Sainsbury’s, social media winners Christmas 2011.


As far as MarketingM8 is concerned, Sainsbury’s is the social media number 1 UK grocery retailer Christmas 2011, but how’s the competition doing and who’s last?

Most people will agree that 2011 has been a great year for social media and it seems likely that Sainsbury’s can only benefit from having the best social media profile of all the UK grocery retailers this Christmas.

Jamie leaves Sainsbury's after 11 years

Jamie Oliver's last year at Sainsbury's Christmas 2011

Sainbury’s success begins with two quality websites and not only that, but the Sainsbury’s corporate website is very well connected to social media via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube!

Unlike some of their UK competitors, Sainsbury’s have developed their social media presence extremely well, with well over 250,000 LIKES on the Sainsbury’s Facebook account, a very active Twitter account with over 27,000 followers, a good Klout score, an excellent Flickr account with lots of great photographs and a great YouTube account with 126 videos.

Sainsbury's quality Flickr account

Sainsbury's well deserved 1st place

This blog post was inspired by my recent collaboration with North American social media analyst Mr Edward Wong and came about as a consequence of our discussions on social media in the retail sector here in the UK and in American. How did I meet Edward Wong and build a great professional relationship? On Twitter, of course!

Earlier this year I attended a long meeting with 2 of the top directors of one of Sainsbury’s main competitors and it was during that meeting that I explained the real benefits of using social media to boost their somewhat traditional profile.

The directors proudly informed me that the company had a turnover in excess of £300,000,000 and they both seemed very keen to jump on the social media bandwagon as soon as possible. Very keen that is, until I explained that to use social media well and really benefit from it, more than 1 person would be needed to develop and maintain a significant a campaign successfully.

Sainsbury's tops at social media 2011

Sainsbury's a winner this Christmas!

I went on to explain the benefits of a quality LinkedIn profile, a WordPress blog, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Triberr, Twylah, Tumblr, Buffer, etc, etc and at that point the directors looked a little overwhelmed. Fortunately, they were honest enough to tell me that they had little or no real idea about social media and explained that they only wanted to use Twitter and Facebook for their campaign. “We don’t want to rush into social media,” they said, “The board might not like it”.

The company in question has managed to develop a new website, however, the only social media connection they currently have (that I could see) is YouTube and that’s a big shame; a half hearted effort at adopting to social media will not produce great results.

Conversely, Sainsbury’s have totally embraced social media as opposed to just pecking it on the cheek and they’ve gained big time from their forward thinking.

Edward Wong’s graph highlights that quite recently Sainsbury’s were well ahead of the competition and Morrisons were last in the UK grocery retailers race to social media prominence. However, it must be said that since the graph was originally put together some of Sainsbury’s competitors have done well in their attempts to catch up and this shows us that some retailers do appreciate the importance of social media connectivity.

Sainsbury's a clear winner

Sainsbury's social media success

Being a social media ‘early adopter’ has significant advantages, but maintaining a quality social media profile does take planning and management, like any other marketing, social media marketing is ‘organic’ and needs to be nourished and nurtured.

The research for this report was conducted on the 4 most popular and largest social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube.

Twitter with well over 350,000,000, was assessed because of its potential use for mass communications to drive market presence and brand awareness.  Facebook with over 750,000,000 registered accounts has become the primary channel to drive customer loyalty, brand advocacy and customer engagement.

Everyone wonders why LinkedIn has become such an important channel; besides its customers, the next best brand advocate for any company is its employees and anyone who is anyone in business should be on LinkedIn!

Finally, YouTube with its reputation of spawning viral video pandemic is increasing in its importance as a social media channel replacing the traditional television commercial.

How does your company compare? How well do your social media profiles represent your company? Do you need help to be successful with social media in 2012?

It’s clear to see that half hearted efforts just won’t provide good results, it’s not just about having a good website or blog any more, it’s all about social media connectivity and maintaining a quality profile.

If you find this information interesting, please give it a Google + CLICK and also share it on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, or whichever social media platform you prefer.

If you want to get ahead with a social media call 01473 435308 or email and we’ll explain just how cost effective a blog can be and exactly how to develop a quality social media campaign.

Select and connect with MarketingM8

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About Peter

British born Peter L Masters has been a writer for many years and Cut Limbo is his first published novel. Back in the late 70's and early 80's he was the singer/songwriter for cult punk band Spasmodic Caress. The controversial "Hit the Dead" track was released by 4AD in 1980 and decades later re-released by US punk band The Spits. Subsequent tracks such as "Waiting" "SPG" and "Ambition" are now on YouTube. The inspiration for Cut Limbo comes from a combination of experiences gained whilst travelling and living in Europe and Asia, a love of the punk rock era and everything it stood for, and a passion for books and movies. Cut Limbo was originally written by Peter as a screenplay and inspired by classic movies such as Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Jackie Brown and Get Shorty. (A big thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Elmore Leonard) The story of what went on at Schipol airport, Amsterdam, just had to be told.
This entry was posted in Advertising, BLOGGING, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Google +, Inbound marketing, INTERNET MARKETING,, Klout, Klout score advisors, LinkedIn, LinkedIn advisors, MARKET RESEARCH, Marketing Mix, Permission marketing, Posterous, SOCIAL MEDIA, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Networking, Social Media Optimization, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twitter, Twitter tools, Video, Video design, Video marketing, Web 2.0 Marketing, WEBSITE DESIGN, Website Development, YouTube, YouTube marketing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Sainsbury’s, social media winners Christmas 2011.

