Last week, Wetherspoons announced that it is shutting its social media accounts. The award-winning pub chain had over 44,000 followers on Twitter and 100,000 on Facebook. Was it a brave or a stupid move? Time will tell. In this article, I discuss the main reasons that Wetherspoons took this decision and what you can do if you decide to shut off your company’s social media presence.

Wetherspoons saw no real benefit from social media

In 2018, the average Wetherspoons Tweet received six retweets and four likes. When you consider that the chain serves three million pints a week, it hints that their customers are not really engaging with the chain on social media. Overall, Wetherspoons doesn’t believe that shutting down social media will have any business impact. Social media appears to be the wrong fit for Wetherspoons’ customers.

If you don’t have social media accounts for your business or you are thinking about shutting yours down, here are key things to consider:

Are your customers actively engaging with brands on social media?

First, analyse your target customers. Find out if they follow their favourite brands on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If they do, dig deeper to uncover how they engage. Are they mainly making complaints, giving feedback or sharing content about their experience with the brands?  Whatever you discover, ensure that your business is not missing out on valuable feedback and engagement. If you decide not to be on social media, implement other feedback processes e.g. through your website or a customer service centre.

Make Your Website A Hub of Activity

Your website should be the centre of all your activity. Even if you have a strong social presence, your content should lead visitors to your website to learn more and grow your lead generation activities. Create a hub of regular content and resources for your customers on your website. Develop a good understanding of the topics that customers want to read about. Then ensure that they know that it is available on your website.

Develop Robust Email & Direct Marketing Programmes

Following on from the last point, you must let customers know about the content on your website. If you have no social media accounts, distributing content could get tricky. Wetherspoons has a magazine that it uses to reach its customers. Customers can get the magazine through direct mail or via one of the pubs. Another way to reach customers is to develop a robust email marketing list. This can be done through contact forms on the website, contests and in the pubs (by asking customers to fill out a form).

Create A Referral Scheme

If you have good engagement with existing customers through direct mail, email marketing or in person (at the pubs), you could implement a referral programme to encourage them to recommend your business to others. You could tell your existing customers about the programme by direct mail, your website and email for instance.

Make PR Your Friend

Bill Gates famously said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.”

If you are not on social media, you need another channel to develop your brand story, make announcements about your business and to address the public in a crisis. Hire a good PR company that understands your industry and its influencers. Spend time developing a story that will engage your target market and push the story into the media as often as possible.

Do Events Well

Some customers just don’t do social media. But many will come to a great event. Events are a fantastic way to meet in person and give your customers an experience of your company culture and brand. Use events to bring partners, customers, employees and suppliers together. Or keep the different stakeholder groups separate. Whatever you do, do events well. Ensure that it is well-organised and relevant to the attendees. Follow up after the events. And don’t forget to ask for feedback!

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