In this article we will review the social media strategy and activities of leading Indian Mobile brands.
We will review them on the basis of their existing activities, their community strengths, both in terms of quantity and quality, and their standing in comparison to their peers. We will try and understand what has been working for them, which brand has been doing exceptional work, and which one needs a little encouragement.
Through this piece, as an industry, we will also try and learn what brands can do on social media in order to derive real business value, especially the mobile brands.
We will be taking into consideration the following brands:
- BlackBerry (India)
- HTC India
- Huawei India
- Karbonn Smart
- MAXX Mobile
- Micromax Mobile
- Nokia India
- Samsung Mobile India
- Sony Mobile In
- Spice Mobile
As expected, multinational mobile companies enjoy the largest fan following on Facebook. Not only have these brands established a presence in the Indian market for many years, they also possess strong marketing muscles.
Nokia has the biggest community around itself, and this is hardly surprising, considering that until recently it was the phone for the masses, but Samsung has been trying to catch up to it. However, Spice Mobiles seems to have realized (a little too late) the importance of community building and has become aggressive when it comes to acquiring fans. It grew by more than 50% in the period studied thanks to an ad campaign from August 18th to 31st; but since then, there has been a decline in the size and the brand lost out on close to 2,000 fans after it stopped acquiring more.
This decline can probably be attributed to their Facebook updates. Problems include huge time gaps between updates, redundant content, their images are all of the size of a cover photo, which means that only partial images will show up on users’ timelines, the same color scheme being used in all their images, which would mean one wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the pictures, even if one pays attention, let alone engaging with it in a fraction of a second on their personal news feed.
Nokia is ahead of the rest of the pack on Twitter as well. And not only does it have the biggest following, it is growing at a faster pace as well. But I doubt that we can attribute this to their content or engagement, since it isn't impressive enough to make heads turn. They do seem to be running hashtag contests on and off, but again, nothing impressive. Sony and MicroMax are also trying to increase their community and are growing at a rate of ~17% each, but are nowhere close to Nokia.
However, Spice Mobiles doesn't seem to have any intention of growing on Twitter, while attempts are very strong on Facebook. Perhaps, it doesn’t see Twitter fitting into its current social media strategy; Sony Xperia, however, increased its follower size by more than 17% from 22nd August onwards after it kickstarted its “Go BIG on Entertainment” contest to promote the Xperia Z.
With all these brands having smartphones as one of their products, it seems a little disappointing to see such half-hearted attempt to interact or engage with the Twitterati. Twitter users are highly influential both online and offline. Your geeks, your early adopters, your “influencers” are on Twitter. If we ignore the number of followers for once, the brands are hardly interacting or building relationships with these influencers on a daily basis.
If you are a mobile brand and are reading this, you should probably look up your international counterparts, who are engaging and building their community base on a very different level.
Content-wise, every single brand is almost the same: self-promotional. Honestly, there are no standouts here at all. It seems as if everyone is trying to copy each other. If you are Nokia and want to poach into Samsung’s customer base, you sure as hell need to have a content strategy that is different and at the same time interesting. Alas! That is not the case though.
Be it the creatives or the voice, every single brand is similar. In fact, I didn't find any brand with a unique personality of its own. Except for the difference in the brand colors, there was no other difference that I could spot.
These companies need to realize that “content strategy” means more than just creative images. Where is the storytelling? Why can't you bring forth your brand’s philosophy without shoving your latest 5-inch phablet onto my face? How will you make me your loyal fan?
When it comes to this, HTC is doing marginally better as it is trying to engage its users in its “Here’s To Change” campaign. The campaign is spread across many days which is something that you don't usually see these days.
Also, kudos to Karbonn Smart for dabbling with helpful updates and fun jokes, but they need to bring in some designers with sound technical knowhow. Your content must be ably supported by visually pleasing imagery, and Karbonn Smart's visuals look like they got an intern to design in in MS Paint.
With the overall marketing budgets that mobile companies have, it’s a shame to see how little they are investing in content creation for their socially active audience.
On Twitter, the content is divided between Customer Service tweets, self-promotional updates and contests. Nokia is clearly leading everyone on Twitter with its hashtag contests and super-charged activity.
Some Important Suggestions:
So I datamined quite a bit within Unmetric, and found two nuggets of info that I would suggest to these brands to adopt:
1. The best time to post on Facebook is during the weekends. At the moment, most of the content is shared by the brands during weekdays. Creating content for weekends (especially Sunday) will help them a great deal.
2. Along with updating Facebook on weekends, the brands should also start publishing them between 6 AM to 9 AM and 9 PM to 12 PM. Unmetric shows that these time periods elicit more response from the audience. These times also correlate to the morning commute and perhaps sitting in front of the TV in the evening.
One look at their Unmetric Engagement Scores and you can see why they badly need to revisit their content strategy. The biggest form of interactions are in the form of likes.
Most of these brands have an enviable following, but still fail to attract a crowd that indulges in conversations with them. A brand like Nokia, which boasts of almost 9 million fans, can only manage to get a few hundred comments on a post.
In comparison, the brands in the F&B sector score much better.
What should one expect when the majority of the content is talking about the product, that too in a typical offline print ad format? Too many headlines, too much text, and call to action style images for my liking.
They are also finding it difficult to entice people with their apps. Nokia again leads everyone with more than 80, 000 monthly average users for its apps.
Even on Twitter, the scenario is bleak. Most of the engagement is in the form of customer service. But when your content strategy is focused more towards immediate sales, how can you grow a loyal community which engages with you, turns into your loyalist and then the final stage of any positive consumer relationship-become your evangelist?
I cannot figure out why brands are hyperactive with customer service on Twitter, but so lax on Facebook? Is it because things tend to get viral on Twitter?
In that case, I would seriously doubt the brand’s approach towards customer satisfaction.
In the chart above, you can see that the brands not only respond to a very small part of the posts on their walls (which are mostly customer complaints/queries), they also take ages to respond to them.
Now compare this to their activity on Twitter. Almost every tweet is responded to, and that too at the earliest. You can clearly see that Samsung takes less than 10 hours (on average) to respond to people on Twitter, but takes more than a day to address issues on Facebook.
Why such a disparity? Does that imply these brands address customer issues only so that they don’t flare up and not because they really care about the customers? Do different agencies handle the Twitter and Facebook accounts for these brands?
A good idea will be to have a consistent customer support process that will be applicable across all brand’s social properties.
On Facebook, Micromax seems to get the maximum share of negative posts, closely followed by Karbonn, while HTC and Samsung get a fair number of negative posts on their walls.
But as we just discussed, they don't seem too keen to solve these issues on Facebook. As for positivity, Nokia and HTC are loved the most by their fans. This is probably because they actually have loyal users offline, so it doesn't seem like they have taken any extra effort to build a positive undercurrent of conversations on social media. Each one of them would need to stretch themselves and deliver some stronger value proposition to their followers.
Over on Twitter, Samsung and Blackberry tend to reply mostly to their positive mentions. This explains why the sentiment in their cases is mostly positive and that of Sony and Nokia is negative. Unmetric measures sentiments based only on the mentions the brand replies to.
I am very pleased with the way these brands have built their community, and I am sure they must have spent a lot of time, effort and money in building it.
The next step for them should be to invest in creating good content. And I feel like one of them will, for sure (My bet is on Nokia, what about you?), come up with an equivalent of Oreo/Daily Milk for their sector.
Till that happens, we’ll have to bear all the updates pimping the tech specifications and features of their latest model.
Analytics Support: Unmetric