  1. Great post, but ideally we would love to see more mention of customer service when discussing social media as it is one of the key possible application. The time will come :)

    • Peter says:

      Hello, good to see you here!

      I agree 100% that social media is the perfect platform for customers service and I believe that many companies are using Facebook as a great customer service base.

      I should add that if you are going to use social media for customer service, you need to use it well and act super fast when ‘difficult’ situations arise.

      Good to hear from you, very best regards Peter, aka Marketingm8

  2. Hi Peter, thanks for the great blog post on UK Grocers and Sainsbury’s!

    Also thanks for including my research! FYI, I update these Social Media Industry Scorecords & Maturity reports on a quarterly basis. UK Grocery Retail will be updated in Dec for the 2011-Q4 to capture the flurry of SM activity leading up to the Christmas holidays.

    It will be interesting to see who, how, and where these retailers stack up against each other leading into the busiest buying season of the year.

    Sainsbury’s gets it! ASDA & Tesco are trying to get it!!

    Waitrose, Co-op, and Morrison’s, well they have a lot of catching up to do or else they will be left in the dust as ‘laggards’ in the UK grocery industry!!! :D

    • Peter says:

      Hello Edward, good to see you back and thanks so much for the update!

      It was your research and one of our social media conversations that inspired the blog post!

      I’m looking forward to seeing the Q4 positioning, I did a little research of my own and Sainsbury’s competition are trying very hard to catch up. That’s you beauty of being an early adopter, gaining the lead!

      Great to hear from you Edward as always, keep up the great work!

      All the very best, Peter, aka Marketingm8

  3. It’s good to see a British company fully embracing a new and increasingly important area, I wish more would follow suit. I do wonder how Sainsbury’s are monitoring and assessing all this activity. Ultimately they will want to know their ROI, but measuring this in social is still up in the air. It has to be measured so you can balance engagement with return. 250,000 likes doesn’t really mean anything if they still aren’t shopping with you.

    • Peter says:

      Hello Neil,

      I agree 100% Neil, it is great to see Sainsbury’s doing so very well at social media! However, since Edward’s last report some of the competition are trying very hard to keep up. As I said in response to an earlier post, that’s why being an early adopters is so important. All they have to do now is work hard and maintain that lead by developing their existing platforms and adding new ones.

      If I were Sainsbury’s right now I’d strengthen my existing platforms, involve my clients base more and add a couple of popular complimentary platforms. I’ll let you guess at what they may be!

      One thing I must mention is that they’ve done a great job with their Christmas videos this year! I love the pantomime idea, simple but great!!

      I do agree Neil and ROI is crucial, but when you’re as big as Sainsbury’s your branding cost are probably sky high anyway, it’s just a matter of having the courage to divert traditional advertising expenditure to social media. There are lots of ways to get the customer base involved and that’s Sainsbury’s next step I imagine.

      Great to hear from you, thanks for your comments, all the very best, Peter, aka MarketingM8

  4. Peter, This is very interesting stuff! I’m convinced that Sainsbury’s definitely gets it. Has Edward done similar analysis on US grocers? I think @WholeFoods would probably be the winner over here as they seem to ‘get it’, too. They’re active on Twitter and have a popular FB page, I believe. I’ve read they could do more to promote social in their stores, though. How does Sainsbury’s do on in-store promotion of their social presences?

    • Hi Michael, yes I have a 2011-Q3 SM industry report that shows Wal-mart, Kroger, and Costco. In my 2011-Q4 report, I can include Whole Foods to see how they map against their industry peer group for social media.

      Also for the 2011-Q4 update, I will consolidate UK, USA, and Canadian grocery retailers as a larger peer population.

      Peter, please feel free to send Michael my email addy. Did not want to post it here as it may not be proper etiquette!

      • Peter says:

        Hello Edward,

        I finally get to catch up on my blog correspondence!

        I added your new Twitter handle to Michael’s comments in case he wants to communicate with you!

        Sainsbury’s connected with me on Flickr which is great and I mentioned that Empire Avenue is a good place to be if you use like Nokia and not like BMW! I added links to my articles so they can see what the story really is! As I’m still the most expensive business stock price in the UK on Empire Avenue, they might even ask my advice on the subject, I hope so.

        I looked at some of Sainsbury’s videos on YouTube today and they’re doing so well!!

        I’ll speak to you soon, have you tried Kred yet? I got on yesterday and I’m still checking it out!

        All the very best Edward, regards Peter, aka MarketingM8

    • Peter says:

      Hello Michael,

      I’mm loving answering all my comments today, lots of thought provoking comments and that’s all good!

      You question about in-store promotion of social presence leads on from the last comments from Neil Grainger, I like the way you guys think! Inspiration!

      As I said to Neil, my next move would be combing my obvious social media success with my customer base, both online and in store! I do shop at Sainsbury’s as their meat selection is well priced and great quality but I haven’t seen a lot of social media references in store to be honest. That’s where they need to build a stronger visibility and perhaps involve their popular ‘Nectar points’ system.

      Thanks for your time Michael, all the very best Peter, aka MarketingM8 (Here’s Edward from Base 22 on Twitter if you’d like to communicate with him. He’s a very smart guy and likable too!!/edwardMBA )

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