On reading the news that Wetherspoons has decided to shut down their social media accounts, I was not shocked at Tim Martin “driving a big, long stake through the heart of social media”* but more so the fact that they had these accounts in the first place?!
My instinct was to think “well who would follow them anyway?”, “what interesting and exciting things could JD Wetherspoons possibly have to say to enrich my newsfeed?” Curry Wednesdays? Pint and a full English at 7am? Don’t think so.
One of the biggest pet peeves in my job is a current or potential client calling the agency and saying “I need [Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Search PPC] advertising” – my first question is always, why? It seems commonplace in marketing departments to jump straight to the solution (or onto the bandwagon) without stopping to think what they’re actually trying to achieve or whether or not it is right for their brand. Call me and say “we want to increase lunch sales” – then we can start a conversation and determine what we can do with your budgets and in keeping with your brand to help you achieve that goal.
“It seems commonplace in marketing departments to jump straight to the solution (or onto the bandwagon) without stopping to think what they’re actually trying to achieve or whether or not it is right for their brand.”
Digital advertising or social media is not a solution or a money tap that you’ve forgotten to turn on. It is not a direct conversion tool. It is one of many tools available to help your audience find you when they need to or remind them that you’re there. The only thing I need to find a Wetherspoons is Google maps and a pair of legs. I don’t need reminding that they’re there – when was the last time you were sitting on the train thinking to yourself “What shall I do tonight? I could go to a pub… what was that one? They did really cheap pints and there was a fruit machine in the corner? That one that had no music on? If only I could remember the name.” Probably never.
If you’re going to post organically (i.e. remind someone you’re there) you need to have something to say, something interesting that people actually want to hear about. An endless feed of pictures of a pint on a bar with umpteen hashtag variations of ‘Happy Hour’ aren’t going to do anything for anyone.
“If you’re going to post organically you need to have something to say, something interesting that people actually want to hear about.”
If you love a pub and it has a community vibe and everyone goes there anyway, then an organic social account is a great way to engage that community online. But it has to be engaging, you have to have something to say, it has to have a purpose, it has to be driven by an individual in that business, like the landlord. There will be properties in the Wetherspoons portfolio that fit that profile and for them it will be a bit sad that their online community has been taken away, but I’m sure if it hurts them that badly they’ll just make a new profile anyway.
I’m reluctant to congratulate Tim Martin, to me it’s more of a sigh of relief that someone is actually thinking about what is right for their brand and doing it. There is no hard and fast rule that will work for everyone, context is a powerful thing – find out what is right for your business.
So if you want us to work with you to grow your business in a way that is right for your business, give us a call. If you want someone to do Facebook advertising, don’t – or think about why you want that advertising in the first place… then call!
*Quoted from Mark Ritson’s response to the Wetherspoons social media debate.