What about Uber?
Uber Technologies Inc. is a transport network company founded in the US in 2009. It currently operates in 66 countries and 507 cities worldwide Its main mode of business is through its smartphone app whereby it connects consumers to drivers to transport the customers to their destination. Uber is distinct from regular taxi services in that it allows drivers to use their personal vehicles. In five years, it has come to be valued at $50 billion. Their mission is to provide smart and cheap transportation with one click.
Uber has launched other services like UberEats and UberEvents, but this report focuses on the core business of Uber – their transport service.
Social Media Issues
Uber operates as a network orchestrator like TripAdvisor and Airbnb, in which it coordinates people together without owning physical assets that these peers use . As such, the Network Effect plays a vital role for Uber, where the value of its service becomes higher to others when people join the network. Social media can be the tool that helps to grow Uber’s network given its pervasiveness in society and the number of people connected to it. However, Uber’s social media platforms are sorely lacking in engagement, which will be explained in depth later.
Who Uses Uber?
Consumers in Singapore who are aged 18 – 35, as they would constitute the young and working adult population who require transport in their day to day activities.
While our social media strategy targets customers in this age group, another important stakeholder is Uber’s partners – their drivers. Uber runs the risk of losing drivers to Grab in Singapore.
How Uber can better leverage on social media to improve customer engagement and increase market share?
- Facebook is the most prominent of the three major social media platforms that they are present on, as compared to Twitter and Instagram.
- People felt most engaged by promo codes
- <10% heard of Beethoven, Uber’s value-added service for deaf drivers.
This shows a severe perception gap between consumers and Uber on the company’s brand reputation, which could be explained by the company’s poor usage of social media in Singapore.
Social Media Statistics
More in-depth research was conducted on Uber’s Facebook page engagement during the period between 9th and 23rd September 2016. This two-week period coincided with two of the main events on the Singapore calendar – Ultra Singapore and F1 Singapore Grand Prix. Grab, Uber’s biggest rival in Singapore, coincidentally was the main sponsor of Ultra Singapore.
Two specific metrics were chosen to understand the difference in brand awareness outreach by both companies, Change in Fans as well as Average People Talking About This.
- Grab’s change in fans rate was much higher than Uber’s, peaking during the weekends of the key events that the major events were happening.
- Grab’s PTAT rate, while decreasing, was still significantly higher than Uber.
In summary, it can be concluded that Uber requires a significant revamp of their social media strategies. On top of optimizing content across their different social media platforms, it needs to innovate and reach out to gain new fan followers through publicity events in other events that have yet to be sponsored by their competitor Grab.
Social Media Critique
- No specific content strategy: Uber’s main channel of messaging is Facebook. This content is simply regurgitated on both Twitter and Instagram.
- Lack of sponsorships: Grab has been taking over the major events in Singapore, including Ultra SG and ZoukOut.
- Dismal customer response rate: During the period that we observed Uber’s social media, they had responded to one out of 278 customer complaints, which is extremely low.
- Unfocused Beethoven campaign: The campaign to promote this service was haphazard and unfocused. During that week, there were only two posts about the service, and neither of them contained the word Beethoven.
- Own the word ride.
Similar to how we associate toothpaste with Colgate and photocopying with Xerox, ultimately Uber should be the first thing people think of when they hear the word ‘ride’ or ‘ride-sharing service.
- Improve impression of the brand and market share
Due to unclear pricing policy, unavailability of cars and unreliability of maps used, the image of Uber is tarnished
- Brand community
We felt it was important to build a brand community both off and online, through activities that can be translated onto social media. Once people identify with Uber, they will be loyal to the brand.
- Tech-savvy: People familiar with smartphones and the internet will be more inclined to use an app-based taxi service.
- Youngsters (18+): The rationale is that credit card is a default payment mode on Uber, which we assume mainly people above the age of 18 possess.
Strategy 1 – Uber Treasure Hunt
The treasure hunt is designed to be a biannual event organized by Uber in Singapore. It will engage customers in a fun and exciting setting, allowing interaction beyond the screen.
From the main page, people will be directed to the new page, where they can sign up for the event. The first 200 sign-ups are eligible for a head-start on the hunt. On the day of the event, the first clue will be posted on the Facebook page and Uber’s Twitter account (early sign-ups receive their clue 30 mins early). An Uber-driven car will pick up each participant and drive them from designated place to place as they solve the clues. At each spot, Uber representatives will hand out small goodie bags and the subsequent clue. There will be around seven different spots, the last one of which will be a party for all the participants. Prizes will be in the form of short family vacations, tickets to events in Singapore (such as Zoukout, F1), and large discount coupons.
Strategy 2 – Uber Pub Crawl
As mentioned under the Critique, Uber has been falling behind Grab in terms of events in Singapore and sponsorships. Uber can take it one step further and launch its own. The Pub Crawl is aimed specifically at our target audience – millennials. This strategy seeks to make Uber the preferred ride service for youngsters out late at night.
Uber will work with a number of pubs/bars/clubs to secure entry or discounts for Uber customers. The event will be advertised on Uber’s social media, and a link to register will be found on its Facebook page. Those interested will book an Uber for the night, under a special package, specifying how many hours and which car they want. Luxury cars and limos can be an option as well. One person is eligible to book for six people together, and must indicate names of all for safety purposes. Pick-up on the day of the event will be from one location, but drop-off might be at multiple locations, subject to extra charge. The customer and his/her friends will decide which bars they want to go to and will be driven to each place by their designated Uber driver. The benefit of this is that the group of friends will not have to look for cabs each time, and can continue with the same ride together. The Uber driver will stay with them for the night and ensure that they reach home safely.
Strategy 3 – Message Content
- Posting appropriate content in an organized manner at the correct time would be more effective. For example, photos seem to be Uber’s most engaging posts and videos the least. The most popular time for users is 4-5 pm on Fridays.
- The ‘typically responds within…’ feature of Facebook has not been seen on Uber’s timeline. Hence quickly responding to queries or complaints on Facebook will allow us to compete better with Grab
- Share your Story campaign: An existing initiative by Uber whereby the riders share their positive stories about their rides and their drivers by posting it on Uber’s website.
- Memes: Considering our target audience is 18+ and tech savvy, using contemporary movies or TV shows would be a fresh way to engage with them.
- Promo codes and special days: The National Kitten Day, Earth Day and Women’s day initiatives that were suggested in Strategy 2 will be promoted through visually appealing posts on Instagram.
- A regional or local twitter page for Singapore to respond to the urgent queries of customers. This will help increase the customer satisfaction and provide the best and quick service that Uber is known for.
- Traffic updates, warning of surge pricing and promo codes will optimize Uber’s usage of Twitter.
- Our three strategies include both physical as well as online involvement as we feel this way we would be able to increase not only our likes, shares and followers but build the much needed brand loyalty in the local region.
- To retain our clientele and attract new customers we need to use the power of social media and utilize its potential to the fullest. Hence after careful research we established our third strategy to revamp the content Uber posts on the three main online domains
- To attain our objective of wanting Uber to ‘own the word ride’ we need to implement the mentioned strategies and focus on its social media performance and give the people what they want. After all, social media is not about the business, but the people.
Done by: Jasraj Singh, Julian Joo, Leonard Neo, Aparna Nellore