Pub chain Wetherspoon’s has just announced that it is quitting all social media platforms with immediate effect. The main reason quoted is that social media activity and maintaining 100’s of social media profiles does not provide the company with a Return on Investment whilst effectively taking their staff away from their core jobs i.e. to serve their customers. In addition, their decision has also been influenced by ‘misuse of personal data’ and ‘the addictive nature of social media’.
Whilst the last two points would warrant a discussion in their own rights, let’s focus on the main message of social media not helping the company’s overall objectives. Something that goes completely against what we as a marketing agency have been advising our customers.
Should us social media managers worry about other companies following suit? Maybe. But the important point here is that
Wetherspoon’s is an established brand with millions of customers
So it is unlikely that a departure from social media will have a lasting effect on their sales. Although quite how they’re going to get the insight into trends, obtain timely client feedback and provide efficient online customer service remains to be seen.
Although the example of Wetherspoons might create an interesting debate about the future of social media, we strongly recommend our customer base consisting mainly of SME’s to continue with their social media strategy.
And here’s why:
- Speed and ease of use: social media provides a means of communicating with their target audience in a way that is quick and relatively low effort. Companies can engage with and get their message across to whoever chooses to ‘like’ them.
- Cost: The thing about social media is that it’s free. Yes, you need to consider the cost of someone providing content for and managing the social media accounts, but in comparison to any other marketing activities, social media remains one of the most cost-effective tactics
- Reach: With an estimated 3 billion users of social media worldwide (about 40% of the global population) companies can tap into markets that may not have been easily accessible through traditional channels
- Specific targeting: Social media includes people from all demographics including location, age, gender and marital status, as well as data on their interests such as sports, media, hobbies, likely purchasing decisions and more. By joining social media platforms, businesses can tap into useful insights into their target audience which can help them tailor their social media activities to specific audiences.
- Less risky: With widespread concern and uncertainty amongst small business owners about the impacts of GDPR on existing mailing lists and holding personal data, social media will provide a less risky means of communication
It is also worth noting that Wetherspoon’s Facebook pages were a focal point for bad customer reviews, with a total of 56 one-star reviews, compared with just 10 five-star reviews on their main account, before it was deleted.
Regardless of whether negative publicity was indeed a factor in their decision, it is important to note that bad reviews are not the end of the world for a business’ positive online presence. In fact, they can be effectively managed and reversed through engaging with customers. One method of mitigating the effects of bad reviews is through asking customers to leave a positive review after they have received their order or service, either through automated emails or strategically-placed printed marketing collateral (such as a ‘thank you’ flyer sent to the customer).
You may be interested in reading more about our social media management packages.