Himalaya Herbals, the global herbal care company went live on Facebook in November 2011. And within a span of less than two months, the page has garnered nearly 5000 fans. Acquiring so many fans in a short time seems a tad unnatural, so I decided to investigate.
Himalaya Herbals Facebook fan page
The Facebook fan page with a strong community boasts about its active engagement. The status updates are majorly about the products with a little write-up which links to the Himalaya website. However, quite a few updates were about the brand, its list of stores in India and what goes into the making of their products, etc. Also, a contest was run to introduce a new product called ‘Himalaya Lip Butter’.
The good thing about this was that not only did it spike up the fan base but also created the required buzz for the new product. The page sky-rocketed from 68 fans to 3,500 fans in a matter of three days ((Source of the data)). Along with the Facebook contest the brand took good care of following the Facebook promotional guidelines such as running the contest on a separate app and declaring the contest winners on a separate tab instead of the Facebook wall. This is something that a bigger brand on Facebook like MyDala should take note of.
Talking about engagement, I think fans do not seem to be interested whenever the brand spoke about itself or promoted its products. Fans rather seem to be excited to engage with the brand when it has contests running or when the brand asks fans to share their favourite Himalaya products. This again brings us to the conclusion that social networks like Facebook are not meant for product pitches, but to get closer to your consumers, get them to speak and understand what they want.
Even so running contests is the road taken most often by brands to build its fan count and essentially so since in order to engage, it has to acquire fans first. A thought that was also recently shared by Pradeep Chopra in our blog post.
What Himalaya Herbals can improve upon?
In the herbal products market, most of the players are small and medium sized regional sellers. The urban consumer would definitely look out for authenticity and Himalaya Herbals fits the bill being 81 years in the business. Hence from where I see it, the brand could have done a lot more with its brand equity in its initial phase apart from just opening up a Facebook page to run contests and promote a particular product. For e.g., it could have:
1. Enlightened its large community base on the benefits of herbs just as it has done on its website which is excellent. Along with this Himalaya can replicate the same model of ‘Ask the Expert’ feature on its fan page too.
2. Give more opportunities to the fans to speak up, instead of giving health and beauty related tips themselves. Another way of letting fans to speak could have been by asking interesting stories from fans when they had used a Himalaya product. Initiatives like these not only increase the conversation factor but also make fans happy being associated to the community.
3. Responded to the fans who complained of not having received their free samples or goodies. Social media is not just about celebrating accolades but it is also about being bold and facing brickbats. So I think the brand should have responded to the unhappy fans, resolved their issues and in turn converted them as brand ambassadors.
Barring these facts, I think that Himalaya Herbals have started on the right foot by being on Facebook. From here on, the brand will have to think more on content and continuous engagement to scale new heights. Nevertheless, I have to give the brand due credit for it’s engagement and strict adherence to Facebook promotional guidelines.
As a fan what connects with you – a) Facebook contest related to its product b) make your presence felt or c) holistic approach keeping in mind both the factors?