As a digital marketing agency, we are always going to encourage people to position themselves online – that’s hardly surprising. So, when we read that JD Wetherspoons had pulled the plug on their social media channels we were surprised, at first. But are the Ryanair of pub chains really about to set a new trend or are they choosing nostalgia over reality?
Let’s first look at the evidence from outside the JD Wetherspoons bubble – the UK seems like a good place to start. Unless there has been a huge marketing shift from 2017, the numbers aren’t in Wetherspoons’ favour. In 2017 Google trained over 100,000 SMEs in online marketing, that’s over 2,000 per week in the UK alone. Lloyds Bank trained a further 74,000 businesses in digital skills.
Google, the British Libraries and other agencies have partnered to create Do It Digital, which put 1,000,000 small businesses online in 2017. Don’t be fooled into thinking initiatives like these have peaked either, instead they are getting bigger. In the next 3 years, these programmes are striving to create 100,000 new jobs in the digital sector. The trend is not solely for small businesses – Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest companies recently returned to YouTube advertising after a year long hiatus.
Better Customer Service?
Tim Martin, Wetherspoons chairperson, expects his initiative to free up bar managers to engage with customers, which is a noble idea on the surface. The idea of a bar manager stood in the corner responding to online trolls and neglecting customers surely vindicates his thinking. So, now that those managers are talking to customers, all complaints will be handled in person and that’ll be that, right?
Wrong. If you’re not on social media, it does not stop people talking about your business. Instead it prevents you from listening and learning from your customers and it certainly ensures you can’t respond. Not only are you not controlling/engaging in the conversation, you don’t even know what the conversation is about.
Online marketing is time consuming, on that Tim Martin is right, but how you budget and use that time is important. If your bar manager is asked to respond to each tweet or post and there’s no real policy to follow, it can lead down the wrong road. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Scheduling your offers as you would through any other channel can save you a lot of time. Allocating set times to use social media can also help, but it can be hard enough to run a business without a series of social channels as well. That’s why we offer bespoke digital marketing services for your brand – contact us now to find out more. Don’t run from social media – your customers are still there, so engage them.