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Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study By Iffort– A Web Strategy & Digital Marketing Company |

Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Introduction What seemed like chirps from birds 1 some years back has now become an integral part of our daily lives. Such has been the impact of ‘Twitter’ that everybody in our environment, ranging from the common man to celebrities has become an integral user. In India, Twitter usage picked up slowly, but today India ranks in the list of top 10 countries 2 in terms of twitter users.

This research, a first of its kind, presents a brief summary about the ‘Indian businesses’ that have established presence on ‘Twitter’ & also underlines the purpose/s for which they are using it. The study was conducted with a reason to demonstrate the value aspect of

In India, Twitter usage picked up slowly, but today India ranks in the list of top 10 countries in terms of twitter users. The growth of Twitter has spurred beyond leisure usage and now we are witnessing brands embracing the medium and engaging in meaningful business-specific conversations through this channel. Whether it is B2B or B2C, there are many companies out there which are using twitter for reasons like brandbuilding, marketing, staying connected with customers, taking their feedback etc.

twitter as a micro-blogging tool when used by a brand. To conduct this study we selected 66 brands from different industry verticals [9 in total].


Chirps from birds – The real definition of twitter 2 Source –

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Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Verticals that were profiled

Observation Criterion




Health care



The respective Twitter account profiles and the tweets were observed on the following parameters –




Quantitative •

The tweets were randomly monitored during the working week i.e. Monday – Friday between November 2009 & February 2010.

The cut-off criterion for selection was Brands with • • •

Minimum 100 followers Activity period spanning for minimum 1 month At least 50 tweets

• • • •

Joining date (date on which account was created) Number of tweets (volume) Last tweet date No. of followers / No. of following/ No. of lists (Influence measure) No. of Retweets and reply via @ (Influence measure)


• •

Conversation type (one-way, two-way) Tweet type (Informational, Retweets, Conversational@)

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Key Findings

A blueprint sketch, circa 2006, by Jack Dorsey, envisioning an SMS-based social network

Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Before starting this report, our hypothesis was that the bulk of brands would be using twitter as a broadcasting platform. From the nature of the tweets, it becomes evident that several brands are focused towards the ‘conversational’ aspects with emphasis towards customer-service.

their customers and their profile also shows the employees who are managing the twitter account.

The leader-board is as follows:

When put together, the average reply % for the brands was 33.39% which means that on an average, 1/3rd of tweets are replies beginning with ‘@’.

How did they fare? Most active account – MSN India with 38,857 tweets Most followed brand– MTV India 56,560 followers Most conversational brand – ICICI Bank 98.32 % tweets Most Re-tweeted brand – Tatadocomo 31% tweets Oldest brand – (Present since October 2007) Top Inactive Brands – Acer India (Inactive since November) & Apollo hospitals (No tweets since July 2009 onwards) As expected, the most tweets are made by a news brand, MSN India with almost 40,000 tweets. MSN India’s twitter account is setup using twitter-feed which automates the tweets from the news site every time it is published. MTV India is the most followed brand, showcasing its popularity amongst the youth and also the fact that India’s twitter audience comprises of youngsters. ICICI Bank is the most conversational brand on twitter and is primarily using it for responding to queries from both current & prospect customers.

Law of Averages (How do they fair together) Average replies – 33.395 % Average daily tweets – 7.15

Top Inactive Brands However, not all the brands have been able to use the medium in the right way. One classic example of that is Acer India’s twitter account which has been inactive since November 2009. The other prominent profile is that of Apollo Hospitals who haven’t posted a single tweet since July 2009.

Airtel Broadband’s case Airtel Broadband had marked its presence on twitter with its account impatient_ones. However, after some initial tweets the account was inactivate, starting from period of June 2009 and at the beginning of this year the account was surprisingly deleted. Despite our research, the real reasons for the deletion of the account are not known.

Infact, it won’t be surprising to see other banks joining twitter to engage with their customers. One classic example of how banks can use twitter is through Bank of America’s twitter account They maintain complete transparency for

© Iffort 2010.

Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Twitter Application – Customer service

ICICI Bank offers support through twitter to their banking customers. There are customers who are frustrated with the bank’s service and haven’t received support through

A happy customer tells one friend, an unhappy customer tells everybody.

