This review is a part of our ‘Social Media Strategy Review’ series where we do a 360 degree analysis of a brand’s entire social media activity. You can read the reviews of more brands here.

Introduction:

Aircel is one of India’s leading pan India operators. It won 3G spectrum in 13 circles and BWA spectrum in 8 circles and has successfully launched 3G services which is the fastest 3G roll out ever in the Indian Telecom Space. Aircel has been constantly innovating products and services and is credited with making 3G affordable to masses by launching Pocket Internet Smart which offers best value 3G packs.

Aircel has positioned itself as a data led telecom player and has addressed the multi-functionality of a mobile phone in many innovative ways which are Industry firsts, be it the Aircel Pocket Internet, Pocket Internet Games and Facebook Voice Updates on Aircel.

Overall Strategy:

Aircel is leveraging its association with Chennai Super Kings, one of the most successful teams in IPL, in its over all marketing strategy. It has launched a unique plan with Chennai Super Kings named ‘Extra Talk Time with CSK’. With its full talk time of Rs 164, Aircel will offer extra talk time whenever CSK scores above 164 runs. For instance, in a match, if CSK scores 190 runs, the customers will get an extra talk time of Rs 26.

Aircel’s Social Media strategy too circles around its alliance with Chennai Super King and Dhoni.

Aircel social media keywords
Source: Simplify360 – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Platform-wise Strategy

Facebook:

Aircel has a Sizeable community of over 4.1 Million Fans on its Facebook page. At present, most of its updates are about IPL. The page engages its fans with exclusive CSK photos, regular updates about the team, useful pocket apps, etc. IPL alone keeps up the excitement, which is why the engagement level is high.

Aircel India Social Media engagement
Source: Simplify360 – A Social Media Analytics Tool
Aircel India Facebook engagement
Source: Simplify360 – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Social Presence of most of the telecom service providers usually falls prey to online negative criticism, customer complaints, etc. This makes them adopt Social Media in their CRM processes. I was surprised to see that Aircel neither allows fans to write on their wall, nor it has a customer service tab.

Despite not giving an outlet to customers’ complaints, these IPL updates have somehow managed to keep the page bustling with positive sentiments.

Aircel India facebook

Granting all this, I have a feeling it can improve upon its Facebook content. It can be much better than this.

Aircel India Twitter typo error

The Online recharge and Bill payment app is very convenient. It offers you the flexibility to recharge/ pay your bill from anywhere, there by saving your time and effort.

The app capitalizes on the Facebook traffic by giving all the required information about plans offers, services, handsets, etc. It is also linked to Aircel’s website.

Aircel India Facebook recharge

There is also a tab where you can share what gives you joy and win prizes!

Twitter:

Aircel has more than 19k followers on Twitter. It is leveraging Twitter effectively for real-time CRM and is good at it! They have been responding quickly

I could figure out from their tweets that they recently had an #AircelBlogUp in different cities.

Twitter Aircel Blogger meet #AircelBlogUp

Online Offline Integration:

They had a Blog Up at Delhi, Chennai and there was going to be one at Bangalore the last weekend. Reaching out to bloggers, influencers is a great idea to spread a positive word about the brand and its the best marketing it can get. I like it how Aircel has been integrating their online -offline marketing efforts, in sync with IPL.

Aircel Blogger meet

Aircel Blogger meet

YouTube:

I see some extra effort on Aircel’s youtube channel and it is paying off with 1085 subscribers and 38,15,781 video views. They have a video playlist on Youtube corresponding to their campaign  – “Joy of a little extra”. Exclusive YouTube videos feature Dhoni while he talks to his fans casually about his famous helicopter shot, the style that makes him the youth icon, how he prepares for big matches, his love for bikes, Dhoni the foodie, the athelete, the bowler,etc .

These videos have been greeted with a great response!

BLOG:

Aircel has teamed up with CSK to give its social users All Access to the Chennai Super Kings. 

Ashwath Ram a biotechnologist from Chennai has emerged as the winner for up to 54 day dream run with the Chennai Super Kings. 

Aircel had launched its exclusive contest – Aircel All Access that allowed users to submit their entries to claim their all access to CSK. Over 3500 entries were received on the microsite and social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter. Of these, 6 were finalised, based on the quality of their entries. A final on-ground audition was held in Chennai and a panel of judges including the CSK team manager picked out the winner.

Starting from April 3rd, ie, when the Indian Edition of T20 began, Ashwath shared insights all day long into the lives of the team via Twitter and Facebook. More than just a ball-by-ball commentary, this also give all the CSK fans a window to experience the life of the Super Kings!He has been blogging regularly and you can catch up on all the action here.

This is a very good idea to engage fans and turn them into loyalists. But I was bit disappointed on discovering that the blogs have not been promoted that well. As you can see, they have hardly been shared/ tweeted. I feel they are losing a lot of hits by not promoting the blog.

Aircel All Access to CSK blog

Aircel does have a Google plus presence but it is not updated.

Comparison with Competitor:

There is not much of a difference in the size of Idea and Aircel’s fan base, however, Aircel has a higher engagement rate.

aircel idea comparison social media
Source: Simplify360 – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Aircel Idea social media engagement comparison

Just like Aircel, Idea has been using Youtube effectively. Currently its over all strategy is marketing the reality show “Idea rocks India”.

I could see Idea infected with “No-conversational-Tweets” syndrome. It is only sending out tweets as if it were on a broadcast medium. Twitter could have been a great channel for CRM. Idea’s Google plus page is also not regularly updated.

However, there is a customer service tab on its Facebook page unlike Aircel. But it is sad that the Facebook page is muddled with negative sentiments, I feel they should do something about it before it enlarges with a snowball effect.

Idea Cellular Facebook page

Comments on Strategy:

Aircel’s overall Social Media strategy is admirable. I would like to credit them for their extra efforts in reaching to bloggers, influencers, catching them up offline and creating some good content for their Youtube channel. Aircel’s All Acess to CSK is also a great idea could have been optimized.

Feedback on Strategy:

Being a telecom service provider, I feel Aircel should have  real-time customer support on Facebook as well. Adopting Social CRM is the need of the hour.

Although there is some negativity surrounding Aircel on Twitter, its strategic tie up with Chennai Super Kings has been lucrative in overshadowing it with positive sentiments.

aircel online sentiments
Source: Simplify360 – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Expert View:

It is clear that Aircel has been proactive in its approach towards handling and managing social media. The association with IPL is natural due to their brand ambassador and their use of facebook as a pure marketing channel rather than CRM is also interesting. They do a quick and responsive job on twitter by answering customer queries.

The blogger engagement activities also showcases their commitment and seriousness towards the social medium. I feel though the next level for Aircel would be a social only campaign which does not draw from IPL. Now with IPL ending it will be interesting how Aircel switches its campaign on Facebook  To my mind Aircel needs to stand for something beyond just Dhoni and IPL. Much like Vodafone and Airtel have made their brand positioning very focused with Zoozoos and Har Friend zaroori. Aircel needs talking points on social and shareable content as well.

Expert View by Rajiv Dingra Founder & CEO of WATConsult – An Award Winning Social Media Agency.

Analytics support courtesy: Simplify360


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