Social media marketing in Russia: MTS vs. Megafon vs. Beeline
In a situation of high competition, rapidly-evolving technologies and new Internet trends, brands try to communicate with their customers in new and more interactive ways.
We provided an analysis of the digital strategy of three Russian mobile operators and their most interesting campaigns on Vkontakte – the main social network in Russia – and other digital platforms.
- Countries: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia.
- Subscribers: 71,687,898 (source: Rosinvest)
- Followers on Vkontakte: 1,352,189
- Other social networks: Odnoklassniki: (56K followers), Facebook (73K fans) and Twitter (30K followers).
The Vkontakte page of MTS (MTC in cyrillic) links to the Twitter and Facebook community, and to a special web-app giving the option to choose personalised telephone numbers. MTS has 4 VK Applications, including interactive quizzes and photo contests.
Here’s the VK App of photo contest Mobile Ninja:
MTS tries to interact with its customers on Vkontakte a lot. A brief look to the MTS page on VK can give an idea of the overall strategy: the brand is active with several contests, as well as polls and questions. Almost every post has an hashag, among the most used we can mention #mtslove, #MTS_LifeStyle and #МТС_Развлечения (entertainment).
The contents are related to new technologies, current national and global events and holidays. Also, MTS employees are a relevant part of the brand’s communication strategy:
MTS launched a series of viral campaigns integrating online and offline, such as the interactive mobile app Super Summer.
One of the most successful MTS digital campaign involved popular boxeur Nikolay Valuev, and engaged users on Vkontakte, Facebook and Odnoklassniki by connecting them with a very peculiar MTS client: the abominable snow man – better known as the Yeti – which would eventually become friends with Valuey.
The campaing was integrating viral videos, social media apps, guerrilla marketing and traditional media, and reached over 40 million contacts on Russian social media:
- Countries: 83 subjects of the Russian Federation, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Tajikistan.
- Subscribers: 64,072,887 (source: Rosinvest)
- Vkontakte: 439,838 followers
- Odnoklassniki: Russia (57K followers), Tajikistan (36K followers)
- Facebook (60K fans)
- Community on LiveJournal
- Channel on Youtube
During the last weeks, most of the posts are dedicated to the Olympics Games in Sochi, as Megafon is a general partner of the Games. Also, hashtags are used a lot – up to 13 in one post. They could be relevant to Megafon – like #megafon, #мегафон – or related to more general topics – like #sport, #internet, #смотри.
Megafon is talking about the sportsmen, generating really good interaction statistics. For example post about Olga Zaitseva (Russian biathlete) collected 1950 likes, 149 shares and 37 comments only in one day:
The Megafon Vkontakte page shows 3 applications, including a profile test, a service application and a musical contest:
Megafon has also been active with some quite stunning online-to-offline activities: they launched a creative campaign to interact with people in Sochi. The peoples’ faces were scanned with a 3D scanner and were then projected on the building of Megafon in Sochi, with a special 6×8 meters projector.
Beeline is a business unit of VimpelCom operating all over the world; all in all VimpelCom is also present in Canada, Italy (Wind), Algeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
- Countries: Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Gergia, Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.
- Subscribers: 58,103,000 (only Beeline users, source: Vimpelcom)
- Vkontakte: 746,758 followers
- Odnoklassniki: Russia (35K followers), Uzbekistan (517K followers), Kazakhstan (11K followers), Tajikistan (5k followers)
- Facebook: 398K fans
- Twitter: 25K followers
- Channel on Youtube
Beeline communicates to its customers with polls, interesting technological tips, info about events and interactive contests. The page managers almost don’t use hashtags, and the brand is generally using celebrity marketing to engage with followers. This is a poll about Valentine’s Day:
Megafon is a pretty product-oriented company: the only VK app is a service app (image below). Interesting enough, the brand posts job offers on the VK page.
One of the most interesting campaigns digital campaigns of the brand was to sync sounds coming from Beeline users all over the world in one time, so to show the advantages of using Beeline worldwide. The video got almost a million views on Youtube:
Although social networks like Facebook and Twitter are on the rise – especially for international companies – Vkontakte is the main hub of communication for mobile operators that are targeting Russian customers, allowing them to communicate the brand and do customer care activites on the platform – with fairly big numbers.
On a side note, it’s interesting to notice that many telcos are present on Odnoklassniki too, with the aim of reaching specific geographic targets within the Runet.