Twitter is a fantastic tool for resolution of customer problems, not only is it fast but it also provides cost advantages for businesses when compared with other methods like phone etc. Through Twitter when the company staff, provides replies to customers, it creates a positive image for the entire brand. Dell India has a twitter account to handle customer queries related to showroom info, personal computer details, computer

conventional methods. For such cases, ICICI Bank is constantly monitoring tweets to address concerns with Net Banking, transaction charges, problems with debit card. The graph below shows the daily conversation tweet trends for ICICIBank_Care (from Jan 19 to Feb 18). 4 The peak point was reached when the no. of tweets exceeded 25.

shipment and payment details info. Dell’s India account is in-line with the computer manufacturer’s global initiatives. Dell has a dedicated section of its website, that provides details of the name and purpose of its more than 30 different feeds. 3


Clear goals key for brands using Twitter 268


Graph Source nk_care#

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Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

News Broadcast

Promotion & Buzz

In India, the use of twitter as a news streaming source was widely realized during the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 5.

Organizations have started adapting twitter to showcase their latest offerings, promote product launches, discounts & contests etc. There are specific campaigns around twitter where users win free prizes for using the company’s name in tweet hashtags. 6

Companies like Kotak cards are posting updates of the company and industry news to discuss it and with their twitter followers.

Nokia Music India uses twitter to promote album & latest mobile phone launches in the Nokia music store. They regularly conduct twitter contests to drive user participation. The twitter account of Colors TV channel is synched with Facebook and their tweets are about promotion of new shows & userreactions to reality show eliminations.


First Hand Account of Terrorist Attacks in India on Twitter, Flickr


Moonfruit Twitter Promotion onfruit-Twitter-promotion-proves-massivesuccess/

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Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Graphical Story Twitter in the IT Sector The reason why we chose the IT sector for further analysis was because the large-scale Indian tech companies are driven by processes and proven methodologies. The observations of how they use open conversation social media platforms like Twitter are certainly very interesting.

Conversation Measure Every third tweet that Microsoft India sends is conversational & is marked with ‘@’ reply. A key reason is that their official twitter account isn’t automated and is managed by a team of real people. Microsoft India is followed by HP IPG India & Capgemini respectively.

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Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

Retweeting Aspects Retweeting is the phenomenon of copying a tweet from someone and sharing it within your network. Popularly referred to as RT, retweeting contributes to a conversational ecology 7 & is a fantastic viral source for content promotion. While typically the focus is to spread news, engage in conversations, brands often retweet when they are the subject of a conversation e.g. a customer expressing his happiness with a company’s product. That said, there are instances when brands occasionally retweet general messages which are not company specific e.g. HP IPG India’s twitter account HPPrint4life.

The figure displays the RT percentage for various brands where the wheel is lead by HP IPG India followed by Cognizant & Zensar.


Tweet, Tweet, Retweet: Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter

© Iffort 2010.

Indian Companies on Twitter A Usage Study

How to Use Twitter Illustrations Customer Service (Tata Photon)

Consumer Recommendations (SuKam)

The Road Ahead Twitter’s penetration in organizations will continue to increase on both sides of the spectrum. Conversations between users and brands which are managed by humans with an emotional quotient would continue to thrive. It also implies that the focus would lessen on one-way broadcasts where twitter accounts simply translate into monotonous RSS feeds. More companies will start using twitter for conducting market research, listening to users and keeping a track on the competition.

Community Feedback (Cafe Coffee Day)

Company/Industry Updates (Infosys)

Product Promotion (Samsung Mobiles)

Š Iffort 2010.

About Iffort

Iffort is an India based web-strategy & social media consulting firm that plans, creates and executes a thorough roadmap to deliver tangible value for its clients. Our range of services include full-spectrum web-strategy, social media marketing, enterprise 2.0 consulting. For further information visit us at E-Mail: Phone: 0120.4221295 Mobile: 91.9891700977 Twitter: Twitter images via . Image copyrights belong to Twitter and/or respective individuals.

Disclaimer: Iffort reserves the right not to be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness, or quality of the information provided. Claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected. References made in this study to brands do not constitute an endorsement by Iffort of those organizations and their products.

Indian Companies On Twitter Usage Study  

Iffort recently profiled 66 companies from 9 different verticals and analysed them on quantitative & qualitative parameters like no. of twee...