British pub chain JD Wetherspoon, quit social media last week calling it a waste of time.
Tim Martin, Wetherspoon CEO is quoted as saying, “I am worried about our business getting bogged down in social media, when being front of house in pubs is what it’s all about.”
If this is the case, he does indeed have a problem, and quitting social media is not the solution. Instead he should be looking at his organization’s own lack of strategy and disorganized approach as the culprits.
Quite possibly, Wetherspoon employees are wonderful at providing an excellent customer service and are great at running a pub profitably. This is their job, and these are their core skills. However, it’s unlikely that each of the chain’s 900 pubs employs someone who has the social media skills and knowledge necessary for marketing success.
While some pub managers, chefs and servers might like to use social media to keep connected with their own friends and family, few, if any, have the knowledge and skills of a social media marketing professional. It’s just not fair to expect them to do a job for which they are unqualified.
Social Media Marketing Expertise
Social media marketing is a specialty profession. These digital experts usually possess a marketing or communications degree or diploma. Often they have additional qualifications, certifications or designations from professional groups and associations such as the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) or the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
On top of this, they have deep knowledge of, and extensive experience in, using social media for business marketing and communications. They continuously track innovation and trends to keep at the cutting edge in an environment of constant change. The better ones have certifications from industry players to demonstrate their proficiency in using social media technologies. Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Certification, Facebook BluePrint Certification and Twitter Flight School Certification are just some examples.
Social media success requires strategy and planning. Activities must align with corporate business goals and objectives. Stories and content must be aligned with customer interests and needs. They should closely follow media format trends if they are to be compelling enough to deliver return on investment. Creating this takes special knowledge and talents.
Social media channels need to be constantly monitored and measured. All this takes time, budget and resources, but it’s worth it. According to a British Post Office survey, almost half of Britons make purchases on social media. A quarter tend to base buying decisions on something they’ve seen on social media.
Yes, pub staff should be front of house, not ‘bogged down’ in social media, but by quitting, JD Wetherspoon is leaving money on the table. Instead, the pub chain needs a smart strategy along with a crack social media team to deliver it.