Business

Battle for social media

LIME, Digicel in fierce contest

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014    

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THE fierce rivalry between telecoms giants LIME and Digicel has now moved into the social media arena as both companies battle for supremacy in the fast-growing communication medium.

Digicel currently owns majority of the social media market share, with Twitter and Facebook fans averaging 85,900 and 650,000 worldwide respectively, according to data posted by socialbakers, a provider of social media analytic tools, statistics and metrics.

LIME, however, is moving to close the gap, with 75 per cent growth in overall social media performance since the start of the year, socialbakers statistics indicate.

What's more, LIME's Facebook page saw growth of 35.6 per cent since January this year, 29.4 per cent more than Digicel had seen in the same period.

"We had major activities on social media around Boys' and Girls' Championships, LIME Street Football and World Cup, which brought a lot of traffic," said Vaun Johnson, interactive marketing and social media specialist at LIME.

But according to Shelly-Ann Harris, senior communications manager at Digicel, her company's growth of 10.3 per cent since the start of the year is in keeping with its projections of averaging approximately 30 per cent growth per year.

"Most Jamaicans using social media are already a part of our online family," Harris told the Jamaica Observer. "It is expected that other brands could grow faster periodically, given that the potential market for them is larger and since they're pretty much trying to catch up."

Both firms use social media to keep customers abreast of products and services as well as to create a platform for building life-long relationships.

They also rely on feedback from the social media pages to analyse customer behaviour in an effort to improve products and services. Moreover, having strong social media presence gradually trickles down into profits for the companies.

"Brand visibility covers all the areas that we use to connect with our customers, whether it's television, radio, print, social media or direct engagement in the community," said Harris. "It's all a part of how we connect with our customers, so if you pull out social media you're pulling out one of the strategies of connecting with customers."

LIME's Johnson said his company has "handset deals that were exclusively promoted on social media, such as the Alcatel T-Pop which was sold out in two days".

The engagement rate for LIME currently stands at 0.11 per cent, up from 0.07 in January, while Digicel has a rate of 0.05 per cent.

According to Johnson, the engagement rate is measured by the number of re-tweets and favourites each post gets on Twitter, while the engagement rate for Facebook is determined by the number of likes, shares and comments.

LIME currently serves 305,000 Facebook fans, 65.4 per cent being Jamaicans.

Digicel subscribers moved 30 per cent more than LIME had seen in the same period. LIME, however, has views totalling 13,600 more than that of Digicel's.

Digicel's Harris, however, stated that the company employs a comprehensive social media strategy that not only covers Facebook and Twitter, but is also bringing its rich local content to the fast-growing Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Meanwhile, LIME has seen 29.7 per cent movement in Twitter followers, up from 28,500 to 36,971 over the last seven months. Tweets now total 53,795, according to socialbakers.

The company's three-year-old Twitter page averages growth of 450 followers per day.

According to Johnson, the company engages followers in social media activities such as sweepstakes, referring competitions and giveaways to build traffic on the site.

"Our Twitter account is known for its wit and humour and is quite different from other accounts. We try to make it very unique and consistent to how people interact on Twitter," he stated.

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