How to stand out amid the din: social media strategies of top Indian startups

17th Feb 2018
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A recent report by a social analytics firm shows how the top Indian startups are using social media tools and platforms to engage with their audience.

“Kejriwal is now a quieter politician”, reads a recent article from The Quint. Earlier, you would make such conclusion by looking at news, or by your own prejudice. But now you can reach such conclusion using social media. Kejriwal didn’t post a single tweet with the keyword “Modi” in the past 11 months. In 2017, he used “Modi” 33 times. However, in 2016, he had mentioned “Modi” 124 times. Hence, the conclusion.

If such social media insights were to be derived about brands and companies, you can actually tap into their psyche and their marketing communication strategy despite what a company’s spokesperson says. For instance, companies have been saying lately to be cutting on discounts but in 2017, 15 percent of all the tweets were related to offers and discounts, most of which came from horizontal and fashion e-commerce.

To make sense of how social media is being used in the Indian startup ecosystem, we have been tracking social media performance of the top 100 startups for over a year now. We compiled the results in an annual social media report.

In this article, I am sharing some of the key insights from the report that will help entrepreneurs, social marketers, and digital marketers improve their social media strategy.

Aligning social media and business

Companies are not alike. A sexual wellness startup is different from a real estate and a fintech startup. So their marketing strategy will be different too. It’s a bad idea to compare marketing of, let’s say, Paytm with that of Quikr.

To understand how social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube) is being used in each startup segment, the report divided startups into 13 categories.


On an average, an Indian startup shares three posts a day on its social channels. However, the spectrum of number of daily posts is wide.

Activity per brand in each startup category in 2017

Real estate startups, which included likes of CommonFloor and Housing, were most active on social media. Average activity per brand across the year was 2,082. On the other hand, health and fitness startups were least active sharing only 670 posts per brand.

However, the most active startup was BookMyShow. They shared 7,906 posts during the year averaging 21 posts a day!


High activity on social media doesn’t mean higher response. Your social media engagement depends upon quality of your content, time and day of sharing it, and its context.

Fashion and lifestyle ecommerce startups received a staggering 11 million engagements, most of which came from Myntra. To put this in perspective, Myntra received three engagements every second! It’s interesting to note that almost one-third of this engagement came in the fourth quarter.

Myntra's engagement per day

Sexual wellness startups got a mere 4,103 engagements across the year behind hyperlocal ecommerce, health and fitness, and food startups.

Figure 1: Engagement per brand in each startup category in 2017

Travel and hotel marketplace startups and horizontal ecommerce startups were second in the engagement chart with 6.4 million and 6.1 million engagements respectively.

Engagement types

Engagement comes in various forms: likes, comments, shares, +1s, favourites, and video views. Although what constitutes as video views is still debated in the industry, right now a three-second video view is counted towards a video view.

We discovered that most of the startups that were higher in engagement chart, their most engagements comprised of view views. Myntra’s 99.20 percent engagement came from video views. That means comments, likes, and shares only made 0.8 percent of Myntra’s engagement.

If you put the engagement chart and video engagement chart of top 10 startups, the truth will be obvious.

On the other hand, a few startups among the top 10 in above charts performed well in conversation (comments and replies), amplification (shares and retweets), and applause (likes and favourites) parameter.

Ixigo, PayTM, and Happily Unmarried received most comments. BookMyShow, MobiKwik, and Paytm received most shares of their social content. And on applause charts, Craftsvilla, Koovs, and TataCliq stood at the top spots.


If you’re not talking to your customers, there’s no point in being on social media channels. It’s for this reason India’s big businesses like Airtel and Jio have separate Twitter channels for customer service.

Hyperlocal startups are using Twitter to respond to their customers. And Bigbasket is the pioneer. It replied 21,087 times to its audience which comprised of 16 percent of total responses from all the 100 startups.

Horizontal ecommerce startups, despite their funds and resources, were not so active. Travel and horizontal marketplace startups and home furniture startups were more responsive.

Keyword analysis

A lot of startups had suggested that they were moving away from offers and discounts. However, social media tells a different story.

Flipkart used the discount and offer related keywords in 53.8 percent of its tweets. Horizontal ecommerce startups used discount related keywords in 26.94 percent of its tweets. This is followed by fashion and lifestyle and hyperlocal e-commerce startups who used discount related keywords in 19.81 percent and 9.54 percent tweets.

The other major keywords are related to contests. Hyperlocal and horizontal ecommerce startups posted 16.63 percent and 9.16 percent contest related tweets. Shopclues used 26.6 percent of contest-related tweets followed by Nature’s basket and Grofers.


Social media analytics is still not mainstream. At least, not in Indian startup ecosystem. With this report, you can see how you can use social media analytics to unravel your competitor’s communication messages, discover where you are going wrong, and identify opportunities.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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