The digital world is constantly evolving and it’s important for businesses to understand the need to regularly review and update their digital marketing strategy. The best brands however, don’t just to try to keep up, they try to innovate. Digital space is becoming congested, and it’s getting harder to reach consumers and stand out from the crowd. More and more focus is being put on social media within digital marketing strategies to try and reach consumers, but will this last forever?
Consumers expect brands to be on social media
Social media is a marketing tool used by nearly every company today. From capitalising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to using social media influencers, it’s a great way to increase brand awareness and improve customer experience. New startups have grown quickly, largely due to the accessibility of social media.
However, over the past few years social media has come under scrutiny for a range of different issues relating to privacy, ROI and changes to algorithms meaning businesses cannot connect with their target audience.
Despite the reduced confidence in using social media platforms, most businesses are still reluctant to leave such a powerful marketing tool. Or are they?
Why did J D Wetherspoon quit social media?
Just over a year ago, J D Wetherspoon made the shock announcement that they were closing down their social media pages. They announced that they would continue to release news stories and information on their website. The news quickly sparked debate on the true motives behind this dramatic exit. Was it a clever publicity stunt? Will they soon return?
Chairman Tim Martin explained that “there is no ideal communications tool. No ratio of how much you should spend on ‘digital’ versus ‘traditional’ media that can be applied to brands”. Martin explained that they left social media for three reasons:
Firstly, because using social media was “pointless” and that customer relationships on social media were almost meaningless. He highlighted that if you compare the number of followers that a brand has on social media and compare it to their actual customer base, it represents a low single digit number.
Secondly, he claimed that social media had no business impact. Their average tweet only received 6 retweets and it seemed a waste of time and resource for little impact or return.
Finally, Martin just believed that social media was the wrong fit for the brand and was happy to do things differently from others.
Lush breaks up with social media
J D Wetherspoon isn’t the only brand to make a U-turn on social media. On Monday 9thApril 2019, cosmetics brand Lush decided to bid farewell to its UK social media accounts. The brand announced its departure through posts on Instagram and Twitter. The decision to leave social media was seemingly motivated by the desire to have real conversations without social media algorithms getting in the way.
The response was mixed, with some saying the decision was madness and a big mistake, whilst others agreed that the recent social media controversies have changed attitudes towards social media.
That isn’t the end of the story though. Whilst Lush may have stopped posting on their own social media platforms, they’ve created hashtags to allow customers to continue talking to each other and keep the conversation and sense of community alive online. The question is, will this be successful? Only time will tell, but Lush strongly believe that the community voice on social media has largely been forgotten and they are doing something about it.
Is your social media working for you?
Although we don’t expect a surge of businesses to follow suit and revert back to the classic ways of customer engagement, this bold move will no doubt inspire some brands, perhaps like yours, to look beyond social norms, and become more savvy in how they invest their time and money to build real relationships with customers.
What we want you to remember is simple: the true value of social media is in the consumer. Remember to focus on those you serve rather than the systems you use. You must prioritise the needs of the people who matter most, your customers. If you are too busy concentrating on building your business and following industry standards but not seeing your customers engaging, then perhaps you too have forgotten about the true meaning of social media.