Ranjani Raghupathi
Jul 19, 2016

You can learn a lot from these 10 brands that excel on social media

Unmetric's Ranjani Raghupathi crunches the data and offers takeaways from 10 brands that succeed consistently.

Glenlivet outperforms its competitors thanks to high-quality photography and excellent use of hashtags.
Glenlivet outperforms its competitors thanks to high-quality photography and excellent use of hashtags.

Strategising for social media isn’t rocket science. Combine content with a publishing schedule, and that’s about it. Or is it? Kevan Lee of Buffer suggests 25 questions to consider before formalising your strategy. While the universe of marketers is still not able to come to a conclusion on whether social-media strategy is an art or science, here at Unmetric we used data to find brands that are performing better than others.

In this article, we take a look at 10 of the top brands from Asia and analyze what they do right.

1. Glenlivet Singapore

Glenlivet Singapore consistently performs above average on Instagram. Since the beginning of the year, its engagement has almost been twice that of the average for alcoholic beverages brands in Asia.

On a closer look at the brand’s content, all of its posts consist of professional product shots that create a sense of aspiration. No iPhone clicks from the social-media manager here.

The brand also uses multiple hashtags in its descriptions. Given hashtags enable better discovery, it leads to better visibility and engagement. While the aesthetic appeal of the images catching the audience’s attention, the hashtags increase reach.

Takeaway: Professional images on Instagram retain the audience's attention, while using multiple hashtags helps increase visibility. Getting the right photographs is a big part of a successful social-media content strategy and 46 percent of marketers say photography is critical to their marketing strategy.

2. Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport is one of the top brands in Asia with high performing content on all social networks. The airport has an average engagement score higher than the industry on all networks and even its average reply time is less than two hours.

Changi's content strategy is spread across various topics and formats. While it gets full engagement on contests, it also has posts that encourage participation, inform travellers of airport news and even entertain its community.

Changi's strategy offers something for everyone. Since its community demographics are diverse and spread across the globe, this works in its favour.

Even if its content is inward, its quirky sense of humour gives it a lift.

With content that encourages participation, the airport has been able to engage its community on Instagram as well.


If I could travel right now, I would fly to _________.

A photo posted by Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) (@changiairport) on

No wonder Changi followers were really supportive when the airport was awarded the best in the world.

Takeaway: Understand your community demographic before arriving at a content strategy. Contests work very well for airports on social media.

3. Amul India

Real-time marketing has been a buzzword in recent times. However, Amul’s strategy has always been very tactical and current, with its topical cartoons appearing in the paper the very next day. The brand has managed to translate this to social media as well.

From global topics like the Oscars...


#Amul Topical : Actor finally gets his Oscar! #Revenant

A photo posted by Amul (GCMMF) (@amul_india) on

...to locally relevant respectful content...

Amul’s age-old strategy of staying current has paid off in terms of catching its community’s eye. Many believe that the industry has moved from real-time marketing to right-time marketing and that only makes content like this even more valuable. What’s more, 98 percent of marketers report a positive return on their real-time marketing investments.

Takeaway: Newsjacking and real-time marketing on social media can bring in great results, but the planning shouldn’t be real-time. Check out the book Trendology on how to create a real-time marketing strategy for your brand.

4. Elephant House Sri Lanka

The ice-cream chain has a small community and keeps it entertained with a good mix of humour, drool-worthy photos of its products and holiday greetings. The photos might not be on par with Glenlivet’s professional shots, but they are certainly authentic.

A recent campaign for the launch of a new flavour for Ramadan performed best:

Prior to the launch, the brand used multiple posts to build up excitement:

The brand was able to capitalise on audience excitement with multiple teaser posts. Given content like this can encourage store walk-ins and even generate revenue, it becomes a crucial part of a launch strategy.

Takeaway: Before a launch, give plenty of sneak peaks to keep your community excited.

5. Maybelline Malaysia

In 2016, Maybelline generated more retweets than the average personal care brand. Doing a deep dive into its social profiles, almost every single tweet contained a hashtag.

Hashtags have become a whole new language thanks to social media. What originally started as a way to curate content around topics now anchors entire brand campaigns. In its own research into the phenomenon of hashtags, Twitter found that tweets with hashtags get up to 50 percent more engagement. However, that begs the question, what’s the right hashtag?

