Social media storm in a beer mug - my take on Wetherspoons deserting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
So today it was revealed by Tim Martin, Chairman of pub chain JD Wetherspoons, that the company would be 'deleting' all of its social media accounts due to a range of reasons.
This is the second time in under a year that Martin has courted publicity. Back in July he announced that Wetherspoons would be deleting its entire 750,000-strong database in advance of GDPR. Curiously, at the time he stated that if people wanted to get in touch with the company they should do so via Facebook and Twitter. Well, clearly not now!
There are a few observations I'd like to make in reviewing this story:
1) This could be an extremely clever PR stunt. He's managed to hog the headlines on a busy news day and got people (like me!) talking.
2) He could be bluffing and merely put the accounts on ice. As with deleting the customer database, it could be an elaborate hoax.
3) Wetherspoons has a very loyal client base with thousands of regular customers. As a brand, they may well not need social media to get people through the door and may not be bothered to use the channels for customer relations, prefering instead to do this face to face in their pubs.
4) If they have indeed decided to eschew social media altogether, they are flying in the face of all perceived wisdom. Whilst they well be fine in the short term, by abandoning many channels that customers are happy to use, they may find they cut themselves off from future clients and the brand will suffer.
5) Perhaps we are seeing signs of a digital overload where brands and customers are sick of being constantly bombarded with content and, well, just want a quiet pint! Already a minority of Millennials are starting to switch off from digital.
Only Tim Martin for sure knows why he's done this. However one thing is for sure, it's all about the customer. Wetherspoons know who they are, where they are, what they want and how to reach them. Which is basic business sense with our without social media.