JD Wetherspoon withdraws from social media: what does it mean?
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is a firm favourite with Brits. While they’re a regular sight in UK towns and cities, the pubs are set to become a less common one in our social media feeds as the group announced today it would be closing all of its social media accounts.
As a result, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for some 900 pubs and the chain’s head office have been taken offline. The move isn’t said to be a direct result of a particular incident. A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon commented: “We’ve noticed a lot of MPs get trolled and some receive some nasty comments and the company doesn’t like what’s going on – we don’t like the general climate of social media.”
Social media plays such an enormous part of our everyday lives, so it’s a huge decision for a brand the size, scale and prominence of Wetherspoons to remove itself completely from all platforms. While the chain’s chairman Tim Martin doesn’t “believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever”, it could be a very different story. In this blog post, we weigh up the implications of JD Wetherspoon’s exit from social media:
As we’ve already mentioned, 900 JD Wetherspoon pubs will no longer have access to social media accounts. The accounts previously allowed them a space to promote any events or offers that may have been specific to their pub for their local audience.
Now that the accounts have been removed, could these pubs struggle to connect with their local audience? Without social media, they will have to rely on word of mouth and customers seeing traditional marketing methods such as posters and leaflets. While social media placed a pub, event or offer directly in front of a targeted local audience with minimal effort, these pubs will have to try harder — and potentially face greater expense — to raise the awareness they need.
Chairman Tim Martin also commented “We will still be as vocal as ever through our Wetherspoon News magazine, as well as keeping the press updated at all times.” However, nowadays customers expect instant answers to their queries — and social media is key to delivering this.
Not only can users find key information such as opening times and contact information, they can contact the pubs directly to provide feedback or find out anything else they may need to know.
Now that the accounts have been closed, the only digital channel whereby customers can contact the chain is through a contact us form on the website. Useful for raising less time-sensitive issues, the brand may find this as an ineffective way of dealing with smaller, pub-specific customer queries.
One way of countering these issues without reverting back to social media would be to develop the individual pub pages on the main JD Wetherspoon site. At present, the pages show the history of the pub, as well as details of facilities and contact information. A large proportion of them do not display information about events the pubs are hosting which, if not promoted, can lead to a lower number of customers attending.
Overall, JD Wetherspoon’s withdrawal from social media has the potential to impact local pubs and community awareness most significantly. Only time will tell how the move will affect the brand overall and if more brands will follow suit in the future.