Though the brand used other hashtags, #MaybellineMalaysia and #makeithappen topped the engagement charts. The brand’s Twitter community has used the hashtags more than 1,800 times. Given “Make it Happen” is Maybelline’s current tagline, it consolidates all the brand's content under a single umbrella. This builds positioning and also aids recall.

While many studies prescribe different lengths and frequencies for hashtag usage, only a structured trial will help you find the ideal hashtag that’s both valuable to your brand and audience.

Takeaway: Hashtags that are either taglines or have strong recall value engage better than others.

6. KFC India

KFC makes its content appeal to its audience with well-composed images and direct mentions of the cost of the menu item. Often when it comes to QSR brands, price is the ultimate factor, and being able to show value for money is something that the audience cares about.

However, the smartest component of KFC's strategy is its post timing. The brand posts more around lunch time and snack time—which is when its prospects are most likely to walk into a store.

Timing strategy can be tricky; it differs based on your brand, industry and community. Closely monitor engagement patterns to identify when your audience is most active. Don’t forget to take into consideration your brand’s KPIs (store walk-ins, link clicks etc) while deciding on a posting schedule.

Takeaway: Timing is a key part of strategy. The best time to post varies from brand to brand. Brands should be mindful of their audience's habits and patterns. For example, beer brands know that more people drink in the evenings, so they might find higher engagement by posting later in the afternoon.

7. Marina Bay Sands

One of the biggest things we can learn from Marina Bay Sands is to understand the optimum frequency of content publishing. Brand content is easy to miss given the curated newsfeed structure of most social networks, where not all content is shown to users. If you think bombarding your audience with multiple pieces of content per day will help you beat the challenge, there is a good chance that you can turn them off.

Marina Bay Sands has an optimum posting frequency of three tweets a day and one post a day on Facebook.

The resort's content itself is centered on events and special guests arriving at the property. Much like celebrity endorsement, such posts capitalise on the clout of celebrities to get the brand better results.

With its content being periodic and exclusive, the hospitality brand mostly receives positive sentiment from its community.

Takeaway: Frequency of content is as important as the content itself. For social networks like Twitter where content can be lost in the noise just minutes after posting, consider scheduling multiple tweets throughout the day.

8. ASUS Malaysia

While social media is all about building relationships, it’s also about driving sales. ASUS Malaysia’s content doesn’t just talk about its products but also makes it easy for viewers to buy what they see with a link to the brand's store.

Some of their top performing content was promoted on Facebook. These were also the posts with links to the online stores.

Even on Twitter, the brand's youthful content leads the viewer to a point of sale:

Research shows that 71 percent of consumers are likely to purchase an item based on social-media referrals. With such a large percent of shoppers ready to spend money and making buying decisions, making the process frictionless becomes crucial to increasing sales through social media. More importantly, if you’re putting money behind a certain piece of content, consider doing it on the ones that are capable of bringing you back the money.

Takeaway: Add links to an e-store to make purchase decisions more seamless, especially on posts that you promote.

9. Coca-Cola Philippines

The beverage brand’s content predominantly consists of images or videos rather than links, and these engage the best.

The brand posts in the local language to appeal to its audience on a more personal level, and that has definitely worked in the brand’s favor. Not only does its content perform well above industry average, it also receives high positive sentiment.

The brand follows the same pattern and uses local language on its other geo-targeted pages as well. Most brands in the Philippines post in English. However, some successful brands like Nescafe and McDonald’s also use the local language and get high engagement.  

Takeaway: Multi-national brands might find that they can connect better with their audience when they use the local language. If giant brands like Coca-Cola and Nescafe can do it, no one can say that their brand is too big to not do it!

10. Wonder Cement

While many B2B brands may be considered boring, Wonder Cement breaks the stereotype. For starters, Wonder Cement is one of the very few B2B brands to even have a presence on Instagram.

Its content on social causes and showcasing its team has given it high engagement.

Even though the brand has a very small follower base on Instagram, it has been able to grow it by over 200 percent since the beginning of the year.

Many B2B brands struggle with creating a connection with their target group. However, in this age, where brands behave like people, it’s important to showcase a human side.

Takeaway: Portray the human side of your brand to make content more relatable.


We see that behind each successful brand, there is a strong strategy rooted in brand guidelines and community preferences. Creating a social-media strategy might not be rocket science, but it definitely involves creative thinking and data-powered insights. 

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