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Did Wetherspoon do the right thing by deleting all their social media accounts?

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

April 22nd 2018

Blog 17
This article on Wetherspoon deleting their social media profiles was originally posted on LinkedIn Sunday 22 April 2018

At the beginning of the week, Wetherspoon pubs announced that they deleted all their social media accounts stating “current bad publicity surrounding social media, including the trolling of MPs and others” as one of the reasons behind the move. It added that recent concerns regarding the misuse of personal data, following the Facebook scandal, and the addictive nature of social media had influenced its decision
(Article published Telegraph 16th of April).

This news item appeared on my Twitter stream early Monday evening and immediately I was thinking; what am I going to tell the delegates tomorrow who signed up for a two day Leadership for Growth Sales and Marketing training course and are expecting to hear from me how social media can help them finding leads, engage with their customers and market their products and services?

And it got more interesting. Wetherspoon’s CEO Tim Martin said: “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.”

I was intrigued and looked at some early comments on Twitter (what better platform to use for latest news) hoping to find out more about the reasons behind the decision. The first one I noticed is from Jim Waterson, media editor at The Guardian tweeting:

The killer words in Jim’s tweet are “barely active”. I see it a lot, businesses jumping on to the social media bandwagon without clear goals and understanding of the various social media platforms, thinking they “do social media”. Social media is often seen as another channel to send out promotional posts, overlooking the need to pay attention to the conversations customers have with the business.

It absolutely makes sense for a company that doesn’t have a clear digital communication strategy, doesn’t have (or make available) the resources and time to invest in proper social media training to remove itself from social media. As I often say at our social media workshops, if you don’t have the time/resources and a clear strategy to deal with social media, you’d better not be on it. Or, as beautifully stated in Mark Shaw’s tweet below, don’t bother…

A good example of this is illustrated below in this tweet of a customer complaining about the speed of service getting a reply from Wetherspoon more than 5 years later. (Tom’s response to realising that is very good though).

Wetherspoon 2

Lessons learned, and shared by me at the Leadership for Growth training we delivered the next day:

Social media marketing only delivers return on investment when there is a strategy in place, in other words; clear goals the business wants to achieve with social media marketing, adequate resources, including trained/professional team members responsible for social media management and measuring the results.

By the way, Wetherspoon also deleted their entire customer database last year as it stated: “email marketing is to intrusive” (quote; Wired 3 July 2017)

Rene Looper, founder Tuminds Social Media

photo credit: By calflier001 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Latest updates:

The Wetherspoon’s Social Media Shutdown by Wired.

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