Surviving Without Social Media Advertising – Is it possible?

Charlotte Baker


Published on 22nd December 2021


A couple of years ago, circa 1995, the world was laughing at the advent of commerce on the Internet. No one would have believed that the Internet would take the world by storm. This made headway during the past two years with an increase in digital business transformation happening globally due to the pandemic. Businesses were forced to enter into the digital world or face adversity. However, a new wave of digital business transformation is on the horizon; social media advertising.  

Social media is changing how businesses interact with their customers, offer products and services and communicate with their employees. In summary, social media advertising is changing the landscape of how businesses do business. However, recently there has been a shift in the behaviours of people and businesses alike to steer away from the use of social media to promote themselves. This shift was spearheaded by whistleblower Frances Haugen. She brought to light to the world that Facebook’s own research revealed that it amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest, but the company hides what it knows. 

Can businesses survive without socials?

The question on most people’s minds is can businesses survive without social media advertising? With the advent of Web 3.0 around the corner and platforms like TikTok being the difference between a record-breaking launch and a record-breaking failure, it’s hard to know the answer to this pressing question. Let’s take a look at a few companies which have ditched social media in the past year and their reasons for doing so.

Over a year ago Patagonia joined the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign and released a statement that it was boycotting Facebook ads, turning to a more thoughtful approach to ad buying. Other global brands like Adidas, Verizon and Coca-cola made similar moves although not all moved completely off of Facebook. For example, The North Face paused its campaigns in the US but continued to run them in other markets such as Canada, Germany and New Zealand. Whilst each of these advertisers are united in the rationale behind their stance against Facebook, their clarity varies. 

Last month, Lush announced that it would be signing out from all of its social media channels including; Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WhatsApp and TikTok until the platforms can provide a safer environment for its users. The brand assured its followers that it wouldn’t be completely anti-social and that they could keep up with the brand via its Youtube channel and Twitter. Therefore, they aren’t completely offline.

We can all agree that signing off of socials for smaller companies is easier said than done. Larger well established companies benefit from years of building a strong brand presence, website and demand for their products. However, the same cannot be said for smaller, less established companies. Below are a few pointers for those thinking about making the shift.

1. Dominate your space

The first takeaway we can focus on from Lush is their focus on brand authenticity and tone of voice, they worked continuously for years to position themselves differently to their competitors. Therefore, the lesson we can learn from this is to stay in your lane. Build a brand that is different and unique, find a gap in the market that you can not only fill but dominate.

2. Prioritise relationships

The second takeaway is to build a community and put your customer relationships first. Lush prioritised their customer relationships far beyond their socials, whether you popped into one of their stores or read their website copy it was evident that they cared.

3. Live your values

Jack Constantine, the Inventor and Chief Digital Officer’s statement reads, “as an inventor of bath bombs, I pour all of my efforts into helping people switch off, relax and pay attention to their wellbeing. Social media has become the antithesis to this aim, with algorithms designed to keep people scrolling and stop them from switching off and relaxing.” 

This statement, as well as their protests, petitions and instore culture, are a testament to Lush being relentless at living their values. Therefore, as a business it is important to define your values and find ways of showing them. 

In Conclusion…

It is easier said than done to go completely offline. However, if done with a well-thought-out strategy in hand it could work. Having said that, so far social media advertising is still going strong, lighting up our feeds and connecting brands with their audiences.

If you need some help with your marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to our team.