JD Wetherspoon pulls all social media channels
JD Wetherspoon has taken the decision to remove all its social media channels for all its pubs and chains – that’s 900 accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. This comes after deleting its email database of 700,000 addresses last year.
Chairman Tim Martin said: “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business. I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and struggle to control the compulsion.”
This is a massive move, but not so surprising when you look at the social media accounts for any of their pubs. Instead of using social media as an advertising platform, JD Wetherspoon have primarily used it as a customer service platform.
Anyone that spends a long time monitoring the accounts of any business page will tell you how exhausting this can be, and I can see why JD Wetherspoon’s have pulled the plug given the sheer volume of keyboard warriors across the channels who are oh so quick to have a go.
Social media is a great tool for business advertising, especially small businesses who need more value for money and can be creative in terms of exposure. It seems a wasted opportunity to me to have social media accounts and not use them to show off your business in terms of products, news etc.
However, there are many of these businesses out there. The struggle for the likes of JD Wetherspoon is the sheer size and number of pubs under its umbrella. It becomes very difficult to manage.
There are 2 options each with various positives and negatives:
Each pub manages their own accounts
Means each account has local knowledge, can use local terms, and understand local events and slangs, and each complaint can be dealt with by the people involved. However, won’t be consistent with the JD Wetherspoon brand across all the other accounts, and would involve training for each person in charge of the accounts.
All pubs are managed centrally by head office
The advertising and branding would be consistent across all accounts and would require less training for the person/person(s) in charge of the accounts. However, the accounts would have less personality and charm, and each complaint would have to be followed up with the pub in question.
For the businesses who only use social media for customer service, this could be the beginning of a trend, time will tell. Will any others call last orders over the next few weeks and months?