Insights into Social Media on Brand Finance Top 100 Brands in Sri Lanka

Friday, 12 October 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Mark & Comm Limited (MNC), an integrated strategic marketing, reputation, communications consultancy with a fully-fledged digital and social media agency, and a voice in the industry, commissioned a study during the end September to gather insights into the social media sphere taking into account the Brand Finance’s Top 100 Brands of 2012 in Sri Lanka.

The social media phenomena has definitively hit Sri Lanka with brands jumping on the bandwagon by starting to acquire consultancy from specialists and dedicating a budget exclusively for social media. However, this was not the case with most of the brands listed in the Top 100 Sri Lankan brands by Brand Finance for a simple fact that even social media icons were ignored in their official homepages.

Thanzyl Thajudeen, Chief Executive and Director of Mark & Comm Limited, commenting on the report, stated: “Social media has taken over the Sri Lankan online population with no doubt, with a majority of them spending increased amounts of time on Facebook, followed by other social networks. As I always stress in my articles, you have to fish where the fish are. And thereafter, you have to hold the right rod at the right place with the right worm for the right fish. I’m simply meaning that jumping and having a presence on these social networks along isn’t going to get the job done, brands have to pick the right social media strategy, choose the right platform(s) with the right content towards their right target audience they want to reach. This will be a major challenge and this report will go on to show that this is the case with most of the brands listed in the Brand Finance Top 100 Brands of 2012 in Sri Lanka. We were excited to conduct this study and have it published publicly.’’

Global stats on social media

Interestingly, 87% of Fortune 100 now use social media which makes over 10 million social mentions every month (with Twitter generating the most amount of chatter as tweet volumes tripled in the last twelve months). 75% of them are on Facebook, the largest social media platform, followed by 50% having a Google+ Account and 25% having a Pinterest Account (Source: Digital Buzz Blog ).

According to Factbrowser, on average companies respond to only 30% of social media fans’ feedback. More interestingly, stats on the question ‘What do people want from brands on social media?’ from AllTwitter, shows that 83% want deals and promotions, 70% want rewards programs, 58% want exclusive content, and 55% want feedback on new products.

Increasingly, SMBs are benefitting from this opportunity from around the world even taking Sri Lanka as an example. Global stats indicate that 27% of small and 34% of medium businesses are using social media for their business, an annual growth of over 10% (YOY). Further to this, according to MarketingMag, 25% of SMBs have no strategy and only 28% of small and 24% of medium businesses measure their ROI of social media activity.

On the other hand, businesses using social media platforms to monitor and gather competitor intelligence stood at an impressive 80%. Customer service has been taken to a new level as social media users who receive excellent customer service from brands spend on average 21% more than non-social customers. However, brands are neglecting this huge opportunity as only 44% of customer questions on twitter are answered within 24 hours whilst the rest 56% of customer tweets are being ignored. (Source: AllTwitter)

“When we take a glance at the global scenario for example, their engagement levels are quite high, hence they benefit remarkably with social media. The necessity of it being required shouldn’t be ignored; it’s the era of internet supremacy so we must adapt and get with it, not fall back,” stated Farhan Razeen, an Associate (Technology) at Mark & Comm Limited.

Social media in Sri Lanka

It’s all about Facebook when it comes to social media users in Sri Lanka. According to Facebook’s new­sroom, the social network grew to the size of one billion users on 14 September at 12:45 p.m. Pacific time.

Stats from SocialBakers, the Social Media monitoring firm, indicate that 78.59% of the whole online population in the country is on the social network giant, making it the 74th on the list with a total user-base of 1,395,960 as of end September. Users grew by more than 157,120 in the last six months alone which goes onto show that Sri Lanka has 0.17% higher FB penetration than Nepal and 0.44% lower FB penetration than Swaziland when making a comparison with the nearest countries by penetration.  Breaking it down to demographics, the largest age group on Facebook in Sri Lanka is currently the 18-24 year-olds with a total of 572 344 users, followed by the users in the age of 25-34. There are 68% male users and 32% female users in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, there are no statistics towards the other social platforms in Sri Lanka. However, statistics from Facebook alone shows that the whole online population in the country is surfing and spending time on the social giant.

According to the survey carried out by Mark & Comm Limited titled ‘Digital and Social Media Study [Agency side] in Sri Lanka’ on how digital and social media is trending in Sri Lankan agencies during the month of February 2011, revealed that Facebook received a 90 per cent critical rate when asking out as to which tools will they suggest their clients taking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and an own Blog site into consideration.

Web presence of the Top 100 Brands in Sri Lanka

When researching about the official websites of the Brand Finance Top 100 Brand of 2012 in Sri Lanka, 88 of those companies had official sites whilst 12 of them didn’t have a presence, out of which five were indicating ‘Under Construction’ whilst seven had no websites at all.

