With the surprising news that national pub chain JD Wetherspoon has decided to close all its social media accounts, you may be starting to doubt your own social media efforts and question the point of it all.
We have all heard the marketing experts extol the virtues of an online presence. After all, it’s measurable, you can see where your efforts generate good return on investment compared to offline media, and your customers can keep in contact much more easily.
So, why would one brand make an about turn and eschew almost its entire digital presence?
In June 2017, JD Wetherspoon announced moves to delete its whole email database ahead of GDPR implementation and following hefty fines administered by the ICO to firms such as Flybe and Honda.
At the time of the announcement, JD Wetherspoon, which has itself been victim of a security breach exposing over 600,000 customer records, claimed that it would advertise its offers on social media channels instead.
However, Wetherspoons has clearly become disillusioned with this marketing medium too, suggesting that deleting their social accounts will make no difference to their bottom line.
Making claims of altruism and concern for people’s addiction to social media as well as alluding to discontentment over recent scandals involving Facebook, the chain has decided to eliminate risk and responsibility for handling personal data.
Now, the only way electronic way you will be able to find out about the pub chain’s news is through their website, app and digital publication “Wetherspoon News”.
While this risk-averse approach may work out for an offline business that is already a household name, rejection of social media could be detrimental for SMEs and certainly start-ups.
Here are the things you could say goodbye to if you totally cut your business off from social media:
Increased brand awareness
Put simply, if no-one has heard of you, no-one will buy from you. You need to harness the power of social media and all its tricks to put your company on people’s radar. Original and thought-provoking content can be boosted to get more eyes on your business, so don’t neglect an opportunity to be seen when it’s a relatively small investment compared to traditional advertising.
Measurable ROI & granular targeting
The biggest advantage for marketers is that you can see your advertising results in real time. When placing an ad in newspapers, it’s much harder to get the numbers to back up your theories.
Facebook’s Ad Manager lets you target based on demographics, relationship status, job role, place of work and interests. Not only that, but you can remarket to people already in your sales funnel by placing “pixels” or pieces of code on your website.
You can even A/B test your creative to make sure the best advert in your ad set gets seen the most.
Brand advocacy – Opportunities for your fans to advertise for you
Social media gives your fans a platform to sing your praises. If they love your service, they will give you free advertising by mentioning your page. This has the potential to open the floodgates if their post goes viral, leading to increased followers and more people to show your fantastic content to.
A kind word from a customer is worth a lot more than a paid advertisement, so don’t get rid of this opportunity.
Open lines of communication
Traditional media has always been one-way traffic – That is, the advertisers tell you about their product and the audience has no right of reply.
Social media has opened up a massive forum for a two-way conversation so people can ask you questions directly. It’s also a wonderful tool to know what your audience is thinking, thus giving you qualitative data to help pitch your product or make improvements.
An online community
Say what you like about them, but Apple have built up a little bit of a following over the last few decades. Yet you don’t need to be Steve Jobs to create a place for people to belong.
Customers become fans when they feel part of something bigger. They buy your product or interact with your service without question because your brand becomes part of how they identify themselves.
Your customers all have a similar need for your product because they have things in common with each other. If you tap into whatever it is that drives customers to see your product as their solution, you can build a community such as a Facebook Group or a networking hour on Twitter for people to get talking to each other.
A great way to kick off your inbound sales funnel
Social media is a huge component of your sales funnel. Through adverts, you get new people to notice your brand, click through to a landing page and leave their email addresses in exchange for a freebie such as an ebook or a webinar.
From there, they are in a good place to find out more about you and your paid products. Without the impetus of social media, you will struggle to get that ball rolling. Yes, you can do this through AdWords, but if people spend huge pockets of time on Facebook, why not go where they are already?
Indirect Benefits for SEO
Linking to content on your website is a great way to increase incoming traffic to your site, and if people like what they see, they will use your social share buttons to post your article to their network. This counts as a positive social signal for search engines.
Better still, people may be inclined to link back to you from their own websites. If you get a number of these “backlinks” from trusted sites, this will be picked up by search engines as evidence you have wonderful content that people love and have confidence in.
To find out more about how social media can help your business, get in touch with the team at Bold.