In a move that surprised many, so much so that it made headline news, the pub chain JD Wetherspoon closed its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts in April.  

Over 900 pubs and the Wetherspoon head office no longer have social media presence. The chain’s chairman, Tim Martin, stated that the move was linked to “current bad publicity” surrounding social media, citing the trolling of MPs and the recent Facebook scandal as examples, and the addictive nature it incites – but can a business survive without social media?  

Scrapping social media wouldn’t work for every company. Wetherspoon know their audience, and as a result, social media engagement isn’t necessarily the platform for them. 

Yet when done right, social media can provide benefits for business, from increased brand awareness, higher conversions, and improved brand loyalty. 

Increased Customer Service  

Transport for London (TfL) began using Twitter to provide travel updates during the 2012 Olympic Games and its audience on Twitter has grown steadily since. Now about a quarter of all Londoners say they get travel information through social media*. Since then, TfL has deployed 25 Twitter feeds (covering different modes of transport, individual tube lines, feeds for road traffic updates, disabled access and so on).  

Their content is a mix of standard updates, responses to individual queries, and pro-active tips. For example, on the day of the Jay-Z concert at the O2, TfL tweets alerted followers to potential traffic issues. 


TfL Twitter feed

TfL uses multiple social media channels to communicate with their customers

Social media works for TfL because it’s real asset to their customers. Twitter is a fast-paced and interactive platform, so travellers can get real-time updates regarding their route. If they scrapped their social, they’d be letting down their customers. 

Managing Negative PR

And while social media can be an incredible marketing and customer service tool, it can also help businesses to build unique relationships with their customers by getting involved with their conversations.  

In March, fast-food giant KFC came under the public spotlight when they hilariously suffered a chicken shortage. Though the highly-publicised crisis could easily have turned into a PR disaster, KFC’s team managed to turn it around and arguably strengthen the brand image. 

KFC social media post

KFC used social media as a tool to manage negative publicity

KFC updated customers via social media channels, writing light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek posts to get their message across. They even set up an online chatbot dubbed #wheresmychicken for Twitter users to find their nearest store. Instead of hiding away and releasing a single crisis management statement, KFC kept their tone as one with their consumers, not separate to them. 

Before social media, companies were unable to show their brand’s personality and build relationships with customers as easily and instantly as they can now. In times of crisis, the best response is to be a part of the digital discussion and not hide away from it. By interacting with customers, KFC was able to strengthen their brand. 

Connect with Customers

By giving your business brand the social media touch, you can generate more business and connect with your customers better, serving them on a higher level.  

But for social media to work for your brand, you need to know your customers and which channels to speak to them on. So, if you run a corporate business and want to increase your B2B marketing, we wouldn’t suggest Snapchat was the right platform for you, but LinkedIn could work wonders. 

The team at Purpose Media discuss appropriate messaging for social media

Need help with social? 

At Purpose Media our in-house team includes social media and digital marketing specialists who have what it takes to help you get started with social or take it to the next level. 

Always results focused, every job we undertake is based on strategic objectives and KPIs agreed with you, ensuring we understand and deliver exactly what matters most to your business.  

Our purpose has always been to help our clients achieve their business goals – it’s that simple.  

So, if you need help creating a marketing campaign or a results-focused strategy for your business, we’ve got your back. We get a buzz from seeing our clients grow.   

A team that understands. The creativity to bring ideas to life. The technology to make them deliver. Get in touch to see how we can help you. 


*Institute of Practitioners in Advertising 

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Posted by Katrina Starkie