Aldi, John Lewis and Harrods are the retail stars of social media, study shows

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Aldi: top social media performer

Aldi: top social media performer

Aldi, John Lewis and Harrods would be the most successful supermarket, high street and luxury brand respectively if performance was based on social media effectiveness according to research from online advertising specialist RadiumOne.

It gave retail brands rankings based on their social performance which were calculated by looking at the amount of digitally shared content about each business on popular websites, combined with how effectively each retailer has been interacting with its social media fans in the 30 days to 17 September 2013.

Supermarket brands

Aldi was the surprise social supermarket winner. In addition to seeing the second most relevant digitally shared content, Aldi received an impressive 910,426 mentions with a relatively small Twitter following of 31,238. Its active posting on Facebook paid dividends too, with the supermarket gaining the most user comments and the second most likes. Marks & Spencer had the largest combined social following and performed well, coming in fifth for digitally shared content and taking fourth spot overall. It was just pipped to third by Tesco which enjoyed the highest amount of digitally shared content in the supermarket sector. Additionally, Tesco posted less often but received almost 2,000 more comments than Marks & Spencer on Facebook alone and also enjoyed great engagement on Twitter, gaining 334,406 Twitter mentions from just 91,676 followers. Meanwhile Marks & Spencer managed 58,613 mentions with a Twitter following of 246,511. Morrisons, which came in second, was an unsung hero gaining the third most comments from the sixth biggest Facebook following and received almost as many mentions on Twitter as it had fans.

High street brands

Social media followings are significantly larger for high street businesses, but John Lewis showed social media size isn’t everything. With the eighth largest social media following it took the lead position on the high street by engaging well across both Facebook and Twitter, receiving over 1,800 Facebook comments from just 54 posts. It also received the third highest level of interaction from its Twitter fans and, significantly, saw the third most content shared digitally by web users. Zara and H&M have colossal followings with 19.2m and 16m respectively on Facebook but only attracted between 800 and 850 comments each, with Zara posting just four times in the 30 days to 17 September. Zara did find redemption in its use of Twitter, getting the most mentions and highest follower engagement despite having the fourth largest Twitter following. However neither broke the top three for digitally shared content lead by Top Shop and Asos, with H&M taking tenth place and Zara fifth.

Luxury brands

Luxury brands also had significant social followings, with Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci enjoying combined Twitter and Facebook followings of around 16m, 15m and 12m respectively but Harrods, with a combined following of 718,487, was the surprise social media leader. It attracted over 10m likes from just 435,917 Facebook fans, the strength of its engagement firmly propelling it to the top of the luxury retail table despite having among the least digitally shared content. Louis Vuitton and Dior effectively used their size to attract comments, leading the way with 8,879 and 6,014 Facebook comments respectively while Gucci slipped behind Harrods, Chanel and Hugo Boss. Gucci made up for its performance on Facebook by getting close to 1.5m mentions on Twitter from a substantial following of 852,709 and seeing the third most relevant content shared digitally. Chanel was especially successful at engaging its smaller audiences across all platforms, seeing the most content shared digitally across the web and on Twitter where it received 575,514 mentions with just 258,312 fans.

Abeed Janmohamed, commercial director Europe, RadiumOne, said: “The league tables show us the best performing retailers are those who frequently engage with their owned social audience as well as focusing on their content strategy across the web. In the past couple of years, size on social often seemed like everything and companies placed a huge focus on vanity metrics, collecting as many followers as possible. In reality taking a qualitative approach is the most effective way for brands to relate to their audiences rather than taking part in a simple popularity contest. This shows that retailers who have spent a long time working on their own personal brand and the way they interact with the general public, both on social media or across the open web, are best placed to engage passionate consumers online.”