Canon and Nikon are the two biggest titans in the imaging business, combining for over 50% of the Digital SLR camera market. Yet, as I will explain in this blog post, their social media strategies vastly differ from each other.
While the Nikon Facebook page is established by the regional subsidiary Nikon USA in December of 2007 with 2.23 million followers (as of April 2014), no official Canon Facebook was established until October of 2010 by Canon USA, and it has a pitiful 343 followers, though I should mention there is an unofficial Canon Camera Facebook fan page with 1.2 million followers. In large multi-national corporations, it is not uncommon for a large and influential regional subsidiary to take the lead on PR and marketing initiatives and then let the parent follow, this is evident here as both brand’s parent company are not very active on the social media front. However, in an official capacity, Nikon is much, much, more active in their Facebook contents than Canon, publishing promotional deals, industry events/announcements, tips and lessons. Canon USA’s Facebook page has almost no official content by comparison, whatever little traffic it has are generated by other users, it is pretty much a ghost town. The same story is told on the Twitter front, Nikon has 118K followers versus 14.6K followers for Canon. Again I should mention there is an unofficial Canon Camera Twitter feed that has 176K followers.
At a first glance from the Facebook and Twitter comparisons, one would argue that Nikon is wiping the floor with Canon on the social media campaigns. How can that be? We know Canon actually has a bigger Digital SLR market share than Nikon (30% vs 25%), so why would Canon allow Nikon have 10 times the amount of social media presence? I would argue that it may be an intentional PR strategy for Canon to rely on the fans to do the talking. If you search for “Canon Facebook” or “Canon Twitter”, the most popular Facebook/Twitter pages returned by Google are not the official pages established by the corporate, but 3rd party pages where there seems to be a tightly-knit community built around the brand and its products by its fans. In contrast, “Nikon Facebook” or “Nikon Twitter” leads to official social media pages established by Nikon (USA), where Nikon officially “drives” the fan interactions.
For Instagram and Pinterest, there are no official presence for Canon, while there are some from Nikon’s smaller regional subsidiaries such as Nikon Australia and Nikon Italia, but the traffic and user base is almost negligible on the global front. On Youtube, both brands have massive presences with tutorials and product/feature introductions. However, the premier (most popular) Canon Youtube channel is established by Canon USA while its counterpart at Nikon is established by Nikon Europe. The Nikon USA Youtube page has one-eighth of the presence of Nikon Europe’s Youtube page. This tells me that both brands’ social media strategy seems to be fragmented. It looks like the corporate parent has dished out this responsibility to the regional subsidiaries, but it appears to be inconsistent at the global level. It is not clear which region is the trail-blazing leader in social media as one region could be the trendsetter on Youtube while another is the trendsetter on Facebook. This gives a confusing vibe for the end user. As a USA customer, I do not want to go to a Youtube channel that is specifically tailored for European customers’ tastes. Thus I would recommend both companies to establish official social media channels at the global level, and then redirect users to the localized channels as needed.