Dec 14, 2011

2 Official Indian 2Wheeler Facebook Fanpages – a Study [2011]

A (2011) study of the Official Fanpages on Facebook of our Indian 2 wheeler brands/companies..

"I am always on Facebook" goes a popular TV jingle and that seems to be quite true with the latest generation armed with the latest “smart phones”. Heck..!! There are now even mobiles phones manufactured and marketed as "Facebook Phones"..!!

The question staring in everyone’s face undeniably is "Facebook से बच कर कहा जाओगे"?

Right now not being on Facebook is not the smartest thing to do, especially when one has a wonderful brand ..

.. so far only "desi" 2 wheeler companies have been active on Facebook..!!

[Note: Only "Motorcycle" Fanpages have been covered in this study]

This Facebook phenomenon also presents huge opportunities for corporate entities to reach out to its consumers. There already are a few Indian 2 Wheeler companies which are trying to leverage the reach of Facebook with their "Official Fanpage".

As the year 2011 comes to an end, posted below is a study of the Official Facebook Fanpages (compiled by myself) of our "desi" 2 wheeler brands/companies. Lets try to study the success/failure of these Fanpages and gain some insight on what it takes to create and maintain a vibrant Official Facebook Fanpage for our "desi" 2 Wheeler companies/brands.

I. The successful ones so far

[1] My Pulsar
Link: http://www.facebook.com/MyPulsar
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 531,401

Bajaj was the first Indian 2 wheeler company to start an Official Fanpage. They started the Fanpage for its “Pulsar” brand somewhere in mid 2009 and till date that remains the sole Official Facebook Fanpage of Bajaj.

With over 531,000 plus lakh fans the My Pulsar Fanpage is the largest for an Indian 2 wheeler brand.




[2] TVS Apache Official
Link: http://www.facebook.com/TVSApacheOfficial
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 422,127

After around a year of Bajaj starting it Pulsar Fanpage, TVS too jumped into the Facebook bandwagon and following Bajaj it too started a Fanpage for its "Apache RTR" brand. This page currently has around 422,000 plus fans and thus comes in second in terms of its number of followers.




[3] Hero Moto Corp India
Link: http://www.facebook.com/HeroMotoCorpIndia
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 107,876

Just after days of unveiling its new corporate identity in Aug 2011, Hero Moto (earstwhile Hero Honda) started its official Facebook Fanpage. But unlike Bajaj and TVS, instead of a product brand, Hero opted for a Facebook Fanpage for its new mother brand, i.e. "Hero Motocorp".

The Fanpage has managed to get around 107,00 plus fans so far.




[4] Royal Enfield Fans
Link: http://www.facebook.com/royalenfieldfans
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 82,463

Another vibrant Indian 2Wheeler brand on Facebook is Royal Enfield. The official Royal Enfield Fanpage has garnered around 82,000 plus fans and of late has become quite active.


Learnings from the success of the above Fanpages:

These Fanpages represent i.e "Pulsar", "Apache RTR", "Hero" and "Royal Enfield" are very popular and brands established over many years. Therefore it's not very difficult to get fans on these Fanpages.

Royal Enfield very recently has created separate Fanpage for its "Classic and Electra" brands, something which I am not sure is the right step. Bajaj might have pulled it off with its "Pulsar" brand and TVS might have followed the same strategy with its "Apache RTR" brand since both the product brands of these 2 companies are very different in character from its mother brand.

For "Hero" and "Royal Enfield" it makes sense to promote mother brand as their products are not that differentiated enough from each other and has varying degrees of commercial success in the market.




II. The ones which failed to create a stir

[1] Mahindra Motorcycles
Link: http://www.facebook.com/MahindraMotorcycles
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 23,162

The Official Mahindra Motorcycles Fanpage was started soon after the "Mojo" and "Stallio" were unveiled in Sep 2010. The reason why I have included this Fanpage on ones which has failed to cause a major stir is because its number of fans has remained nearly static at 20 plus thousand since the beginning of 2011.

Also the level of interaction of fans on that page is not very high. But then with no motorcycle currently available from Mahindra stables what else can one expect from the fans?




[2] Yaari Ki Gaadi (Splendor NXG Fanpage)
Link: www.facebook.com/pages/Yaari-Ki-Gaadi/107078289357688
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 24,225

This particular Fanpage infact was the first Official Fanpage by Hero Honda (now Hero Moto). Obviosuly started to promote the Splendor NXG model along with the "Yaari Ki Gaadi" campaign.

