March 5, 2014

Understanding Russian Social Media: VKontakte & Odnoklassniki

Posted by Frannie Jackson Category IconInternational Category IconSocial Media
#SocialMedia, VKontakte & Odnoklassniki
#SocialMedia, VKontakte & Odnoklassniki

More than just a random ingredient in any online marketing campaign, social media are just as important to international endeavors as well, with ahugeemphasis on localization. In light of the recent Winter Olympics, 2Checkout provided a concise overview Russia’s premier search engine, Yandex. In this post, we’re going to peel back the curtain over Russian social media, an emergent sector in the country’s escalating e-commerce and digital communications. After all, the average Russian citizen spends twice as much time on SM sites than the average American. For any company looking to expand to this revitalized country, your social media tactics should play an integral role.

Home to 70 million Internet users, the Russian Federation boasts some of the fastest growing social media sites in the world. Native networks surpass Facebook and Twitter (with their mere 8 million and 3 million Russian users, respectively) for total users, necessitating Russian networks for online businesses operating in the country. Two social networking sites in particular, VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki, possess the largest populations of Russian Internet users. To help navigate the world of Russian social media, here’s what you need to know about these two platforms.

VK is the largest Russian social network in Europe
VK is the largest Russian social network in Europe

VK

Boasting 47 Million Russian members, VK is the second most popular website in the country. The social networking site operates much like Facebook, even down to its matching logo (a white “VK” on a blue background). While VK possesses traditional social network features — personal profiles, photo-sharing options, etc. — a key facet of the site is the popularity of “groups.” Over 40 million groups exist on VK, making the clusters an ideal place to advertise. If you sell pet products, for example, you can choose to advertise in groups ranging from “Golden Retriever Owners” to “Help Homeless Animals in Sochi.” And unlike an ad placed beside a user’s newsfeed, a group ad appears as a regular post.

In addition to advertising, creating a group for your business is key to growing your audience. Not only will your group extend your consumer base, it will also allow you to track the demographics of your audience. VK provides analytics tools to group administrators, allowing you to learn more about your consumers from their social media habits.

Odnoklassniki is a Russia based social network service that enables classmates and friends to connect
Odnoklassniki is a Russia based social network service that enables classmates and friends to connect

Odnoklassniki

With 40 million Russian users, Odnoklassniki ranks as the second most popular Russian SM site after VK. It resembles VK in terms of features, but the site attracts an older demographic (over 35% of its users fall in the 35 to 44 age range). To gain an audience on the network, create a brand page rather than a group for your business. Odnoklassniki brand pages contain tabs for discussion topics, multimedia sections, and outside links. Photos, videos, and quizzes tend to attract the most activity on brand pages, so pairing informative text with multimedia content ensures that your posts will garner more views and shares. And remember to consistently post new content throughout the day, as Russian Internet users live in nine different time zones.