Wetherspoons, social media and the need to just have a chat

19 Apr 2018

Over the last couple of days I’ve been following the public denouncement of Wetherspoon’s decision to scrap their social media presence with some amusement … err, I mean – of course – ‘with no little professional interest’.


The digital marketing community are aghast at what they have variously described as a “short-sighted”, “ill conceived” and “ludicrous” decision.  How – they ask – can any rational 21st century business operate without the support of a canny social media strategy? 


Personally I think Wetherspoon are probably right.  They have a strong value proposition (easy to access locations, cheap food, cheap beer and applying no stigma to the fact you’re on your third pint at 9am).  They have a loyal following who have bought into that proposition and they enjoy a high level of market recognition from that following who know they can find that experience with very little effort wherever they are in the UK.


What difference are a few tweets or a bit of Facebooking going to make?    


But it’s not really the point around Britain’s favourite discount pub chain’s social media policy that got me thinking, it’s the reaction.  To me it asks a more important question – are people just pushing the latest big marketing idea because they feel they have to rather than because they need to?


Marketing has always been a very bandwagonesque area.  People are always looking for the next big thing and will push all their chips onto that square when it arrives.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a social media sceptic - quite the reverse in fact - but while I know social media, SEO, digital marketing, video et al are all highly effective ways to underpin your professional relationships, I also know they can never replace those relationships.


All of these channels will keep you visible in between face-to-face meeting with your clients and professional/industry contacts, they’ll help you promote your specialisms, your credentials, your opinions and your skills and used correctly they’ll even generate enquiries. 


However, what they won’t do is facilitate the kind of conversations that help you really understand what a client needs.  Without that in-depth understanding of your clients you’ll never be able to determine the best possible solution or work out the best way to deliver that solution so that you make everything as easy as possible for your clients.


Aside from the technical side of your relationship, you also need to establish a personal connection. 


If you get on with your clients and they feel comfortable talking to you, the likelihood of establishing a long working relationships complete with repeat purchase and personal referrals increases exponentially.  While social media and digital marketing will explain your approach and provide timely updates, they will never be able to drive the all-important personal side of your relationship.


AI is another of the ideas receiving a lot of column inches and it is unquestionably something that will have a direct effect on every branch of the professional services.  But will it ever do anything other than improve delivery efficiencies and automate some of the more commoditised/commoditiseable tasks involved in your work?  Well, your clients don’t think so!  Only last week Legal Cheek shared an article that said 86% of Brits would prefer to receive their legal advice form ta human than a robot.  Why?  Well my view is they recognise all of the extra value only a genuine relationship can deliver. 


If you want to discuss what you else you could be doing to leverage your key client and professional relationships, drop me a line and we can meet up – face-to-face! – and have a chat.



Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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