Social Media Strategy Review: Consumer Electronics Sector

Being a tech freak, I have closely followed the growth of the consumer electronic sector in the digital space. I have been witness to Samsung’s meteoric rise in the last couple of years while seeing Dell become efficient in customer service (but obsolete in product?). I will still hold out hope that one day I’ll be able to follow Apple on Twitter.

These electronic brands have readily adopted the latest social media practices and haven’t shied away from executing out of the box campaigns.

The last few months saw Samsung coming up with an interesting Incredible Art campaign to promote it’s Galaxy Note 2 smartphone while Dell did a good job with its ‘I Can Do Kuch Bhi’ contest on Twitter.

In order to evaluate how the consumer electronics sector is faring on social media, I chose the following 10 brands and studied their social media activities for 30 days, from 16th May to 14th June:

  1. Samsung
  2. Sony
  3. HP
  4. Dell
  5. Acer
  6. Lenovo
  7. LG
  8. Godrej Appliances
  9. Panasonic
  10. Philips

A mix of several factors, such as: community size, activity level on social media, prominence amongst the consumer base, media mentions etc. were the reason why the above brands were chosen.

Community Building

Like other sectors, Facebook is the preferred channel for these consumer electronics brands as well. Most of them have a community with more than a million fans. Samsung is miles ahead of everyone here as it boasts ~3.5 million Likes, which is not surprising considering how it has become a dominant player after the success of its Galaxy range of smartphones.

Consumer electronics Sector Facebook Fans unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Following Samsung are popular brands like Panasonic (2.3m), LG (1.7m) , Sony (1.3m) and Dell (1.25m).

But Lenovo and HP are catching up pretty fast with both brands registering double digit growth at 19% and 12% respectively. I believe a good content strategy, coupled with some paid promotion across Facebook’s various advertising options, will definitely help them.

On Twitter, however, Samsung is playing the catch up game with LG (7,200 followers) , Sony (8,000 followers) and Dell (12,500 followers). It has close to 7,000 followers right now but registered a fantastic growth rate of 28%, which means it could shoot to 2nd spot within a few months.

In fact, I see that almost all the electronic brands ramping up their community building efforts on Twitter. With the exception of Dell, Lenovo, HP and Philips (whose Twitter profile couldn’t be verified), the rest have all registered more than 10% growth during the one month period.

The scenario on YouTube is not that encouraging though – not that we should be surprised given our past analysis of other sectors. None of the brands have managed to garner a decent subscriber base. I see several of them have lakhs of views but they haven’t managed to build a strong subscriber base out of them.

Content Strategy

While on one hand these big brands have managed to build strong communities around themselves, a lot more is still left to be done when it comes to their content strategy.

Almost all of them are in a self-promotional mode and that is why it doesn’t surprise me when I see most of these brands having an engagement score below 20!

Consumer electronics Sector Social Media engagement unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

As you can see, even though Samsung has the biggest community on Facebook, it has a very poor rate of engagement with its users. The graph below shows the Engagement Score benchmarks that brands need to be aiming for. In Asia, the average consumer electronics brand has an Engagement Score of 49, which pales in comparison to some heavyweight consumer electronic brands from the rest of the world.

Consumer electronics Sector Social Media engagement unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

How is Samsung India scoring so low when it comes to engagement? Well, it doesn’t help Samsung’s cause when it publishes updates like this:

Samsung India Facebook

What were they thinking? If you want to go down the generic content route to promote yourself, one could take a leaf out of Panasonic’s book on how to add a relevant byline:

Panasonic India Facebook

On top of this, since we are going through the cricket season, some of the brands are also trying to tap into the cricket mania. While we do appreciate cricket updates, these brands often have very little connection with the game and dilutes the brand. Yes, we all know that cricket updates engage well, but what does it say about the rest of the content strategy when the brands to resort to such tactics to increase engagement?

On Twitter it is the usual (and boring) ‘broadcast’ tweets and hashtag contests. Dell is one such brand which is doing a good job with customer service on Twitter. I can’t find anything that approaches interesting in the last 30 days for the other brands though.

Content strategy for YouTube? TVCs, TVCs and more TVCs. Sigh. I know the TRAI has cut down the number of minutes channels are allowed to show adverts for, but if I wanted to see TVCs, I’d be watching Star Plus.

