“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad” – Richard Branson.

JD Wetherspoons has attracted national attention with a rather controversial move, deciding to delete all social media accounts for its head office and chain of 900 pubs. In a vague tweet to its 44,000 followers, the pub chain explained the decision was due to the addictive nature of social media and the recent ‘trolling’ of MPs.

Since the announcement, and resulting media coverage, some have questioned whether it’s actually a publicity stunt. In a video response, chairman Tim Martin explained his views saying he had always thought the idea that social media was essential for advertising was untrue. He commented that ‘crawling back to Facebook would be a catastrophe’, along with the verdict that closing the accounts won’t affect the business whatsoever.

It raises questions about the importance of social media for brand building and generating business. One key consideration is that typically, if social is done well, it does have a positive impact on business. Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent, suggests that JD Wetherspoons’ social accounts weren’t utilized effectively, with some promotional posts receiving only three retweets. This would potentially explaining why Martin doesn’t see any real benefit of having them.

Here at the Tonic, we believe social is a vital tool for businesses. These are the top 5 benefits:

  1. Increase brand awareness – potentially the most obvious benefit is increasing brand awareness, with millions of users across social platforms. Social media is a great way to share your brand voice with a diverse and growing audience.
  2. Improve brand loyalty – customers who feel they can easily connect or relate with your brand are more likely to stay loyal to your services or products.
  3. Share creative content – social media platforms are a great way to show how creative and current your brand is and link across all accounts.
  4. Improve customer care – Social media was voted to be the top choice for customer’s to contact a company for support.
  5. Boost lead conversion rates – According to data from Hubspot, social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate.
  6. Learn about your customers and clients – Social media should be a reciprocal relationship, offering a meaningful dialogue, and if used in this way, social can be a valuable tool to improve your product/service and show a genuine customer-first approach.

So, will other brands follow suit? Have JD Wetherspoons started a revolt against social media? It seems unlikely and a large impact on business for the pub chain seems just as unlikely.  If you need award-winning advice on social media, or need a hand to manage your online community, The Tonic team can help. Get in touch with us here.