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Coles Cooks Up Flavorful Engagement on Social Media

Vikas Bysani

Period Analyzed: Sep 1st – Oct 31st 2013

A supermarket is a foodie’s dream come true: pastas, chocolates, wine, farm fresh produce and more, all organized on shelves and aisles with so many options, leaving the customer dizzy with choices. Supermarkets in Australia are constantly expanding and coming up with innovative ways to connect with the average shopper and show them the different ways their products can be used; cooking shows, recipes and gift ideas are just a few of their efforts.

Coles is a well-established chain of supermarkets in Australia with over 700 stores and close to 100,000 employees spread nationally which makes it one of the largest companies in the country. Its efforts on social media have come up on our radar as they were clever, interesting and most importantly, highly engaging amongst its communities across social networks.

Let’s take a look at their presence across various social media platforms.

Facebook

Coles saw a fan growth rate of 8.1% and added a massive 43,000 fans in the period analyzed, which is almost double the sector average of 4.2%. Woolworths, a brand from the same category, saw a growth rate of 5.1% and added only around 26,000 fans in the same period. Coles has been seeing consistently high fan growth rates since the beginning of the year and it reached a peak between May and July when it saw a colossal fan growth rate of 36.1%, far exceeding the sector average of 9.3%. The tie-up Coles had with Master Chef around the same period might have contributed to the fan growth. The 5th season of the much loved cooking show premiered around the first week of June 2013 and Coles featured prominently as the produce provider.

Content Strategy

Understanding the content strategy of brand is like understanding the personality of a person – what makes them tick, what makes them popular and what excites them. Unmetric tracks the content strategy of brands beyond basic metrics like comments, photos and videos so without further ado, let’s dive in. The table below shows the posting habits of Coles, along with the engagement score tied to it.

(A quick note about the Engagement Score: The Engagement Score is calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions that each post receives, thereby ranking each post according to the reach it receives.)

Coles frequently posts about recipe ideas, but saw the highest engagement on its engagement oriented posts. An example of an engagement oriented post would usually come with a certain number of call to actions for ex: “Hit ‘Like’ if you could devour this cup of strawberries and cream right now”. These kinds of posts are usually intended to increase the reach of the brand.

Posts

In the time period analyzed, Coles posted 120 updates on its Facebook wall which boils down to around 2-3 posts a day. When compared to Woolworths, which made 89 updates, Coles seems to be investing more time and effort in creating content and reaching out to its community.

Taking a look at the graph posted below, we can see that Coles posts the most on Wednesdays and sees the highest engagement on the same day as well. On Sundays, Coles posted only 8 times in the time period analyzed but received an average Engagement Score of 87, which is almost on par with the engagement Coles receives on Wednesdays. It would be a good idea for Coles to leverage the weekends by posting more updates than usual. Moreover, Woolworths also sees high amount of engagement on Sundays which suggests high weekend engagement is not unique to Coles.

Fans posted a total of 2,158 posts on Coles’ Facebook page during the time period analyzed, of which Coles replied to 75% of them. Delving deeper, it was found that it took Coles an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes to reply to a fan post, which is quite speedy when compared to Woolworths, which had an average reply time of 9 hours during the same period. An example of a fan post would usually be a query, complaint or a simple “thanks” to show appreciation towards helpful staff at a Coles supermarket.

Twitter

Coles saw a massive follower growth rate of 51% and added close to 5,100 new followers during the time period analyzed. Comparing the sector average of 13% and Target Australia’s fan growth rate of 24%, Coles has definitely outshone the competition. Taking a closer look at other metrics, we can infer that the colossal follower growth rate is related to the campaigns which Coles ran.

During the third quarter of the year, Coles averaged a follower growth rate of around 15%. However, in the second quarter, Coles saw an astounding growth rate of 81% during its tie-up with Master Chef Australia.

Hashtags

The #coles1d hashtag received so much attention and was the most used hashtag during the time period analyzed as it was used for a contest held by Coles. Participants were told to upload a picture to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook showing their love for the well-known boy band “One Direction” using the hashtag #coles1d. Winners would receive a one direction poster or a signed t-shirt.

The #coles1d hashtag was used 69 times by the brand and 2,064 times by the users. When looking at Coles’ tweets where the hashtag was used, it was found that the hashtag had an Engagement Score of 972 and was its most engaging hashtag during the time period analyzed. The engagement score of the hashtag is calculated by averaging the engagement score of all the tweets by Coles that contain a particular hashtag and takes in to account retweets, favorites and replies.

YouTube

Starting off with the basic stats, the Coles YouTube channel received close to 1.1million new views, 1,300 new subscribers and uploaded 31 videos in the two months analyzed. This is an average of one upload every two days. The uploaded videos mostly comprised of cooking videos and a few TVCs showcasing its products and car insurance services.

The video embedded below is the most watched video on the Coles YouTube channel. It has received close to 330,000 views till date and saw a views growth rate of 40%. The video is a TVC about “Little Red Quote” insurance offered by Coles. Judging by the sudden growth rate and the lack of many comments, it’s possible the video was promoted on YouTube as a featured video.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the perfect platform for grocery stores as it showcases appealing visual content with a particular focus on food. To that end, Coles has taken a commendable amount of effort on this platform, with over 30 boards covering various categories of food and containing high quality, professional photos.

Looking at the stats of Coles on Pinterest, Coles have close to 1,300 followers, 30 boards, 643 pins and 3,666 repins till date. Coles saw a follower growth rate of around 6 % which is lower than the sector average of 10%.
Compared to Target Australia which had a growth rate 3.5%, Coles has done better.

Conclusion

The Coles YouTube page appears to have a lot of effort put into it, with farm fresh content posted frequently and a mix of TVCs, Cooking tips and flashback ads always leaving the viewer entertained. Interesting tie ups with Master Chef, Curtis Stone and One Direction have proven to be beneficial not only to drive their engagement and increase fan numbers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but to also place themselves in the most important part of your home, your kitchen.

Methodology

Unmetric compiled the report by sourcing data from its own platform. The Engagement Score is calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions that each post receives. Data and Insights on Coles’ activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest were analyzed for the months of September and October, 2013.