High street pub giant JD Wetherspoon is to close all Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for all 900 of its pubs and its head office with immediate effect, as the pub giant loses faith in social media.
Following recent bad publicity surrounding platforms such as Facebook, it has been reported in the media that Wetherspoon are to quit all social media platforms to ‘focus on serving customers.’
Chairman Tim Martin told the BBC that society would be better off if people cut the amount of social media use.
The firm said its decision had also been influenced by concerns regarding the misuse of personal data and the addictive nature of social media.
“We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business.”
He told the BBC he had always thought the idea that social media was essential for advertising was untrue.
“We were also concerned that pub managers were being side-tracked from the real job of serving customers,” he said. “I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever.”
The chairman said that it had consulted its pub managers before making the move, and “90-to-95% felt using social media was not helping the business”.
The Wetherspoon chain had more than 44,000 Twitter followers and more than 100,000 on Facebook before closing the account. Some of their posts received in excess of 500,000 views.
In my eyes, this could be a legitimate attempt to take the conversation “offline”, a PR stunt, a way to avoid bad reviews, or clever cost cutting.
Clearly, you’d have to be in a powerful bricks and mortar position to remove your brand from social media, which they are. We all know where our local ‘spoons is!
I personally think this move is because they get more negative sentiment than positive and I can’t help but wonder how much of this is damage limitation, particularly following their printing of 500,000 pro-Brexit beer mats (I’m not joking, google it!)
An interesting thought: is your business strong enough to survive offline if you were to close your social media accounts?
This is going to be a fascinating insight into the power of social media… Let’s see how it goes!