Last week it was announced that JD Wetherspoons was deleting all of its social media accounts – a bold move in a world obsessed with social! Chairman Tim Martin said that it had consulted its pub managers before making the move, and “90-to-95% felt that using social media was not helping the business” – though of course it’s possible Wetherspoons wasn’t utilising the platforms in the business-helping way it could be. However, Martin, always the contrarian, maintains: “We’ve got a massive commercial advantage because everyone else is wasting hours of their time”. There’s a difference though between not having the resources to do the job (and maybe pub staff shouldn’t be “wasting hours” tweeting) and not doing the job very well. It could be argued that after a brand or company gets to a certain size, social media becomes less relevant. Wetherspoons is so ingrained in the British culture (cheeky pint at Spoons anyone?) that we doubt they’ll see an immediate downturn in business due to the move. However, they also won’t see any of the potential benefits. Because there’s another, and perhaps more important side to social media than churning out pub-related social media ‘brandfill’ is more likely to annoy potential punters than lure them inside. Dedicated social media accounts mean an immediate connection with your customers, on a platform they regularly visit, and want to read. The suggestion in some media that Wetherspoons’ customers are not social media users is patronising in the extreme and to cut off one of their communication channels to the business seems short-sighted. It suggests that they don’t want to know what their customers think. Social channels mean customers have somewhere easy they can go to when they want to complain about, or praise, a brand or company. While complaints and negative comments can overtake the positive, the trickier a complaints process, the more annoyed your customers will be. While brands may be much more likely to receive complaints via social than positive comments, this probably says more about us as a species than social media as a platform… Responding directly to your customers shows them that you care. A brand interaction, no matter how small, can reinvigorate a consumer’s interest in a brand and make them feel like a valued customer, not just a nameless face in a crowd. A ‘like’ from a big brand goes a long way! It remains to be seen whether this is a good move or bad for Spoons, but if the perception that it doesn’t want to hear from customers gains traction, it could do more commercial harm to the brand than letting pub staff tweet for 10 minutes a day.
Brooklyn Brewery (part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company) is the beer brand that revolutionised the American craft beer scene, and is renowned for its premium, flavourful range of craft beers. But when it came to breaking into the premium world category with its crisp and refreshing new pilsner, it needed… Read more
If you’re in the construction industry, learn this name: Buildxact. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will soon. And if you’re a small residential builder, knowing the name could transform your life and your business. Read more
As the world opens up again once more, and we try not to mention the dreaded C word, we’ve been getting back into the swing of things and hosting events IRL – much to journalists’ (and our!) delight. From sipping rum in Cuba to launching new whiskeys in Dublin and… Read more
Yikes! Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith experienced a classic social media mishap over Twitter yesterday after revealing the GBBO winner ahead of last night’s end of season finale.
I am so sorry to the fans of the show for my mistake this morning, I am in a different time zone and mortified by my error #GBBO.
— Prue Leith (@PrueLeith) 31 October 2017
Prue’s blunder led to a barrage of ‘memes’ poking fun at her (which, admittedly, were quite funny).
When she finally figures out Prue’s twitter password #GBBO pic.twitter.com/BbVDgpWKva
— Ryan (@Ryan__W) 31 October 2017
Meanwhile, Prue’s just paid for roaming data from Bhutan to send an urgent message… #GBBOFinal pic.twitter.com/D9EZxSVimU
— eBay.co.uk (@eBay_UK) 31 October 2017
But worst of all, she was met with disappointment and criticism for her mistake. I am so beyond upset that I know who won #GBBOFinal silly Prue!!might not bother watching it now! What’s the point ♀️xx — Dani Harmer (@MissDaniJHarmer) 31 October 2017
Prue, who was in Asia when she made her blunder, blamed the time difference, but is that really a valid excuse? After all, her error could have so easily been avoided.
Firstly, she could have used a scheduling tool for any GBBO-show related tweets that stuck to the London Time Zone. But just scheduling tweets can come across as inorganic, and they’re easy to sniff out. So if we had been advising, we would have made sure that Prue and her colleagues had been watching the show in real time – wherever they were – and tweeting live, avoiding any chance of spoilers until they’ve actually happened on TV. And if you really wanted to avoid this kind of mistake for your brand, using a content calendar is your best bet. With an Excel spreadsheet, just lay out your tweets for the month and plan well ahead. This will also help avoid those awkward scheduling mishaps. Finally, to avoid a media meltdown, if all else fails, just use some common sense. And if you’re really not sure – then don’t do it! Or ask the experts – that’s what we’re here for, after all. Prue Leith’s media department rn #GBBOFinal pic.twitter.com/M1yA4jliof — Cromwell (@Cromwell606) 31 October 2017
The Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) inaugural Digital Awards – at which we were proudly shortlisted – honoured the industry’s best social media campaigns, and rightly won plaudits. And as we rubbed shoulders with the great and good of the PR world, it became apparent that our work in using social media to engage and interact with new audiences beyond the world of traditional media also has an increasingly high purpose across the worlds of commerce, charity and the public sector. We applauded the winner in our own category (Best Use of Social Influencers in a Campaign), as Action Aid UK’s #BrutalCut campaign won another prestigious gong for its work in raising awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, and we were also lucky enough to share a table with two inspirational gentlemen from Aberdeenshire Council who have been using social media to reduce suicide rates in their home county. Their Prevent Suicide campaign, which was nominated in the Best Digital Marketing Campaign, is based around the promotion of a simple app – which since launch in March 2016 has already been downloaded by more than 18,000 people seeking either inspiration for themselves or loved ones who may have hit rock bottom. The campaign is being credited with leading to an incredible 29% reduction in suicides in Aberdeenshire last year compared with in 2015, a result which Iain Murray, the Choose Life co-ordinator for Aberdeenshire, told me had surpassed all expectations, including his own. Iain – a charming, burly ex-policeman – has embraced the social digital revolution in his new-found vocation, immediately understanding its power and potency to deliver effective tools that can change lives. While we’re far from ready to call time on traditional print media – which remains an integral part of the PR and marketing mix – Iain’s example certainly provides food for thought. Social and digital media can be an incredibly cost-effective way of promoting compelling and game-changing owner-generated content that can also earn you a significant share of voice in both new (social and digital) and traditional (broadcast and print) media. Certainly, we’re satisfied with our success in turning Franklin & Sons – the premium, handcrafted range of tonics, mixers and soft drinks – into a number one trending sensation on Twitter, as well as generating many column inches for them across more traditional national and lifestyle consumer media. As PRCA Director General Francis Ingham said during his opening address: “These awards are not for dinosaurs. If you are a dinosaur, then you are in the wrong place.”