Retail brands are loved on social media, owing to their famous clothing and accessories collections. However they have a reputation of being highly product-centric on Facebook and Twitter.
Nothing can be as wrong as purely promoting products on social media sites. As if hoardings and print advertisements were not enough, brands have stuffed their social media accounts with ‘product only’ content. In this article, I will chalk out the difference between product only and product oriented content; the latter being a better strategy.
I have based my study on the following 10 retail brands for the period beginning 1st November 2013 to 5th February 2014.
- Van Huesen
- Louis Philippe
- Flying Machine
- Jack & Jones
- Basics Life
- Vero Moda
- Peter England
- Allen Solly
Retail brands have a good fan following on Facebook as compared to other sectors. 50% of the brands are above the 1 million mark. Fastrack, however, is a long chase at 8 million+ fans, which is an excellent number for Indian brands and still maintaining a healthy growth rate of 6%.
Vero Moda, on the other hand, has the lowest number of fans, with a little over 2 lakhs, but with the highest growth at 34%.
It is interesting to note that most brands above the 1 million mark have a growth rate of less than 10% while most of the brands which are below the 1 million mark have a growth rate of above 15%.
Since Vero Moda has the highest growth rate, I dug a little deeper to uncover some insights. During the last week of November 2013, the brand’s growth was at its peak and fell after the 1st week of December. It rose again during the 1st week of January 2014, taking a major dip in the week after that. There has been a fall and a rise in the last 2 months. This could be due to a campaign or activity which we will track in the content section.
Fastrack has the highest number of followers, which is 56K+. It is far ahead of all the other brands which are like tortoises in comparison with less than 10K followers.
Allen Solly, which has an staggering growth rate of 367% for the time period analysed, might soon catch up with Fastrack, considering the latter has only 8% growth rate.
Flying Machine has the lowest number of followers (778) but is growing at a rate of 9.5%.
Note: Basics Life has a Twitter handle with 0 tweets and thus we have not included them in our study.
As a % of followers, @VanHeusenInd follows people the most among all the 9 brands in the Retail Sector.
Louis Philippe posts the most updates among the 10 retail brands. LP has posted 286 updates which, on an average, is 3 posts a day. This is followed by Vero Moda, Jack & Jones and Allen Solly, which post at least 2 updates a day on an average.
Basics Life posted the least number of times (75) which means the brand skipped posting on certain days like the weekend.
According to the Unmetric Insight module, 5,335 new posts were written across these 10 ‘brand walls’. That’s an average of 5.4 posts per day, per wall.
Campaigns and Performances
While #CrossStyling got the most number of likes, #Naughtees had a wider audience reach. #Naughtees scored the highest engagement score (249 out of 1,000) with only 2 posts while the rest scored below 150 with an average of 10 posts.
#Naughtees received an average of over 7K+ likes, 189 shares and 81 comments per post. The graphs below breaks down the number of interactions that each campaign achieved and the average number of interactions per post.
Basics Life uses this space to make festive greetings too, with specially designed images that sport brand colors.
Using hash-tags the right way
Some of the most popular ways of using hash-tags are innovative. Each brand has its own style. Fastrack tops the list when it comes to the usage of quirky hash-tags. Be it a product launch or a contest, Fastrack makes sure it has catchy hash-tags in its status.
For instance, the brand launched bike helmets and ran a campaign #GetHard. Now this is bold, fun and exactly what the youth connects with on social media. It integrated Instagram and used Facebook to promote it.
Jack & Jones conducted a preview of its collection where it invited top bloggers to the store and promoted the event using the hash-tag #SSPreview14. This is a nice way to conduct an influencer activity.
Relevant v/s Irrelavant Content
Some brands run out of topics to talk about and hence try to spice up their content with topics which are fun to read but otherwise irrelevant for the brand.
Allen Solly has some posts which comes across as being out of sync from the overall content. It has posted some travel content in an attempt to get some interaction.
However, on Twitter, the brand has some very nice tweets which are also very relevant.
Showcasing accolades is also a good thing since fans look forward to news about their favourite brand. Also, it is a great branding activity. Peter England got huge interaction figures on such a post update.
While most brands present their products in an unattractive fashion, some posts simply deserve all the attention. Louis Philippe posted an update about belts which received good interaction as compared to its other updates which suggests that it could have been a promoted post.
On Republic Day, Van Heusen came up with a simple, straight forward update.
Flying Machine did a series of fun posts with a campaign called #NewCool. One of these images was that of its brand ambassador Virat Kohli and the classy crisp content, with the image, has done very well in terms of engagement.
Basics Life has some well-designed post updates too and each one of them receives good interaction.
Conversations on Twitter
Interacting with fans on Twitter should be the focal point for brands. Some brands are doing this beautifully. Louis Philippe makes it a point to track conversations even when not tagged. Such interaction takes the brand reputation places.
Allen Solly encourages conversation by posting open ended questions. Usually when a user praises a brand, the brand makes an effort to thank him/her. However, Allen Solly has also taken this forward by asking the user what they like about the product, trying to extend the conversation.
On the other hand, Jack & Jones moves the conversation off social media.
Events and Brand Associations
Some brands have bought a social angle to their offline events. Social Media is a great place to promote your events in, with a contest or an activity. Van Heusen was the Style Partner for Supersonics but did not do much beyond a single post and a tweet about the event. The brand could have been creative instead, by showcasing some activities on Twitter.
Social media is a great place to talk about events since nothing is as social as events.
Louis Philippe did this by posting a picture of Anirban Lahiri, who is a well-known personality when it comes to golf. This was a golfing event supported by the brand.
