I couldn’t resist this one.
I am sure there are many commentators who are talking about Weatherspoon’s decision to shut down it’s social media, both positive and negative and I wanted to add my thoughts.
Social media is loved world-wide, but it is also detested by many and feared by some, including many businesses. The impact was seen this weekend when two Irish rugby players who had been cleared of rape were then sacked from their club because of social media posts, all be it personal ones. The challenge for anyone or any business engaging with social media is that nothing is private, even if you think it is, the technology itself is open to abuse and will, unfortunately, be used by some organisations for unscrupulous reasons.
I personally think Weatherspoon’s have made a brave decision, one that could be about raising their profile more than anything else, but a brave one all the same. Their social media accounts did not have huge numbers of followers and I suspect they had not engaged properly, however they are right, how many times can you Tweet a pint of beer.
My belief is that social media has its part to play in the marketing mix, but for some audiences it is not relevant. Going forward I think more organisations will use it selectively and will target closed groups that allow for specific messages to be sent as opposed to generic ones. I also believe that the use of social media by consumers and individuals will slow down and whilst many people will choose one channel, they will stick to that channel and not use multiple channels. This in turn will make social media even more competitive than it is now and hopefully lead to a reduction in the junk and rubbish that comes through now.
My final point is the need to control the content correctly. Individuals can post content as they wish, but everyone needs to be cautious and recognise that this content can be abused. As a business, it is essential that all staff are given guidelines as to what is acceptable, both in terms of the brand and its values. This is something we are developing more and more for clients but is a constantly evolving beast.
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