A brief review of how Airtel, the title sponsor for the Formula One Indian Grand Prix, is engaging fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in the build up to the race weekend.
The Indian Grand Prix has become one of the most awaited sporting events in the country and no marks for guessing no brand would want to miss the opportunity to cash in. Airtel, being the title sponsor, leads the way in terms of engaging with the fans on social media. Earlier, we did a review of Airtel’s social media activity with respect to the Indian GP in July where we focused on how Airtel was trying to gain traction in the build up to the event. We follow it up in this post and take a look at what Airtel is up to in the period leading up to the last week before the race.
The Facebook Page
According to the data provided by Unmetric the Airtel F1 Facebook page has gained 863,102 fans from the start of July till October 21, a percentage increase of 320.6. There has been a steady rise since the start of September which can be credited to its contest “Join Our Pit Crew” and other engagement activities.
The ‘People Talking About This’ number, on the other hand, has risen from being close to zero to more than 125,000 during the same three and a half month period. Just like the fan count, this number too started to rise around the same period with the only difference being that its rise has been sudden and is constantly hovering over 125,000 fans.
In comparison to the previous occasion, there has been a near 100% increase in the number of posts relating to Formula 1 while there has been a near 50% drop in the number of posts which come under the “General Happenings” category. However, though the number of posts relating to its telecom services remained the same its engagement score rose by a whopping 300%, being the highest for any type of content posted in the given period. The overall sentiment on the page was positive.
The content plan for the page has been a healthy mix of latest happenings in the world of Formula 1, trivia, history of the sport and sharing of interesting articles from across the web. One of the eye-catching features has been the way Airtel announces the winners of the contests that it has been running. While it doesn’t have a dedicated YouTube account, it has a tab by the name “Airtel Grid Girls TV” where the grid girls educate the fans about the various technical and non-technical aspects of the sport. All these videos have been uploaded on the official Airtel India account. On the whole, the Facebook page addresses the needs of the fans very well.
Twitter and Pinterest presence
The Twitter presence of Airtel F1 has come a long way since it we last reviewed in July. The fan count then was 130 while it has more than 1300 now. Earlier, the content strategy mainly involved tweets and retweets about F1 alone but it has evolved since then as Airtel started running a Twitter hashtag contest #airtelIndianGP which has been the primary reason for its follower count.
With the last few days the race approaching, Airtel has been tweeting some interesting and engaging stuff. Delightfully, the tweets contain a human element in them. Since the F1 caravan started arriving in the country, the Twitter feed has been providing live updates and retweets with pictures from the venue.
The Pinterest page has a fascinating feel to it. In terms of numbers, there hasn’t been much of a change, the follower count increased from 70 to mere 88 but the effort is worth applauding. It has an array of boards covering almost every aspect of the sport along with a dedicated board for the Indian GP, which is being updated constantly. The quality of pins is excellent and the page blissful for a fan.
Summing it up
Overall, the social media activities of Airtel have been quite impressive. The strategy and its execution clearly signify that it has made a whole-hearted effort. It has made great use of all the platforms it has used and with Airtel being the fourth largest mobile telephony company in the world expanding into newer markets aggressively and it also being the title sponsor of this prestigious event, it had to be grand and spectacular in its social media efforts. There is no doubt that it will continue the good work during the race weekend.
So how did you like Airtel’s F1 social media strategy? Do you think it could have been better? Do let me know what you feel about it.
An interesting analysis – thank you. My ‘argument’ with brands around these types of events is this – building large audiences on social platforms is great – how does that impact and contribute to your business goals. What I don’t see here is how all this reach and engagement is being used to drive new subscriptions, increase ARPU or improve customer service for example. What are your thoughts on that?
I agree with you. Ideally, you expect a brand to leverage its massive numbers to its own benefit. But I think Airtel’s case is unique. It is trying to position itself as a promoter of sports in India. Earlier this year it did a campaign by the name “Airtel Rising Stars” which was a talent hunt for football enthusiasts and in the process built a community for football fans around that. Seemingly, it is doing the same with Formula 1 where it is trying to become a hub for Indian F1 fans. So it is about what your objective is. In Airtel’s case it looks like it is about positioning its brand as a promoter of sports rather than it looking for ways to convert the numbers into customers.