Friday, 16 July 2010

Tesco Friday Frenzy and power of Social Networking

One Friday a few weeks ago, the Clothing at Tesco (C@T) team decided to launch a campaign to increase their Facebook fan base.

The team had opened the Clothing at Tesco Facebook fan site linked to their website and were using the service to update their profile regularly to talk about new clothing ranges, fashion tips and special offers.

The team also used the Facebook Discussions Board feature attached to their account to start conversations with customers on subjects such as their returns policy, issues with checkout and more. They wanted to have an open and honest relationship with their customers as well as promote the Clothing at Tesco website.

In the days leading up to that Friday, 7th May 2010, the C@T team sent out a simple viral message to their existing fan base. The message was that the first 6,000 people who were fans of the Clothing at Tesco Facebook site would get an e-voucher during the Friday morning that would give them 50% off an order placed on the website on that day. To become a fan of a site on Facebook is simple - you just find it and click the button “Like” - that's all people had to do to qualify.

When the C@T team sent out that message they had 1,000 fans, and when Friday 6th May dawned, they didn’t. They had 41,000 fans.

To say that they were “staggered” didn’t quite do justice to the overwhelming response of fans to the promotion. Let’s face it, it worked a treat - over 40,000 new fans were now part of the C@T Facebook page and and large number of new customers arrived on their website.

The discount code to type into the checkout part of the web site to get 50% off was finally sent to everyone shortly after midday, which caused such a load on that site that the engineers running the servers had to display a holding page message.

Some customers were little frustrated but social networking is a strange and powerful thing and their friends were encouraging them to keep trying until they got their orders placed:

  • holly100: Sorted! come on guys when you finally get through you are getting the bargains!
  • vinod12u: ordered 3 t-shirts;-)
  • LJM: Thanks just ordered shoes.

Despite the frenzy of that Friday, the team had found the true power of social networking, and they have been working hard to harness social networking and apply what they have learned.

The fact is, genuine word of mouth delivers awareness and consideration about a brand. The ‘buzz’ between Facebook friends in the build up to Friday Frenzy, encouraging each other to become a fan and chatting to each other about what clothes they intended to buy from the range has true value.

Today the C@T team uses Facebook even more than ever to:
  • Monitor and respond to feedback around products/ service/ website 
  • Provide exclusive deals and offers
  • Integrating our blog content of fashion features and expert
  • Use contests & competitions to further engage with fans
  • Exclusive previews of new fashion lines and brands

The C@T have also engaged with Twitter in a fun way - their “F&F couture” competition to win a biscuit (amongst other exciting things) was re-tweeted 1,333 times and reached a total of 724,755 people on Twitter.

What I like about the C@T team is their attitude: They are using social networking because they are customers too and are happy to engage with fans in an open and honest way. Sure, the Friday Frenzy was hotter to handle than they expected but they have taken great care in making sure all customers who experienced that day ended up with what they were looking for.

The team have summarised what they have learned about social networking when linking to the Clothing at Tesco brand, and how they will use it going forwards:
  • Start with an objective in mind.
  • Listen carefully and monitor conversation happening about your brand before you dive in.
  • Once you join in, you are committed for the long haul.
  • Ensure you have the resources to monitor and respond.
  • Be prepared to act quickly when required.
  • Consult key stakeholders within the business.
  • Remember you do not have to be everywhere online.

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As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: