How important are Facebook and Twitter in Russia? [Interview]
The Russian digital scenario is quite different than the Western one, with social networks like Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki being way more popular than their American counterparts, with some very specific linguistic and cultural peculiarities.
But what’s the actual importance of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in Russia, especially from a digital marketing perspective? We discussed this with Irina Klishina, a young social media professional operating in a Moscow-based digital agency – which she asked us to not disclose.
Here’s the interview.
– Tell us a bit about yourself: where do you work, what do you do, and what are your professional interests?
I work for the independent digital agency for 4 years as an account manager and lead the projects for the largest russian brands. In my work I prefer the implementation process, when the offer is already approved by the client and the project moves to the implementation phase, where in the end we get beautiful and interesting site/application/programs.
– What are the general basics for creating and growing a brand community on Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki?
It is pretty hard to talk about VK and Odnoklassniki in one scope, it is difficult to compare them. They are very different because of the different functional they have, and the different audience which uses them.
Vkontakte is basically for young people from 11 to 25 years. Odnoklassniki represents adults of 25-50 years, not from such big cities as Moscow or St. Petersburg, yet from the regions. Thus, creating a brand community depends on the image of the brand, its audience and the tasks assigned to the agency.
– What is your opinion about Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in Russia? At the moment, are they useful for social media marketing?
Twitter is a news source, and generally is used by journalists, politicians and people relevant to these spheres. When it just appeared, every 14-years old girl had its own account. But nowadays Twitter is not that popular anymore. Now this platform is used by brands to publish press-releases, news and for the quick reaction on customers questions or complaints.
Facebook in Russia is currently growing and developing. Over the past couple of years the number of Russian-speaking people on this social network has increased several times – now they’re over 8 million.
Basically, it is used by people aged 20-45 years living in the country’s major cities or/and those who have a lot of friends abroad. Facebook is partly considered to be more trendy, a modern business platform, where a large number of brands are trying to work.
Instagram is also pretty popular social network in Russia, but not in the sense of brand activity. Ususally brands use it as an additional communicational channel, like a support, because Instagram has lack of particular functional, limited capacity of content. It could not be a link, or a full-duration video, in fact the only possible way to communicate the customers is a picture with a short text.
As an example, here’s the Starbucks Russia page on Instagram, editor’s note:
– From your point of view, what are the main trends in the Russian Digital Sphere for 2014?
From my point of view, the main trends will be interesting brand content strategies in SMM. Just posting the news, photos, videos is not exiting anymore. In my opinion, it would be interesting for the subscibers to recieve not just regular content, but interesting one, provided in new ways.