Bord Bia is advising Irish brand owners who are active on social media to track their own performance to ensure continued relevance and engagement with their target group.

Liam MacHale, Milan Office Manager for Bord Bia said that according to the Czech-based agency Socialbakers, which analyses brand activity across social media networks, Lidl is rated number one in the food sector in

Europe and number two globally after just three years on Facebook, placing it ahead of Carrefour and Tesco in activity on the Facebook network.

He said the digital revolution in Lidl began in 2011, and the retailer now has 26 Facebook pages across its markets in Europe. Lidl has the greatest number of digital interactions with customers, responding to the greatest number of messages while also using the platform for corporate communications. Last year, for example, Lidl offered its Belgian Facebook fans the chance to create cupcakes to be added to its assortment.

Lidl has 10.2m ‘likes’ globally–with 813,000 fans based in Italy–a figure increasing currently by 60,000 per month, while they are physically present in a total of 16,000 stores in 22 countries (with 560 stores in Italy).

MacHale noted that in Italy, Food Explorers have been identified as a consumer group who are highly active in the digital communication channel, with 67% active on social media channels alone.

He said Lidl’s websites are very comprehensive and regularly updated and their activity is an important point of differentiation for the retail sector, as social networks are often associated more closely with fashion and luxury brands. Gartner estimate that 50% of all internet sales globally will take place via social media by 2015.