Happy December, Thinkers! Can you believe how quickly the holidays snuck up this year? As I was deciding which brand to analyze for this month’s case study, I wanted to highlight a brand not only positioned in the beauty industry but also one known for having great gift giving products. It didn’t take long before I landed on a personal favorite… Lush Cosmetics! If you’re not familiar with the popular brand Lush, they specialize in handmade soaps, bath bombs, lotions and other body products with a focus on natural ingredients, animal and human rights as well as sustainability.
From the moment you step into a Lush boutique, you are overwhelmed with natural scents, unique labeling, and colorful soaps left out in the open without packaging to avoid using oil-derived plastic found in most packaging options. Every product that is encased in necessary packaging includes a sticker with a cartoon of the person who handmade the product and also an ingredient list highlighting the natural ingredients. While the company utilizes some controversial unnatural ingredients, they are extremely transparent as to why on their website.
Lush constantly aligns itself with political and social campaigns that they believe will further their purpose towards a better world. They have done this through volunteer work, speeches, advertisements and also the sales of their “charity pots” in every store. The proceeds of the Charity Pots go to supporting local and global non-profits. While this philanthropic spirit has fostered an extremely dedicated tribe of customers with similar beliefs, it has also stirred up a bit of controversy. The latter is difficult to ignore on their social media pages. Lush is currently managing the backlash from their stance against the Canadian oil pipeline and the Northern Alberta tar sands, which supply both Canada and the US with fossil fuel. Some of their detractors claim that they will stop purchasing from the brand. Nonetheless, loyal Lush supporters are responding by saying the following; “What did you expect from a brand dedicated to sustainability and the exploration of new energy?” Just a day in the life of Lush Cosmetics it seems. All of this had me both intrigued and excited to analyze their social media strategy and performance further.
Instagram: 4.2 million followers
If you’ve read my past case studies on Hum Nutrition, Patagoniaor Nike, you know I am a lover of Instagram. While it may not be the best platform for all companies to use, it is a perfect match for Lush with its creative brand image and young customer base.
After analyzing their most recent posts, it is clear that Lush has a fresh digital personality and presence. For their holiday campaign, the brand utilized drag queens as celebrity spokesmodels. It was a smart move, as it provided Lush with the opportunity to express their support for the LGBTQ community and also gave them a distinct energy that is unlike any of their competitors. The drag queens were charismatic, diverse and creative but also advantageous in showcasing the benefits of Lush’s make-up removal and cleansing products. At the same time, it felt relevant and in alignment with their culture and cause-related brand positioning. Lush went one step further by providing an #Accessibility caption which describes the Instagram image in detail for those with vision impairment or difficulties.
It is also important to note that the company has dipped its toes into IGTV with 4 videos. I am assuming they did this as a trial run because each video is very different, ranging from a mini comedy horror Halloween series (featuring famous actresses Hayley Law from Riverdale and Sydney Park from the Walking Dead), to a product description video, to a short video highlighting a Lush employee working within their charitable giving department. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop their IGTV presence or if they choose to upload IG Live videos in the future. Lush has also been using IG shopping tags where followers are able to see the price of a product and click the link to purchase directly. In addition, Lush consistently posts stories. However last week, I posted a story on my personal account of my Lush bath bomb fizzling underneath a full plate of pizza on my bath tray, and they failed to repost onto their story. This is a disappointing (personally and as a fan), as a social media analyst because this was a perfect opportunity for them to share engaging user generated content.
Lush is extremely lucky to have dedicated consumers that not only engage with their posts through likes and comments, but also share images of Lush products in their day to day lives. When you visit the Lush Cosmetics Instagram page and look through their tagged photos, you’ll find an array of beautiful and creative user generated content that would make any brand jealous.
However, even though Lush offers a great digital personality, I witnessed areas of improvement. First, while their product shots are unique and beautiful, they are the only images used! Their entire page is filled with products shots, ad videos and pictures of their stores. I would have liked to see something new or lifestyle imagery that their fans can relate to on a deeper level. These lifestyle images could include more user generated content, pictures of their employees and manufacturing facilities, Lush fans doing activities such as a hike or yoga that precede their muscle relaxing baths. Each of these potential images provides context and stories for followers who are already familiar with Lush’s products. I also didn’t notice Lush partnering with many influencers, besides the drag queens used for the holiday campaign. This is a major oversight as Lush should be aligning their products with the niche interests of influencers. Keep in mind, Lush mightbe working with influencers, but if so, they aren’t making it known.
Perhaps most surprising of all, I was surprised to see Lush ignore common Instagram best practices such as tagging people in the images (currently they are tagging people in the captions only), including a location and also utilizing relevant hashtags. They also don’t incorporate storytelling or give fans the opportunity to become more emotionally invested in their brand.
Facebook: 1.2 million followers
Facebook gives brands the ability to connect in a different way. There’s less pressure for every image and video to match with the exact same filter and more freedom in the lengths of videos brands are able to utilize. Lush takes advantage of these benefits by posting more video content on their Facebook than their Instagram!
I absolutely love the variety of videos Lush posts, which include …
I was relieved to see that Lush is not only utilizing video on their Facebook page but also posting unique and customized content specifically for Facebook instead of simply recycling their Instagram posts. The company is doing a great job utilizing their Facebook presence to educate their customers. Most of the educational content found on Facebook is specifically focused on their products and ingredients.
As far as areas of improvement, Lush is utilizing their Facebook better than their Instagram, which is rare to find! The company could be doing a better job at replying to negative comments, as they have a fair amount of haters. However, it seems like Lush’s social media team has been doing its best with these replies. I also believe Lush could post even more videos on Facebook. They have created great content (found on their YouTube page) and should be sharing it more.
Twitter: 315k followers
This Twitter analysis is going to be short and sweet. Lush is doing better with engagement than others on Twitter, but I’m disappointed to see basically the exact same content that they share on Facebook. Twitter should be used as a more newsworthy platform with live updates constantly being posted. However, I will applaud Lush for consistently retweeting content from other pages that are applicable to their brand. Much of these retweets are politically charged which can be a bit controversial at times. However, it works for the Lush brand image and audience very well. In October, Lush tested out posting a poll saying, “Real talk- do you think it’s too early for Christmas/ you’re a Halloween person, or is it the perfect time to start holiday prepping?” The poll received only 2,007 votes with 62% saying that they prefer Halloween (how they favor Halloween over the most wonderful time of the year, I will never have an answer for), but I would like to see more interactive polls in hopes of seeing engagement rise. Some of the videos posted on Twitter also received spiked engagement, which tells me that they should definitely be posting more short videos.
In Conclusion...Through the content on their website, information in their stores and social media posts, consumers realize that Lush is a values driven company. This realization gives Lush an emotional connection to their customers. While Lush has developed an extremely passionate following, they could be doing even better to foster this tribe on Instagram by providing more context and relatable stories, while also posting less product specific images. Lush has great momentum on Facebook. Although, I would encourage posting more videos and blogs to provide content that drives traffic to their website. Twitter is the trickiest platform. I’m not shocked to see Lush just trying to maintain a presence there.
With that said, I see only good things on the horizon for Lush and recommend all of their products for your holiday shopping list! I know my personal Christmas wish list includes one of every holiday themed bath bomb. Be sure to follow Lush on social media and let me know what you think about their posts and products!