Community Engagement

I wish I could say I am happy looking at the way these electronics brands are engaging with their respective community. There is so much they can do but, unfortunately, very little is being done to build one. Are the brands being as fickle about their Likes as the price sensitive consumers are to the brands?

If you are hardly managing to get 1,000 actions on your Facebook updates even when you have more than a million people liking your page, you are doing something really wrong. Even with Facebook’s brutal Edgerank algorithms, you should be reaching 10% of your fans organically.

Consumer electronics Sector Social Media engagement unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

As I said, Panasonic is doing a good job with generic content which has led to a healthy engagement from its community. On an average, a post gets 5,000 likes and 350+ shares. It is not only the most engaging brand, but it is also reaching out to a larger group of people thanks to all the ‘shares’ that its posts receive. Every share has the opportunity to amplify the brand message to hundreds of other people, making it one of the most important engagement metrics for social media managers to focus on.

A piece of advice for LG and Godrej: Please keep your page open for wall posts from your fans. Let them share their views on your wall, otherwise they will start commenting on your public updates.

Customer Service

As always, Twitter is the preferred customer service channel for these brands. I like the way how LG is responding to most of the queries directed towards it. They are willing to listen to people and lend a helping hand when required – it begs the question though: Why can’t they take this approach on Facebook?

I also like the way Dell is going about with its customer service activities. Their Twitter account has the picture of the person handling the queries. Even the tweets contain the initials of the person, thus personalizing the entire interaction. The replies are often well thought out and useful too, many companies jumping on Twitter customer support are putting out generic messages designed to send the customer in circles.

Consumer electronics Sector Twitter engagement unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Samsung is again a disappointment here. Wish it was more responsive to its audience.

A look at how quick (by measuring their average response time) these brands respond to their users will tell you that Panasonic (6 hours, 39 replies), Lenovo (11 hours, 20 replies) and HP (14 hours, 10 replies) are the fastest. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. They haven’t replied to as many mention as LG (25 hours, 129 replies) has.

Consumer electronics Sector Twitter average response time unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Coupled with a high number of replies, LG manages to respond to 60% of its 129 replies within a day, which suggests it only answers tweets during business hours, it could drastically reduce the ART if it had reps replying to tweets in the late evening too.

Nonetheless, the brands are doing a fairly good job at customer service on Twitter when compared to Facebook.

sony Facebook

Many brands are simply not that proactive in responding to complaints on their wall. This could be because the brand’s agency doesn’t have the authority to reply to customers or can’t offer any useful help. In certain cases it takes them more than a day to respond with a template comment, which ideally should have taken just a couple of minutes. Again, this suggests a delay between the agency requesting clarity on how to reply and authorization from the brand manager.

Sentiment

On Twitter, the sentiment has been evaluated by the sentiment of the tweets the brand has replied to. With 56 tweets out of 80 being positive in nature, it could be the case that Dell is clear winner of people’s love, or, they prefer to deal with the happy tweets rather than the negative ones

Consumer electronics Sector Twitter sentiments unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

Of course, given the stupendous service that Dell provides offline (speaking from my personal experience), it’s not a surprise for me to see such high positive sentiment towards the brand. Godrej and HP have also replied to more than 50% positivite tweets on Twitter, but I have less experience with these brands to say whether this is because people genuinely love the brand or whether they prefer to reply to positive tweets.

Even on Facebook, Dell seems to be the most loved brand. The chart below shows the sentiment of the fan posts on Dell’s wall (not the comments on the posts).

Consumer electronics Sector Facebook sentiments unmetric
Source: Unmetric – A Social Media Analytics Tool

But Samsung, Sony and Philips need to work harder to improve people’s perception about them. They can begin with improving product quality and being more proactive in listening to people.

Conclusion

Although I am pretty satisfied with the way electronics brands are using social media, I am not exactly happy.

They need to start becoming more conversational with people on Twitter. And it is surprising to see them ignore tech influencers altogether. They need to realize the value of influencers and how to connect better with people. TVCs can only do so much and that is why YouTube performance is suffering as a result.

They also need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a content strategy that is far more engaging than the current one.

Analytics Support: Unmetric

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