17.04.2014

Social Networks that Help Reaching Your Business Audience

Social has become fully ingrained into daily activities of many Russians, with millions of 16 to 30-year-olds actively liking, commenting, posting and sharing through a plethora of social communities. Despite the fact that Russia isn't among countries for internet availability, it ranks fourth in Europe in social involvement behind Germany, France and the UK. There are only 20% of active social users in Russia, but they capture new opportunities at a more rapid pace than most other countries around the world.


By nearly every indicator, the level of engagement and Russia's affection of social media is escalating, but for brand building and targeting practices are still at their nascent stages. Most Russian companies have just started to explore the new wave of social adoption. What's important, this position is principally driven by local networking platforms - Vkontakte with 62% active users, Odnoklassniki and MoiMir with 73% and 31% registered accounts respectively. Nearly three quarters of them have moved from homegrown networks to Facebook with 18% Russian audience inspired by the idea of global interaction with brands and celebrities. So, what does it mean for the Russian brand?


A key challenge in delivering the brand message to Russia's audience is difference in social penetration across various demographic groups. To be honest, most Russian companies manage social media profiles, without a plan or even knowing where to reach their audience. For Western brands there's a sole power of Facebook, whereas, in Russia, users are spoilt for choice in many ways. Vkontakte caters to the younger generation with a relatively weak purchasing capacity. Odnoklassniki has brought together adult internet users who get connected to revolve around a number of 'mature' topics. As for Facebook, it is meant for experienced IT, PR and social marketing experts. Figuring out where your target audience hangs out online and where to invest your marketing dollars is, by no means, a good start.


Vkontakte

 

Reach and engagement: 49 million users (70% of the Russian online audience), 239 million registered accounts, 5 hours average daily visit duration


Obviously, if you want to find your way in the Russian market, then creating a presence on Vkontakte is the way to go. Despite poor functionality for brand page customization, Vkontakte has much potential for brand promotion based on posts and discussions. The brand's communication revolves around style-related tips, how-tos, suggestions, product/service descriptions, along with inspirational content, polls, quizzes and contests. Both Pages and Groups can be customized - comments off and on, join the discussion, content upload - to provide a better understanding of what your customers think and feel about your brand.


Even more, a range of targeting settings - home city, jobs, hobbies and political preferences - help you decide who will be on the receiving end of your marketing efforts. With over 40 million communities, Vkontakte is known to be an ideal space for product-oriented campaigns and live conversations on topics that matter to your brand.


Top Russian Vkontakte brands (brand application promotion): Alfa Bank (4 million users), Tinkoff Bank (2.5 million users), KupiVIP (3.5 million users)


Facebook


Reach and engagement: 7.8 million users (24% of the Russian internet users), 0.5 hours average daily visit duration


When Facebook arrived in Russia, Vkontakte lost a relatively small share of users, and those were committed to brand interactions and represented a progressive generation of users compared to an average Vkontakte audience. Among Russian Facebookers, there's a great number of IT and marketing specialists who use the platform to get following around the brand and let people spread the word about its qualities.


  • Facebook brand page, a vital component of a social media campaign that allows interacting with other media platforms. This page can be customized to specific business needs - share business- and industry-related information, cross-promote to company's website, blog and newsletter, build and expand current and future contacts and colleagues.
  • Facebook ads are shown to the target groups of highly engaged users on desktop and mobile devices with a variety of targeting options - location, age, gender, interests and connections. Facebook ads are created to help businesses reach business goals, whether they want to increase sales, generate traffic or attract customers' likes. Many businesses actually succeed in integrating all of them, while combining lead generation with sales.
  • Facebook promotions (timeline/app contests, polls, coupons) can be set up on a Facebook timeline without third-party applications. Per Facebook Promotions, businesses can increase the number of entries by having users like, post or comment on the page, whereas entice current and future page followers to join and interact with the brand.

Top Russian Facebook brands: ESET Nod32 Russia (120,696 users), Nokia Russia (48,314 users), CheapTrip (31,822 users), Moscow Business School (26,517 users), Samsung Russia (17,420 users)


Odnoklassniki


Reach and engagement: 37.8 million users, 65 million accounts, 6 hours average daily visit duration


Odnoklassniki, a part of Russia's largest Mail.ru group corporation, has already reached 43 million users distributed among Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, from 12 to 64 years of age. Almost 20 million of them visit Odnoklassniki daily. Along with community management and online interaction, Odnoklassniki dominates the VOD (video on demand) market with 64 million daily video views. It is the main profit source for Russia's largest video networks - ivi, Tvigle, Zoomby, and Videomore.


As it happens on platforms like Vkontakte and Twitter, community management on Odnoklassniki embraces informative post distribution across brand pages and relative communities with an extensive use of ad-hoc graphics, images and videos. An interesting feature is the ability to study followers of a given community and track what they are doing in real time.


Top Russian Odnoklassniki brands: Sberbank (600,000 users), RuTube (83,876 users), Trendy Mama (44,068 users), Quelle (15,141 users), HTC Russia (7,740 users)


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Even more than a few years before, Russian businesses depend on social networks. With a specific purpose when connecting with the audience, social networks make sense to jump on board and can be a good source of brand promotion for the company's most desired markets.


What they are and what they do - specific people that your brand will resonate with and who will drive your content efforts. Beginning any social media campaign with a strong understanding of your target audience is the best way to effectively deploy messaging across Russia's largest social platforms.