afaqs!

Understanding social media chatter around automobile brands

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | December 20, 2012
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After the first such report using Radian6, a social media monitoring tool, Social Wavelength has identified several other categories around which similar reports will be released in the coming months.

Following its recent tie up with Canada-based Radian6, social media agency Social Wavelength has stepped up its social media monitoring activity. Identifying social media as a powerful platform that facilitates brand conversations, which further influences buying habits, the agency has put together a special team for hardcore social research and drafting of research-based reports.

Hareesh Tibrewala

In the first such report, Social Wavelength has chosen the automobile sector to start with. Hareesh Tibrewala, joint chief executive officer, Social Wavelength, says, "This effort is to showcase the power of social media monitoring and to build awareness around it. There is tonnes of actionable information that can be gathered by marketers monitoring social conversations."



Starting out with automobiles, the agency has chosen around 10 such categories to draft reports on. The reports will be released at regular intervals.

The report on the Indian automobile industry has been created based on 41,890 conversations which were captured during October 1-30.

The study was based on conversations on selected automobile brands in India - Volkswagen, Hyundai, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Maruti Suzuki, Toyota, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Skoda, Tata Motors and Mahindra.

The social media presence of the aforesaid brands on Facebook and Twitter was analysed, and fan and follower counts were compared. The keywords included the brand names and the respective models priced up to Rs 25 lakh. The conversations were analysed for four aspects of the vehicles - features, looks, pricing and safety, while noting the overall conversation sentiment.

Among the key findings of the study was how Indian automobile brands are more discussed than the foreign ones, with the former accounting for 53 per cent of the share of voice.

The analysed conversations revealed that the hatchback segment is the most favoured, followed by SUVs and eventually, sedans, with the share of voice at 44 per cent, 33 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.

When it came to the top in each category, Maruti Alto, Tata Safari and Honda City were found to be the most discussed among hatchbacks, SUVs and sedans, respectively.

It was also found that people discussed pricing the most compared to the other aspects (features, looks and safety), revealing the accepted price-minded consumer psyche in India. Safety, surprisingly, is the least discussed.

Analysing the brands' social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, the report finds Tata Motors and Mahindra leaving behind the rest. Other interesting finds in the segment is how Volkswagen, despite having a higher fan base than any other automobile brand analysed, scores low when it comes to average feedback from its followers; the recent launch of Hyundai Eon helped the brand witness significant activity on its Facebook page, and Nissan generated a higher number of post shares containing images of its international models.

While there is a healthy mix of conversations happening across social platforms, Twitter trumps when it comes to generating content, with its facilitation of shorter updates. Forums and blogs are also rather popular with auto-enthusiasts, who prefer posting detailed reviews and discussing them.

With proprietary metrics at the agency - Brand Reputation Index and Brand Advocacy Matrix, the report finds how Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors lead the pack among the other brands.

It further states that for fans to engage with a brand, content quality is significant and posts from a brand with a lower number of fans may generate higher engagement than the ones with a much higher fan volume.

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