This is a guest post by Omkar Mishra ((Omkar is a Social Media Junkie and a ‘So Called’ Guitarist. Firm believer of ‘Google is my only Teacher’. Works @ eClerx by Day and Batman by night. Blogs random things related to the Digital Space and Music on csharpdflat.in)), where he compares 5 major eCommerce brands in their performance on social media, with the help of social media benchmarking tool, Unmetric.
“Thy Consumers, Thy brands” – Wherever my consumers are, I will be there. And today they spend a considerable amount of time on social media. The Indian e-Commerce businesses have understood this since shopping is a social behaviour. The target audience generally for these portals is in the age group of 20-35 and according to SocialBakers, currently there are more than 54 million users active on Facebook and still growing. This leads brands such as Flipkart, SnapDeal among many others, to tap in to this goldmine and acquire new customers.
With Myntra attributing more than 25% Revenue through Facebook, only proves the fact that social media is a necessity for eCommerce Brands not only for engagement and awareness but also to drive sales though their pages. So the question that arises is – how are these eCommerce portals faring currently? Here, we look at the top 5/well-known eCommerce brands and how they are progressing along in the social media space.
The analysis is based on a one month period (23rd Aug, 2012 – 22nd Sep, 2012) of all the 5 brands listed above using Unmetric.
Facebook Engagement Rate
The average Engagement Rate (People Talking/Total Fans) for the eCommerce portals in the said period seems to be around 2.6%.
SnapDeal in the period from 29th Aug – 4th Sep phase had a tremendous growth in Engagement. This was largely due to the Offers posted on its Facebook page. With more than 430 Shares between the two offers posted, SnapDeal knows what works best amongst its fans. With Consumers getting discounts and offers directly from the Facebook page and sharing the same amongst their friends, it is a great strategy to increase the amplification rate (the rate at which you reach your non fan base or friends of fans) and acquire new fans as well as keep your current fans with a handful.
Result: In the one month period, 82% of the new fans (more than 27K new likes) came during the Offer period hence furthering their claim.
Flipkart, on the other hand, followed theme based approach (Rainy Season Trivia and pictures for the month of September) which was well resonated amongst their fans. eBay being more popular and noticeable, have loyal fan following and maintain consistent engagement. Jabong and Myntra are the least engaged brands among the five, though supported by their Facebook Ads all the way (have seen several ads for Jabong and Myntra during the phase. Not seen it for any other brands as much and Myntra at least have clarified in their case study that they do use Ads to increase their Fan Growth and Engagement).
Response Frequency on Twitter
When it comes to Twitter, eBay India and Flipkart are using it optimally for customer service with Flipkart having 93% of their tweets as replies to customer queries.
While Myntra takes the shortest Average Response Time and their response is always within a day followed by Flipkart who reply 96% of customer queries within a day’s time. Jabong, though not so actively involved on Twitter, was the least active in responding to customer questions with Average Response Time of more than 12 hours.
An interesting observation was that Jabong doesn’t allow it’s fans to post queries on its Facebook Wall. A negative step if they are actually thinking of starting conversations. You can never encourage conversations from your fans when you as a brand are limiting them.
Sentiment Analysis on Twitter
The average sentiment ratio on Twitter for the Brands seems to be around 3:1 (For every 3 positive comments, there is one negative comment about the Brand or its service).
Flipkart is way ahead of its competitors in gauging the audience through its Video Sharing Channel. The new ad campaign by the company in order to coin a new term for shopping ‘Flipkart IT’ (on the same lines as ‘Google It’ became synonymous with Search) was premiered few days early, only for their Facebook Audience and which received more than 250 shares amongst the fans.
The result being more than 102K views for both the YouTube Ads shared on Facebook with most of the comments raving about the creativity and products from Flipkart. The only competitor that comes close to being actively engaged on YouTube is eBay with their recent triumph of 2 million fans on Facebook, shared on YouTube by all their employees making a video to thank their fans. eBay went a step further and responded to consumer concerns via comments which was nice to see.
Jabong, Myntra and SnapDeal are not using YouTube to their full potential with minimal video views and not enough exposure from other social media sites they have a presence upon. A thing or two to learn from Flipkart would be to leverage Twitter and Facebook to share their YouTube experiences with their consumers and gaining outreach. Flipkart did it bang on with sharing their ads a week before for their Facebook fans making them feel special and more important. While images are a sure way to garner more eyeballs on Facebook, videos when used in the right way can do wonders for your brand voice.
Videos about Customer Queries, Hangouts, Product Reviews specially targeted to Social Media Fans can give the fans a sense of belonging to the brand.
Pinterest and Google+ presence
Pinterest and Google+ still remains a niche network to be upon. While Google+ is a barren land for brands with hardly any Indian users interacting on the platform, Pinterest can be used to their advantage with the content being more visual. The Engagement on Google+ is nothing to talk about and the brands, seeing the response, are scarcely posting the content they are posting on Facebook. Flipkart has more than 9K +1’s on Google+ with SnapDeal and eBay following with around 1.5K +1’s.
With 8% of the Pinterest users coming from India, there is something which the eCommerce brands can extract. However, as of now Pinterest does not see much engagement, the main reason being minimalistic audience and not enough exposure. Using Facebook’s OpenGraph might help the brands to tap in to the Facebook fan base to Pinterest.
Jabong recently had started a contest on Pinterest asking users to pin Jabong products which would help them renovate their houses. Although it was a step forward for an Indian brand to look elsewhere other than just Facebook and Twitter every time, it did generate a lukewarm response. The primary reason again being the audience not being broad and limited to only Pinterest. Myntra and Jabong score the points here being the more fashion oriented brands and trying to rope in Pinterest in their Social media suite too.
The Way Forward
1. Being on every Social Media platform is irrelevant but being on the right platforms is the right way forward. While Facebook still remains the major stakeholder in attracting website traffic for these brands, YouTube and Pinterest can attribute more than what it currently is.
2. Leveraging cross-platform for contests or campaigns can help the niche platforms like Pinterest/Google+ to gain more audience activity.
3. Customer reviews/First hand product reviews through YouTube can boost their audience engagement inviting new conversations regarding a particular product or lineup. They can take this a bit further (If the time/budget allows them to) and respond to certain customer queries through videos. This would not only make those customers feel special but convert them from being an unhappy customer to a brand advocate!
For me, Flipkart wins hands down in terms of customer satisfaction and presence on social media sites – coming up with unique themes on Facebook and not pushing sales but rather gauging the audience pulse, using Twitter for customer queries and YouTube for their creative adverts. ( I admit, I am an avid buyer from Flipkart.com myself!)
Which brand stands out for you on Social Media? Do let us know in your comments.