Last week, the Northborough Wegmans announced on its Facebook page that it would no longer have a Facebook page.
"We have enjoyed a tremendous year with you at our Northborough Facebook page," reads the post. "Thank you to our 7,490 fans for being a part of it. We will be taking this page down on Dec. 9 because our Northborough store is now up and running."
Quickly, shoppers and fans of the store responded with disappointment.
"Whole Foods does a great job with their FB page," posted Karen Glynn Webb, echoing similar sentiments. "Their posts are great. I truly don't understand why you're taking the page down. It's another way to connect with your customers."
Northborough Wegmans urged fans to sign up for Wegmans news, or follow the store on Twitter @Wegmans.
"We have a Blog and a company Twitter handle," Jo Natale, director of media relations, told Patch. "Both are very active and comments are monitored and responded to by our consumer affairs department. We do not, however, have a company Facebook page, and at least for now, there aren’t plans for one."
Natale explained that a number of stores started Facebook pages on its own, and have autonomy to do so. The Northborough store had started a page several months before opening.
"Of course, it was easy to manage before the store opened," said Natale. "But, they quickly discovered, once the store opened and got very, very busy, that it wasn’t so easy to stay on top of comments or to find the time to post. In a retail operation like ours, there isn’t anyone sitting at a PC or checking a mobile device throughout the day. It’s a fast-paced business that requires our people to be on the floor serving customers. Our other stores with Facebook pages (Pittsford, NY and Harrisburg, PA) have been open much longer and have figured out a way to manage their pages, which is great. It doesn’t mean that all 81 of our stores can or should do the same."
Natale said that while some brands have outside agencies to manage social media sites, Wegmans has not considered doing that.
"What triggered the final decision was a posted comment that went unnoticed for too long," she added. "The store felt terrible and decided that if they can’t do Facebook right, meeting the high standards we set for ourselves, they’d rather not do it all. And, we support that decision."
Natale said the disappointment was expected, and some advised that Wegmans shut down the Facebook page without an announcement.
"That's just not our style," she said.
Matt Wolf is the founder of SnapGrow, an internet marketing company in Worcester. Wolf said that in situations of a corporate policy of centrally-managed social media, it isn't unreasonable to shut down a page.
"However, Wegmans ignored one of the cardinal rules of social media," said Wolf. "Don't start something if you're not committed to following through with it indefinitely. Unlike traditional marketing communications, social media is a conversation. Imagine conversing casually with someone or a group of friends throughout the course of a year and then announcing in a formal tone that you will no longer be conversing with them, and only providing them with cold details on where they can address any correspondence they wish to have with you in the future. It would surely ruffle some feathers and put people off, just as the coldly worded closing notices on the Wegmans Northborough Facebook page have done."
What do you think about the announcement of Northborough Wegmans to shut its Facebook page? Do you follow the page?