With low level of interaction/contricution of the fans on this Fanpage, Hero seems to have forgotten this Fanpage altogether as the last update by them on this Fanpage was in Jan 30 2011..!!




[3] TVS Jive
Link: http://www.facebook.com/TVSJive
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 424

Started at the same time as the TVS Apache RTR Official Fanpage, the dismal number of fans (424) clearly indicates that the TVS Jive has not clicked on Facebook.


Learnings from the failure of the above Fanpages:

The main learning from the above example is that a Fanpage cannot create "fans". A Fanpage is effective only when there are "fans" around for that brand. One should not expect a Facebook Fanpage to act as a promotional tool, especially for a new brand.

The other learning is that of relevant target group. I would like to believe that the major chunk of "active" Facebook users belong to the younger age group. Expecting this young consumer to become excited for something like a Jive, Stallio and Splendor NXG which are simple and sober commuter bikes is a bit too much.




III. Big international brands that surprisingly aren’t so big in India on Facebook

Big brands like Kawasaki, Harley Davidson, Ducati and Triumph even though very new in India are internationally established brands. One would expect these big brands to easily attact huge legions of fans in India.

Official India specific Fanpages of Kawasaki, Harley Davidson, Ducati and Triumph (products yet to be launched in India but Facebook Fanpage is already up..!!) are there on Facebook. But a glance at these Fanpages paint a surpising picture. Compared to the "desi" brands, the international brands have very less number of fans.

[1] Kawasaki Ninja India
Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kawasaki-Ninja-India/108324625925777
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 2,184

[2] Harley Davidson India
Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Harley-Davidson-India/138293646213741
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 1,612

[3] Ducati India
Link: http://www.facebook.com/DucatiIndia
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 3,78

[4] Triumph Motorcycles India
Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Triumph-Motorcycles-India/242371045820388
No. of fans (as of Dec-14, 2011): 175


Learnings from the lukewarm response to the above Fanpages:

One of my hypothesis is that the customers who buy these imported stuff belong to 30-35 plus years (age when there is a sufficient balance). Also at this age people usually won't be that active on Facebook compared to the young generation.

The other hypothesis could be that these companies might not have really spent on trying to promote their Fanpage on Facebook by paying for the ads which appear on the right hand side of the Facebook page.


Success of the "Mahindra Racing Fanpage"

Mahindra might not have been successful with the "Mahindra Motorcycles Fanpage" but its "Mahindra Racing Fanpage" is relatively active with 145,472 fans who also are interested in Mahindra's 125 cc Moto GP racing exploits.




Learnings so far from the Facebook Fanpages of our "desi" 2 wheeler brands: Summarized

    1. Build a brand first and then build a Fanpage for its fans

    2. Target the relevant group for the Fanpage to ensure participation and keeping the interest alive

    3. Promote the Facebook Fanpage by [a] Putting its link on the corporate website [b] in its promotions/advertisements [c] Set aside a budget for Facebook advertisements

Having a Facebook Fanpage might not be the most important thing for the marketing dept. of a 2 Wheeler company nor does setting up of Fanpage ensure hords of instant fans. For example how many fans can one expect for the world's largest selling motorcycle model for 10 years, the "Hero Splendor" if a Fanpage is setup for it.

But then right now not being on Facebook is also not the smartest thing to do, especially when one has a wonderful brand it would cost a tiny fraction of the meaningless endorsement fees of a cricket/bollywood star. It's surprising that so far only the "desi" 2 wheeler companies have been active on Facebook..!! The Japanese brands Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki operating in India have not yet tried to leverage Facebook in a bid to build its brand.

More than Honda and Suzuki its Yamaha which despite wonderful products like the "FZ" and "R15" is losing out big time by not interacting with its fans on Facebook.






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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.






2 Comments:

Common K Liye said...

Really !! good piece of information

theslayer said...

On Mahindra Racing : " 145,472 fans who also are interested in Mahindra's 125 cc Moto GP racing exploits."

I doubt if all 145,472 fans ( now 153,310) are actually interested in Mahindra Racing's exploits. An impromptu comparo between this page and Nokia India will give us an idea of what percentage of users are actually active in a page..

You must be aware of the intensive campaign to add more fans to the FB page by Mahindra Racing. You had these occasional posts every now and then asking you to get 5 users to like their page and there were giveaways if I remember right.

After gathering the huge list of fans, now Mahindra is providing quality information, ofr example behind the scenes interview with the riders, Q&A sessions and more.

I think this is a classic example of how Facebook can promote a brand...

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