New Delhi: Coca-Cola posted its first tweet in Hindi last fortnight when the International Premier Tennis League was being held in New Delhi, and it got it 350 re-tweets compared to just 10-15 re-tweets of most of its English tweets. Nobody’s surprised.
There’s a substantial increase in use of Indian languages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and several large and small advertisers including Pepsi-Co, Bharti Airtel, suiting brand OCM and winery Sula Vineyards say use of regional languages in social media campaigns give them much higher resonance than the same thing in English.
According to social media agencies, brands’ Facebook posts using Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Marathi get almost 150 per cent more response than similar English posts, thanks to increasing penetration of Internet into smaller towns and cities. “Language is surely helping a better engagement,” said AnushaShetty, CEO at Autumn Worldwide, a Bangalore-based advertising agency specialising in social media.
“This approach will start playing an important role in the next two years as Internet penetration increases and more people from tier-III and -IV (cities) join the social space,” she said. “We are seeing the birth of this approach now.” Shetty said sprinkling languages such as Hindi, Malayalam or Tamil boosts engagement from consumers by 160 per cent to 220 per cent.
For a recent Luminous ad, the video content on Facebook was in Hindi, which got replies in ‘Hinglish’, leading to ‘massive engagement’. PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew recently had a campaign in the south with one Tamil word in it, while Orient Electric had a campaign with Chennai Super Kings with Hindi words. All these campaigns received good response on the social media.
Aneesh Madani, head of sports partnerships at Twitter India, said there has been 300 per cent increase in tweets in Hindi in 2014 alone. “Given that Twitter now renders in all Indian languages… we will see an upward trend in vernacular conversations,” he said. “Brands and partners are starting to explore the vernacular and the opportunity to stand out while connecting to users is ripe,” Madani said.
“Expect more during the ICC Cricket World Cup as well as the Indian Premier League.” Coca-Cola’s recent experiment on a refreshment-based post in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Kannada got over 150 per cent response compared to the same post published in English.