Is social media really making it harder for us to talk?
The recent news that Lush, the brand that invented the bath bomb and well-known creator of vegan, cruelty-free cosmetics, would be quitting social media made quite a splash this month with many asking if this was the right decision for a brand that has successfully built up a devoted community of ‘Lushies’ through these channels. In today’s world where people have become overloaded by digital content and brands are fighting to stand out does Lush’s decision to close this channel of communication make sense? Or, given that, 31.3% of internet users use social media to research purchase and 25.5% say they find out about new products through social media recommendations (GWI, 2019) are they missing out on an important opportunity to connect with their customers?
“We’re switching up social. Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly.”
Whilst the sheer amount of content posted on social media has made it harder to be seen it is the brands that understand people and focus on their behaviours that are cutting through and beating the algorithms. You only have to look at brands like Glossier and GymShark to see that when social media is done right it not only helps you connect with fans it can help you find new customers and build a business that can compete against the industry giants. We’ve seen first-hand, in our recent work with a Health and Fitness client, that it is possible to achieve engagement rates of 70-80% (way above industry norms) through understanding what resonates with people on social media and leaning into their natural behaviours. For example, since we know the human behaviour in Instagram Stories is to tap to reveal more, we created content for this format which used individual frames to guide people through each step of a recipe and utilised the text tool to provide extra detail and create content which looked native to the format, driving view through rates of 83%.
We would explain to Lush that it is possible to connect with people when content is designed to connect with people. Our BrainKind approach to content helps brand create campaigns and content that cuts through by providing a framework for brands to test and evaluate the "effectiveness" of creative:
BrainKind social media must be:
- Recognised - Understand your key brand assets and what happens in a person’s mind when they see your brand collateral. These are often hardwired into a person’s brain, and they don’t always have to relate to the logo. Sometimes it comes down to the colours or shapes you use. It might sound a little creepy, but tapping into the shortcuts in a person’s brain can really help someone to encode your brand message.
- Resonant – It’s also about being resonant and connecting to primal instincts. For example, dynamic posts on social media are more connective than static posts. Moving images tell our brain to pay attention, which is, in fact, triggered by a fear stimulus.
- Relevant - And finally, it’s the famous R we all know and love – relevance – and by association, context. We’ve looked at how different social media platforms impact people’s brains and – surprise surprise – Facebook is more cognitively draining than Instagram. This means the content we create for Facebook should differ significantly to that used on other social platforms to be effective.
If we look again at Glossier, the most disruptive beauty brand of the 21st century which was started in 2013 and is now worth $390 million, they seemingly adhere to our BrainKind principles with their instantly recognisable, Instagram friendly imagery featuring swathes of colour and their iconic pink (not too bright, not too millennial), their use of human faces in close-up and an authentic, diverse cast of influencers to resonate with people, and content which is relevant to channel switching from inspiring visuals and product beauty shots on Instagram to participatory content on Facebook to drive reach.
In conclusion, we don’t believe the decision by Lush to move away from social media is a smart choice. Social media can drive transformative growth for businesses and when your content is designed to be BrainKind it is possible to cut through the noise and connect with people. Add to this the backlash that Lush have faced online from their fans and shoppers, who don’t want to see them go, and we can’t help wondering if any human brand might consider an about-turn on this decision.
If you want to find out how you can drive business growth on social and use our BrainKind framework to drive creative effectiveness drop us a line– firstname.lastname@example.org