Vero Moda, who participated at The Sula Fest, updated a nice string of posts and tweets. They shared videos and photos and even created a #VEROMODAatSulaFest14.
They also ran an Instagram contest. Other retail brands must follow suit.
Lastly, the campaign even roped in a blogger for the event.
Another event by Woodland became popular on Twitter. It was called #DriveTheDunes, which was an adventure trip to Rajasthan. The winners were selected on Twitter and their journey was documented and live tweeted too. Influencers like City Ninjas were roped in.
Some brands have made good use of applications. However, many applications do not guarantee a lot of monthly users. Flying Machine has the least number of applications (3), yet it has the highest number of monthly users (over 6K+). Vero Moda, on the other hand, has the highest number of applications (14) but has a negligible number of users.
Flying Machine launched a contest which was simple yet effective. Selfies were uploaded on Facebook or Instagram.
Flying Machine promoted it on its Twitter account too.
Retail Brands are product oriented and this is clearly not helping increase engagement among fans. Vero Moda has the highest PTAT score of only 3.4% but most brands fall in the range of 1-2%, which is average but still on the lower side.
This score might also vary from time to time, considering the high engagement during a campaign as opposed to negligible scores at other times.
The PTAT score is something that is not well understood by many Facebook users and often they use it to measure engagement. However, since the score takes in to account a whole host of different interactions, it’s not a good indication of engagement.
From the chart below Basic Life has the highest engagement score (311), followed by Fastrack (134). While high engagement on a page does not guarantee growth, it is definitely one of the major factors for attracting a high organic growth. Flying Machine (21) scored the lowest.
Note: Engagement is based on weighted averages of the responses to posts expressed as a percentage of the estimated number of impressions delivered. Responses are calculated by a weighted summation of the number of likes, the number of comments and the number of shares of the particular post.
The above post was the second highest engaging post among all brands in the retail sector. It received a total of 8K+ likes, 231 comments and 108 shares. Not only was the post celebrity-oriented (I wonder if they got Beckham’s image rights?!) but it also had a contest associated with it. It had an engagement score of 790.
Allen Solly posted a contest related post which received an engagement score of 834, highest within 10 brands, and among a total of 1,785 posts. This also was different in terms of Facebook Only Offer for fans.
This brings us to another very important factor to measure engagement, which is the average number of likes, comments and shares per post. This is particularly important because it’s a basic measurement of what kind of updates your audience enjoys and is willing to interact with.
Fastrack, which was leading in terms of fan following, also has the highest number of likes, comments and shares per post. On an average, the brand receives 3K+ likes, 42 comments and 91 shares per post.
Basics Life also receives, on an average, over 2K+ likes, 25 comments and 34 shares per post. Apart from these 2 brands, per post engagement of retail brands is miniscule and must awaken the respective brand managers to take corrective actions.
On Twitter, Louis Philippe engaged best with fans during the study period. The brand had 1,445 tweets, out of which 483 were proactive tweets (tweets that are not replies or retweets). It also had the highest engagement score of 777.
Fastrack might not have been the best engaged brand on Twitter but it received the maximum number of re-tweets (2), favourites (3) and replies (1) on an average, per tweet thanks to its much larger follower base. Louis Philippe and Peter England saw just 1 re-tweet and reply each, per tweet.
In terms of mentions, Louis Philippe was mentioned the most on Twitter, with a total of 4,895 mentions, followed by Fastrack, with a mention of 4,094.
Almost all other brands were mentioned less than 2,000 times, the least mentioned being Flying Machine, with only 21 mentions.
Customer service within the Retail sector might not be as important as that within Telecom or Insurance brands. However, customer service is always an important part of social media and is present within these 10 brands to varying degrees. Mere promotion of products does not help if the brand is not interested in interacting with the users.
Fastrack and Jack & Jones hardly respond to user postings.
Woodland and Peter England have responded to a little over 2% posts on Facebook and have taken an average time of 10-15 hours to reply. Though Flying Machine has the best average response time, which is 9 hours it counts for little since the brand has only responded to just over 5% of posts.
Louis Philippe has responded to 50% of the posts at an average response time of 16 hours which suggests that they are having to get approvals for each response or are not replying over the weekend.
Twitter has lately earned the reputation of being a leading social media platform when it comes to customer service. Many users have started looking up to Twitter as a problem-solving medium.
Woodland takes the longest time to respond, with an ART of 220 minutes and Peter England has the fastest ART of 8 minutes. 10 out of 15 replies by Peter England were reported to have been given under 15 minutes. Followed by Louis Philippe, 139 replies out of 239 were given under 15 minutes, which is commendable.
However, replying to tweets is not the only measurement metric. While some brands have only 20 tweets to reply to, others might have over 200. Therefore, it is important to look at the response rate as well.
Allen Solly has the best response rate of 41.13% while Peter England, as mentioned above, has the best average reply time of 3 minutes. Apart from Van Heusen, which has a response rate of 20%, all the other brands are below 10%.
Retail Brands talk about offers, products and sales. Thus, there is hardly any scope of negative sentiments on their pages. Both on Facebook and Twitter, the sentiment is positive. Basics Life however, has the most negative sentiment on Facebook while Flying Machine has the most positive net sentiment.
On Twitter, Woodland had the most positive net sentiment while Fastrack had the most negative sentiment. This is calculated based on the type of tweets the brand replies to rather than all the mentions of the brand.
Overall, most brands have found their place on social media and most of them are doing a good job. The campaigns have innovative twists and various live tweeting activities on Twitter which deserve appreciation. However, some brands could do with exclusive content on Twitter and improve their customer service support.
Analytics support courtesy: Unmetric