Helping member pioneers and local causes get to grips with social

The Social team has been running online tutorials to help colleagues, new member pioneers and people from local causes use social media to create a community.

You can join our tutorial about Facebook communities on Thursday 6 July from 5pm.

Working together

Part of a member pioneer’s role is to get people talking about what matters most in their local community through meetings and events, and to encourage people to volunteer and co-operate on worthwhile causes.

My role as part of the Social Media team has some similarities. Our team’s purpose is to spread the word and encourage people to engage with their Co-op, but we do it online rather than down the local community centre. It made sense that our team shared some of our online community management skills with the new member pioneers. We wanted to help them promote their work and talk about what being a co-operative means in a wider sense.

Figuring out how we could help

The Social Media team met our member pioneers at their induction day to get a feel for how we could help them. We wanted to speak to them to find out their level of knowledge around social media before we spent time and money on designing training materials we thought they might need.

Photograph of a table with post it notes with notes from member pioneers written on them. Notes include: 'when to use @ handles' 'can we use co-op in the account name' and 'what can we use asset wise on social?'

The things they wanted to know more about were:

  • which social channel is the right one for them or their cause
  • how to set up a new Twitter account
  • how to find people in their community on Twitter and who to follow
  • what ‘trending’ means
  • what type of thing they should tweet
  • what a hashtag is and how to use one
  • how to get started with local PR

Live broadcast tutorials

When we knew where member pioneers needed support, we could put together tutorials to help. We’ve been hosting them on YouTube Live then making them available on YouTube for anyone who missed out.

We broadcast our first tutorial ‘Getting started on Twitter’ a few weeks ago and welcomed around 30 live viewers including colleagues, member pioneers and people from local causes. People could ask us questions in the live chat as we were going along and we’ve had over 400 views of the recording too.

Our second stream was about ‘Creating content to share with your community’. In it, our social media content planning manager, Cat Storey, talked about what makes good content and how to present it.

You can watch these videos on our YouTube playlist and give us feedback to help us improve.

Join our social community of practice

We’d like to keep the conversation about effective ways to engage with people going. We listened to member pioneers and set up a Facebook group where we can chat and share advice and ideas. If you’re a member pioneer or work closely with one of our local causes, join our social community on Facebook. Hear from you soon.

Scott Bennett
Social media community manager

Join our tutorial about Facebook communities on Thursday 6 July from 5pm.

Surprising and Delighting Colleagues with #TasteAndTell Christmas Advent

Over the past four months we have been encouraging conversations among our social communities and in particular, with our Food store and depot colleagues through the #TasteAndTell campaign. Since launch, many of our colleagues have embraced social media and have advocated our products publicly, with pride.

As ’tis the season to be jolly, we decided to send an additional surprise Taste And Tell box to colleagues who had really embraced the Taste And Tell campaign over the past four months. We kicked off our Advent Taste and Tell on the 1st December and over the 25 days of advent, sent out 10 festive boxes to 10 different stores each day, that’s 250 Christmas surprises sent out to Food stores!

Advent Boxes

We packed the festive red boxes, each with a gold number on the front for the 25 days of advent, with Loved By Us Chocolate Santas, Loved By Us Chocolate Coins, Loved By Us Fruit Jellies and our Truly Irresistible Chocolate Truffles, (which are definitely my favourite!) To accompany our festive red boxes, we also hand wrote Christmas cards with a little thank you for chatting to us this year on social media, asking colleagues to let us know what they think of their surprise, and to share it amongst the team.

We notified our colleagues on Facebook that 250 surprise Advent boxes would be on their way to 250 lucky stores – which helped spark some excitement and helped contribute to 58% of the overall #tasteandtell campaign conversation for the month of December.

Over advent we’ve saw some fantastic snaps from our colleagues, who definitely got into the festive spirit in-store. It’s important to us to get our store colleagues chatting about the products we sell, as this helps improve our customers’ shopping experience. Our colleagues are able to genuinely recommend products that they’ve tasted, and speak about products with more confidence.

Christmas Advent 1


Scott Bennett – Social Media Community Manager – @Scott_Bennett1

#TasteAndTell and Colleague Advocacy on Social Media

I’m Scott, a Community Manager at the Co-op, and I’ve been working on #TasteAndTell at The Co-operative Food for the last few months, encouraging conversation among our social communities.

We’ve been encouraging our colleagues to become brand advocates on social and to talk openly on their own social channels about the products we sell in our Food stores. #TasteAndTell is one of the ways we do this. The Food business launched the programme to all stores and depots last September and since then we’ve had conversations with colleagues about four products: Loved By Us Sweet and Salty Popcorn, Loved By Us New York Vanilla Cheesecake, Loved By Us Halloween Pumpkin Cake and Truly Irresistible Fairtrade Chocolate.

Every Food store and depot is sent enough of each product for the whole team to try and are encouraged to review the product by posting #Telfie’s (like a selfie, but better!) to their social networks. We capture feedback via surveys too, to feedback into the product development process.

#tasteandtell conversation volume
Social conversation volume spikes around #TasteAndTell product drops

By encouraging colleagues to get talking on social, we’ve seen colleagues more confident about speaking to customers in the aisles too bolstered with more knowledge about, and more experience of, the products we sell. It’s not just talk either with incremental sales on #TasteAndTell lines increasing for both colleague and non-colleague consumers, the colleague advocacy programme is achieving great results for the business.