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Smartphone brands and social media – Is strategic usage helping the brands?

Social media is a driving factor for engagement of users and brands. This has been a notion for some time now, and it is evident from some of the brands that have been working so well to keep their brands and users engaged. Let’s take a deeper look into it. There have been brands that entered the market with a huge marketing campaign only on the social media, and have done so well that since the inception to being one of the best brands in the country, they have used social media at every step. Here, not pure case studies but we try to talk about the brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, and others who use social media, but in different ways, and how it is helping one and not the other.

Let’s begin with the example of OnePlus. We remember how the company had come in with the “Smash your phone” contest to make people literally smash their iPhones to earn a free OnePlus One, the first phone from them. While it was much more affordable than the iPhone that was broken by the users, the idea of using social media to reach a widespread audience and touching them with a message is what defines the marketing strategy they had in place. This was also the first brand to actually sell phones through invites. Yeah, you heard it right, if you didn’t know about it. You actually should have an invite to buy a phone with your money. That’s how crazy the ideas were, but let me tell you, each of them worked so well. The invites were always scarce, and the phone’s demand was always high. Social media was filled with help-seekers and helpers in the community, and the bridge for all them was the brand’s social media account that was keeping everyone engaged.

OnePlus Invite system

Similarly, there’s Xiaomi, one of the best brands we would recall when it comes to marketing with zero spends in their initial days. Of course, now you do see them advertising on the biggest of the platforms including TV media, but there were days when Xiaomi was known through social media, as the Chinese brand had limited marketing budgets and they would take the right approach at it.

Flash sales became a phenomenon and other brands followed the same, only after Motorola and Xiaomi did. These kind of sales need some bragging to let users know how well are the phones sold, and where else than social media to let people know? Xiaomi effectively used social media to always keep the users informed about the sales, the number of units sold, which led to a better brand value with time.

There can be multiple stories about how you get known for how social media raises your brand value, and those would include the likes of Zomato, dbrand, Uber, and even Airbnb. Zomato and dbrand are both known for the Twitter team for giving the cheekiest of responses to the users, and that tells you two things: Their creativity that makes people remember them for long, and their activeness on social media that gives the users an assurance that there’s someone listening to them out there.

How well do brands use social media to build up user base?

Be it the tech hardware, software, or the services that rely on technology to deliver to the customers, we’ve seen quite a few brands relishing on their social media prowess, and here’s how that has roughly happened.

Build up the fan base – This will be the hardest part for any brand, but that’s what helps them in the longer run. For building up the base, of course, there are two things that we had discussed above. Creativity and active presence. You cannot really rely on bots to reply genuine users who have a question to ask. That’s where we’d mention someone like Zomato whose social media team is excellent with the responses they give, and they filter out the cheeky questions to give them back the responses that reach people who weren’t even in the loop. That leads to newer people following the brand with no real intent but to understand what the brand has to offer.

Engaging with the fans – make them feel important – Calling your Fans as your gamily, incentivizing them with timely gifts, greetings, and mentions would make them feel a part of the brand’s legacy. Again, citing an example of OnePlus and Xiaomi, the companies call their fans to launches, give them devices before others to make them an important part of their community. This not just makes them loyal towards the brand but also keeps pulling in more fans who feel that the brand is really into their fans.

Mi Fan Meetup

Why is it important to have a great brand, not just great products?

When you have great products, you automatically gain fans. You already are a good brand. But those fans are for your products, not for the overall brand. Nokia, for example, has been known to make sturdy phones from over a decade ago. The brand went off the charts, came back, and has been doing what they did in the past. But the brand response from people on social media has been feeble, as the company has not adopted to the social media trends and are losing grounds in that aspect. But Nokia isn’t the only one.

OPPO is another noteworthy brand that has held on to good numbers but that is all attributed to the offline marketing and the large brand presence that it has, not because of social media. Brands like these need a stiff social media presence that is not the case right now. The number of Retweets, Likes, and Replies the tweets get is indicative of how active the follower base of the social media handles for each brand is, and with OPPO, it seems behind the line when compared to most of the other ones that are in contention to top the charts.

Whether it really matters or not, you decide! But for us, social media is a key driving factor for the brand’s presence and a large part of the value creation beside the product itself.

Credit: Featured image (Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash).

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