Social media icons on Brand Finance Top 100 Sri Lanka’s home pages

Taking into account the 88 brands that had official websites apart from the 12 that didn’t have either a presence or were under construction, 27 of them had a Facebook icon on their homepages, followed by Twitter, the micro-blogging site, at 14, YouTube, the video-streaming giant,  at 10, Google+, the rising social network from Google, at six, Flickr, the photo-sharing platform, at five, LinkedIn, the network for professionals, at two, and Foursquare, the location-based platform, at just one.

On the downside, 87 of them didn’t have a Foursquare icon, followed by 86 for LinkedIn, 83 for Flickr, 82 for Google+, 78 for YouTube, 74 for Twitter, and 61 for Facebook.

Facebook icons on official homepages of Brand Finance Top 100 2012 Sri Lanka (by industry)

Facebook, the social networking giant, now boasts over a billion users, according to the network’s newsroom (there are nearly 955 million active users on Facebook that spend an average of six hours and 35 minutes per month on the network (desktop only). It is in fact the most and probably the only platform used by the whole online population in Sri Lanka, as per the statistics shown previously in this report. Bringing in some global stats to the desk, Facebook users spend around 10.5 billion minutes (almost 20,000 years) online on Facebook every day.

Interestingly, an average of 3.2 billion likes and comments are posted every day. This shows that there is no excuse for brands and organisations to not be on Facebook. However, MNC found out that there was a massive lack, taking into consideration the country’s online growth and economic direction.

The banking, financial services (including leasing) and insurance industry was by far having the most number of brands on the Brand Finance Top 100 Brands of Sri Lanka in 2012, totalling to 34 out of which only a mere eight had the Facebook icon on their homepages directed towards their official Facebook pages, followed by hospitality with eight, supermarkets, retail and e-commerce with four, telecommunications with two, food and beverages with two, motor, oil and gas with two, and building materials with zero.

On the downside, 26 brands from the banking, financial services (including leasing) and insurance industry didn’t have a Facebook icon on their homepages, followed by 10 from food and beverages, seven from hospitality, six from building materials, four from motor, oil and gas, and three from the supermarkets, retail and e-commerce sectors.

However, very interestingly, brands that has no Facebook icon in their homepages doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have an official page on the social networking giant. This was the case when MNC analysed all of those brands in the Top 100 that didn’t have a Facebook icon.

The graph shows the brands in the Top 100 that didn’t have a Facebook icon in their homepages but those that actually has an official Facebook page. This goes on to show the negligence of a simple integration of social media icons onto their homepages which is very basic. 21 brands from the banking, financial services (including leasing) and insurance industry had official FB pages, followed by five from building materials, three from food and beverages, two from hospitality, and one from supermarkets, retail and e-commerce and motor, oil and gas respectively.

Twitter icons on official homepages of Brand Finance Top 100 2012 Sri Lanka (by industry)

Twitter, the micro-blogging tool, now has over 500 million registered users with 140 million active users (which is in fact low when compared with Facebook’s 950 million active users). Breaking into demographics, the 18-29 age group is most represented on Twitter, at 29% of user base, ahead of those aged 30-49 (14%) and 50-64 (9%), with an average Twitter account having 27 followers.

According to Hubspot, 57% of all companies that use social media for business use Twitter. Interestingly, more than half of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks.

There are no Twitter statistics by country released so far. When MNC inquired with the communications team at Twitter Inc, this was the same scenario. However, we analyed Brand Finance’s Top 100 Brands of Sri Lanka 2012 on Twitter.

It was such a downside when it comes to Twitter in Sri Lanka as most of the top brands weren’t having enough presence in the micro-blogging platform. The banking, financial services (including leasing) and insurance industry indicated the highest with 32 brands not having a Twitter icon on their official homepages, followed by 10 from food and beverages, eight from hospitality, six from motor, oil and gas and building materials respectively, and five from the supermarkets, retail and e-commerce sectors.

However, as only Dialog Axiata and Sri Lanka Telecom were the only two brands listed on the Brand Finance’s Top 100 Brands of 2012 in Sri Lanka under the ‘telecommunications’ industry category, both of them had Twitter icons on their homepages, with Dialog Axiata engaging highly on the micro-blogging tool, and the mobile leader was the first in Sri Lanka to have their Twitter account verified.


There is a massive misuse when it comes to understanding and implementing social media among the Brand Finance Top 100 Brands of 2012 in Sri Lanka. Brands that have official Facebook pages, for example, don’t have the FB icon on their homepages, along with many having a very low or zero presence on other social platforms such as Twitter.

Moreover, many tweets and Facebook updates weren’t updated and many lagged creativity, strategy, integration, interaction and engagement.  However, this report is an eye-opener and Mark & Comm Limited announces full-fledged services in digital and social media in Sri Lanka, with analytics and insights being the core of the agency.