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Does it make sound business sense for Wetherspoons to write-off social media?

Popular budget pub chain JD Wetherspoon attracted wide media attention this week following its announcement that it had severed all of its social media with immediate effect.

The reasons cited by chairman Tim Martin included recent “bad publicity” surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal and incidents of personal abuse levelled towards members of Parliament.

The move applies to the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of the company’s head office together with its entire pub chain of some 900 outlets.

Martin says he doesn’t think the move “will affect our business whatsoever,” and cited that “90-95%” of managers “felt using social media was not helping the business”.

JD Wetherspoons’ high-profile decision highlights the wider issue around an ability to prove a tangible business benefit through investment in social media marketing.

Social media is still seen by many businesses as something of a ‘free tool’ and therefore one that adds little affiliation or value to the ‘bottom line’, delivering no more than surface-level data such as number of follower counts, likes and retweets.

With over three billion active on social media worldwide*, this activity is very much an extension of the day-to-day life of those users and, therefore, should be considered a key element of any marketing mix.

Here at Three Sixty Media, we understand how social media, if used and analysed effectively, can help raise awareness not only for existing brands, but in building new ones from scratch by assisting in driving increased footfall to high street stores. It is also an invaluable networking tool and, when harnessed to its full potential, can be used to forge business relationships.

So how do we think the move will affect Wetherspoons?

By reducing the ability to quickly respond to customer complaints and unexpected brand crises in a public setting, Wetherspoons have at the same time introduced a mechanism through which to maintain a positive brand image.

Deactivating hundreds of social media accounts also leaves the door open for other budget pub chains to develop a more authoritative and influential voice, which could possibly result in a decline in popularity and a decreasing market share for Wetherspoons.

Whilst at Three Sixty Media we recognise that social media marketing does not always bring immediately visible results, however, as part of a long-term strategy it gives any business an ability to dictate its own narrative, increase customer engagement and with it website traffic. Which means it can influence and convert such engagement into business which ultimately contribute towards the bottom line.

Social media continues to provide opportunities for those businesses that are willing to make a medium to long-term commitment and employ creative, outside-of-the-box thinking, so contact Three Sixty Media today to find out how it can bring benefits to your business.

*Source: We Are Social

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