Quite a bit! After a trek across the pond and some time spent in a pub in Northeastern England, Site Logic Marketing's Matt Bailey offers up an excellent article this week that draws a poignant analogy between social media marketing and the traditional English Pub.

Matt writes:

I recently came back from an extended trip to England, where my wife and I spent some time in Northern England with Mike Grehan. Mike is incredibly passionate about living in Newcastle, and should be knighted as an evangelist for Northeastern England. Visiting Mike's pub was probably the most enjoyable experience I had. Not in the least of which was the glorious fish 'n chips and sticky pudding. It was one of the best meals I had that week.

The English pub is nothing as it is imagined in the States. Many of my observations about the pub were remarkably similar to the concept of Social Media. Of course, this could just be the nerd in me, contrasting every "real" experience with online behavior.

Focusing in on issues like personal ownership, an environment built for conversation and a lack of distraction; Matt explains why social media marketers need to think like Pub owners to make sure they're building the type of environment that leaves consumers open to new ideas.

He makes some great points. Among them:

3. Sense of Ownership
Mike kept saying, "my pub." Mike's son, Joe, explained the three priorities in life: "football, the pub, the wife. In that order." The pub is a local meeting house and is located near your home. Everyone who lives near it calls it "their pub." What's interesting is we also passed by his brother's pub and his mother's pub. Everyone knows where THEIR pub is.

Observation: Ownership is vital to a sense of community. Unless you feel a sense of pride in what is being built and a sense of participation in the success, then you don't have a true investment in the community.

Of course in reading Matt's full list, I can't help but think he missed one key point.

So I'll add point number 9 myself.

9. Respect the Locals or Risk Starting a Brawl

Any time you have a spot like a pub with "locals" who feel a sense of ownership of the gathering place and each other, you have to show a little respect for the established community. While it's perfectly fine to visit new pubs, having a little tact and not insulting the locals is generally a good idea. Not respecting the community by popping in to sell insurance or vacuum cleaners is an insult to the purpose of the pub.

Observation: Don't go storming into an established community and spout off about things you don't understand. Also understand the need for a super, SUPER soft sell when it comes to social media. Barging in to the conversation to hock your wares is not going to go over well. It's a good way to make a bad impression and you could find yourself in a brawl.

March 6, 2008

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


So true. I lived in England for 12 years with my English husband, and the hub of our social life was our 'local', the Weyhill Fair in Andover.

We live in California now, and miss that type of place to go and hang out. And you may as well laugh, ladies, because it's true: football, the pub, the wife.

I'm just getting started with social networking, so I'll keep this article in mind.
Loved it, thanks, Matt

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Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > What Do An English Pub and Social Media Have in Common?