Last week Wetherspoons hit the headlines after Chairman Tim Martin announced that the brand would be closing down all it’s social media platforms with immediate effect. The decision for this was largely linked to online ‘trolling’ similar to that experienced by MP’s; but also cited concerns regarding the “misuse of personal data” ahead of new GDPR regulations in May 2018, and “the addictive nature of social media”.
Following this announcement, I spotted a number of commentators on Twitter and Linked In predicting many more would follow and prophesying the beginning of social media abandonment for businesses. And so I thought about it for a moment.
Things commonly go full circle, perhaps they are right and we are going to see a mass exodus of corporate departure from social media, and we will one day look back on the Facebook-era in the same way we fondly remember MySpace (of if you’re really old, UBoot and Faceparty!)
Is this really likely to happen? And should other businesses consider following suit?
In recent weeks, a few of my clients have asked, or even mooted that they shouldn’t bother developing their online profile or grow their audiences because it will soon be in decline. Of course I disagree!
For small, start-up and micro businesses there is very little out there to rival Facebook in terms of how to reach your prospective customers effectively on a shoe string budget. Can anyone name any other marketing channel that allows you to target 2000-3000 people who meet your exact customer profile, for a fiver?
Wetherspoons is a different kettle of fish. Even my Nan knows that Tuesday is Steak Night – their brand exposure is already so mainstream that the volume of prospective custom likely to ‘discover’ Wetherspoons by stumbling across their Facebook page is remote.
It is all the more likely, that the platform is used for disgruntled customers to broadcast their dissatisfaction at their over-cooked Hunters Chicken or the fact their pint cost 20p more than another branch half a mile away. How many people go to Wetherspoons for a £4.99 hot dog and pint, and then go to their Facebook to leave a 5* review? I would guess not very many. But how many people visit an independent boutique, local restaurant or hair salon and flock to Facebook afterwards to shave their rave reviews? Loads!