disillusionment.

Others have accused the brand of abandonment, comparing them to a petulant kid who, when asked to pay to communicate with fans, takes their ball and goes home.

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The move coincides with talk of a mass exodus of regular everyday humans from mainstream social platforms. According to a 2018 study of over 1000 Gen Z (individuals born after 1994) Americans, 64% are taking a break from social media, and 34% are quitting altogether.

In their post about the move, Lush mysteriously hints at an alternative, saying that “This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new. #LushCommunity – see you there.” Many are speculating about how the brand plans to bring their fans together, but at Chaordix, we hope their plans are much bigger than a hashtag.

Over the past ten years we have launched online communities for brands like LEGO, Rust-Oleum, Decathlon, American Airlines, Ford and others, but convincing brands that they need their own community has been a struggle at times. The phrase “I can do this on Facebook” has been muttered during a handful of sales calls over the years. It can be deflating to go up against social behemoths, some with over a billion users.

But the move by Lush supports one of our core beliefs: A brand can build a stronger community on their own than on a 3rd party network (especially when that network is filled with advertising, other brands, and news about Donald Trump).

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