The world was rocked, or at least mildly confused, by the news that the Wetherspoons pub chain was closing its social media accounts with immediate effect.
Chief executive Tim Martin was quick to deny it was a publicity stunt, instead saying that the time and effort spent on social media could better be spent elsewhere.
And he didn’t stop there, going on to say that: “On a personal level many of us are fed up with social media and think it has got damaging effects and a lot of people are on it far far too much.”
“It doesn’t do them any good and it doesn’t do the country any good.”
So was he right? Is Wetherspoons going to be at the vanguard of a social-media free movement, or will Martin live to regret what seems to many like a knee-jerk reaction?
While social media has its faults – Martin also touched on the trouble with trolls as a reason behind his decision – the opportunities for engagement it offers can’t be replicated. Publishing news on websites and via press releases is all well and good, but if customers can’t engage, that will impact on how your brand is perceived.
And if you can’t see what your customers are saying, you can’t respond. Ignorance isn’t bliss, and just because Wetherspoons isn’t talking on social media, it doesn’t mean it’s not being talked about. In fact, this decision could be taken as an indication that Wetherspoons doesn’t care what its customers are saying.
It remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be. Maybe it will start a trend or maybe the chain will have to go back on its word. One thing’s for sure – social media is one of the most cost-effective ways of boosting your brand, and we would advise any firm to think long and hard about doing away with it altogether.
And if it all seems like too much effort, you’re in luck – social media is one of our areas of expertise. So if you’re fed up of your Facebook or tired of your Twitter, throw us a bone on 01325 486666 and let us do the hard work.