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tesco social media case study

Tesco Social Media: How Does the Supermarket Brand Use Social?

Tesco and Social Media isn’t something many of use often think about, however the supermarket giant is no stranger to online marketing. Have you ever wondered how the UK’s biggest supermarket uses social media? In this social media case study, we’ll be looking at how Tesco uses social media to grow its brand and interact with its customers.

Tesco & Social Media: The Early Days

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.

Tesco on Social Media: Twitter

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. For example, in 2013 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:

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 16.50.52

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.

Facebook & Pinterest

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. In addition, they use both of these platforms to field customer comments and questions as/when they arrise – something that all brands need to do across all their active platforms.

Whilst Tesco has seen its fair share of controversy and sticky moments on social media, we can’t deny that they handled it well. It’s not a brand that’s afraid to poke fun at itself and its customers, which seems to be par for the supermarket course, especially on Twitter. We’re ready and waiting with our popcorn when Aldi and Tesco battle it out again on Twitter. Here’s hoping for another Cuthbert situation! Ready for more? Check out our cast study exploring how the coffee giant Costa uses social media to grow its brand!
This article was originally published in 2013 but has been updated in 2023 for relevance.

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