If you’re anything like us at Pivotal and you like a cheap pint or good grub that’s value for money, you’ll have heard of the nationwide pub chain JD Wetherspoons. This week they made headlines when they announced they were breaking away from the business marketing norm and deleting their social media accounts across their 900 establishments and head office.
The brand cites the abuse of personal data by social media platforms, the addictive allure of social media, and trolling as reasons for their sudden social media radio silence.
Their chairman Tim Martin has said:
“I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.”
But is he right, or is Wetherspoons’s social media closure marketing suicide?
As a digital marketing company, we may be a little biased, but there is some truth to what Wetherspoons claims. However, after 14 years of Facebook, 11 years of Twitter and 8 years of Instagram, social media still has its merits.
Here are the 5 pros and 5 cons of using social media for business in 2018:
The Good Stuff:
1) A Lot of Control
Many people forget about their privacy settings once they set up their social media profile. But you can review your Privacy Settings within Facebook Settings and dictate who can send you friend requests, search for you using the number or email you’ve provided, and who can see your posts.
Likewise on Twitter, under the ‘Privacy and Safety’ tab in Settings, you’ll find a bounty of options. You can choose whether people can tag you in photos, or allow other people to find you via your number or email.
You’re ultimately in control of what data you share with social media companies. If you’re a business, you might want to be found easily and display your business phone number in your Twitter and Instagram bio. If you’re an individual using social media for personal use, you might want to think twice.
2) Less is More
If, like Wetherspoons, you are concerned with the addictive nature of social media, don’t worry. You do not have to post every single day.
While daily posting used to be the tactic we used, we now aim to publish only three posts a week for our clients, focusing more on quality than quantity. Why don’t you give it a try?
As long as your posts are still educating or helping your audience in some way, they should still generate engagement.
3) Real-Time Feedback
Any business owner or professional will know that the best business research is asking for customers’ opinions. Social media is a great tool for quick and honest customer responses, when you ask for thoughts on a new product or how they found an event your business hosted.
Facebook can also be a valuable source of business reviews. Gauging customers’ feedback on social media speaks volumes about your business. And customer comments showcase your business in a better light than direct ‘selling’ posts ever could!
4) Express and Inform
You don’t have to bombard your business’s social media accounts with posts. However, certain content can add a human element and personal touch to your business that audiences can relate and respond to. A behind-the-scenes peek into the inner operations of your business, a photo of your team doing what they do best, or a video of your staff at an industry event.
Customers also appreciate being kept up to date with your business news, product launches and new additions to staff. Social media can be fun if used correctly!
5) Customer Concerns
From news and Twitter trends to private messages from curious customers, social media shows you the latest concerns. You can answer the questions your target audience is asking. Eventually, your business could be the go-to place for handy information and advice!
The Not So Good Stuff:
1) Scandals Don’t Inspire Confidence
The recent data scandal, in which data firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users, has caused much distrust in Facebook. In a recent survey, only 27% reported that they believe Facebook is committed to protecting their privacy.
Many people have been deleting their Facebook account, from public users to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Even Elon Musk has removed Tesla’s Facebook page. It’s easy to understand why.
2) Social Media Addictions
With people spending at least two hours a day social networking and messaging, causing your customers to become social media addicts is a valid concern. However, just as the majority of people who consume alcohol are not alcoholics, most people who use social media use it in healthy doses.
Remember, you do not need to bombard your audience with content to be effective on social media and you can trust your audience not to keep their own social media habits in check.
3) Trolls and Negativity
The downside to a place where anyone can leave reviews is that they can also leave negative comments.
We always advise clients that it’s not the review itself that is bad. In fact, it is something your business could maybe learn from to improve your service. Plus, even bad press can occasionally be good press, as long as people are talking about your business. It is how your business responds to the review that is key.
Responding in a professional and timely manner is a must, and try to take the grievance away from social media. Always encourage the complainant to call or email your business so you can help them resolve their issue.
Perhaps you’ve heard of instances where, say, a bakery shared their techniques for a delicious cake, only for a rival to pinch the recipe. While you might be a little wary of baring your business to the world and oversharing, you are in control of how many ‘business secrets’ you reveal on social media.
You can also do a little (healthy and ethical) Facebook or Twitter stalking yourself. Observe what your competitors are doing on social media, just for inspiration to refresh your own digital marketing efforts.
5) Other Options
Not necessarily a bad element about social media, but a fact: social media isn’t the only marketing platform available to you. Email marketing can also contain links to your website, whilst traditional marketing of posters, brochures and leaflets also hold their own benefits.