How does TESCO use social media?

The UK's biggest supermarket and the retailer where we spend on average one pound in eight has come a long way since the TV adverts with the pensioner and its origins as a series of market stalls. Today, it has operations in thirteen countries including China and Ireland, over 3000 stores in the UK, sells credit cards and power drills and owns the restaurant chain Giraffe and the video on demand service BlinkBox. It has even tried to shelve its past by dropping the well known 'every little helps' slogan.

Inevitably, all of these business aspects are going to require a significant presence on social media. On Twitter for example, there are more than twenty accounts, which provide regular updates about books, dieting, kitchens and its stores in Malaysia to name a few. The most popular account though (@Tesco) allows customers to complain about their dodgy microwavable Kebab from 8am to 11pm every day. In comparison, Sainsbury's offer a similar seven day service, whilst Morrisons and Asda provide something much more limited.

To its credit also, the company hasn't taken itself too seriously on some of its Twitter feeds. Earlier this year for example, they launched the #nojoke/ there's nothing funny about Tesco Mobile campaign, which attempted to remove the stereotypical impression that it's a terrible network to be associated with. As part of this, adverts were created with three comedians including Ronnie Corbett and content assistants were trained by an agency about responding with a light touch. A notable example of this is shown below:

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To ensure that genuine comments and complaints were being addressed though, the company did set up a separate Twitter account, this being @tescomobilecare.

But this has resulted in some issues. At the height of the horse meat scandal for instance, it scheduled a post at the end of the day which said “we're off to the hay.” Yes, the tweet was taken completely out of context, but it was something that probably should've taken off the scheduling list the moment it was found that the cheap burgers weren't quite what they said on the label.

More recently, as part of a major re-launch, the company introduced a new advertising campaign and the hashtag #loveeverymouthful. However, this campaign began on the same day as an announcement by the Prime Minister that pornography would be banned unless requested. It also gave people the opportunity to rehash old jokes about dodgy lasagne, Shergar and Desert Orchid. But despite some initial issues, this slogan continues to be used to this very day.

Meanwhile, on other social networks, Tesco places a significant emphasis on replying to customer queries on a similar number of Facebook pages. It also promotes recipes, healthy living and gardening ideas amongst others on a Pinterest account and invests a good amount of time on Google +. Finally it has a reasonable presence on YouTube, with videos from their Chief Executive and about competitions, new products and developments within stores.

To summarise, the company we try to hate actually has most of the social media bases covered. A bit more PR awareness wouldn't go amiss though.

Content Assistant - Alex Blakey

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