Social media localization & content strategies
Stop for a second and ask yourself: When was the last time you checked your Facebook? If the answer is “more than one day ago”, consider yourself special – you are different from 65 % of Facebook users. But it’s not just Facebook. We are surrounded by dozens of social networks. Which SocNets we use depends then not only on our interests, but also on the culture we come from. So without further ado, let’s dive into those that are most popular across the globe.
One Facebook to rule them all
It hardly surprises anybody that when talking about the number of users, Facebook is the unquestionable king of social networks. With more than 2 billion users worldwide, out of which every tenth one comes from the USA, it outbeats 2nd YouTube by 300 millions users. It is the number one social network in most of the European countries including the big economies of France, Germany or United Kingdom, as well as in Africa.
In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram and thus strengthened its leading position not only in terms of social networks, but also as the biggest player in the field of so-called “paid socials“. Indeed, Facebook PPC system is one of the most developed ones, offering various ways of targeting based on Facebook’s data. Despite recent troubles with the issues of free speech, one can’t really expect Facebook losing its leading position any time soon.
Social networks in China – divide and conquer
Unfortunately, life is not so simple as to offer only one platform to share the pictures of our pets on. China is a great example of a place where we can see a clash of several social networks, fighting over each one of approximately 1,4 billion potential users.
Qzone officially launched in 2005, originally aiming to be rather a blogger platform than a social network. Its functionality is quite similar to the one of Facebook, yet obviously much more limited. Unlike Facebook, Qzone offers a paid feature – after purchasing what’s called “yellow canary diamond”, you are allowed to customize your profile much greater deal than before, add music etc.
However, this platform has never been very interesting from the marketing point of view and great deal of its income was created by games and in-build applications. That’s one of the reasons why Qzone is slowly cannibalized by its more progressive sibling WeChat. This somehow omnipotent online app can do everything from mobile payments to instant messages. WeChat has rather developed e-commerce features, however, people often criticize it for its censorship towards politically inappropriate issues. Censorship is generally quite a big problem on the Chinese market. If you want to avoid penalties and needless struggle, be sure to consult specialists.
China also has its own Twitter, yet perhaps a bit simplistic version of it. Sina Weibo might seem quite confusing to western visitors, but with 340 million users it beats Twitter on the Chinese market (which is, to me completely fair, pretty restrictive to the ever-so-popular blue tweeting birdie). If you want to see more Chinese social networks, try Youku (video hosting service), RenRen (popular mainly amongst students) or Douban (place mainly for creating culture-related content).
Facebook? Nyet, I’d prefer VK
Russians always tend to rely on themselves rather than rolling with a flow. In a country where Lada is the best-seller amongst cars and Yandex actually beats Google, it is understandable that even Facebook has to step aside. And who’s the emperor of Russian online social environment?
Meet VKontakte, or simply just VK, the most popular Russian social network and the 9th most visited website in the world. With almost 70 % of its users being Russians, content localization is a must for any foreigner who wants to succeed. VK also has its own PPC system and pretty functional, yet sometimes censorship-burdened e-commerce environment.
Apart from the above-mentioned Russian audience, the VK users are from 6,66 % Ukrainian. And where did all the remaining Ukrainians go? Very likely to Odnoklassniki, originally Russian social platform reuniting old friends and former classmates. It is also commonly used by people from the Caucasus area and features a functional advertising environment.
There’s more in Asia than meets the eye
You might think there can’t be any more social networks with more than a few dozens users. Thinking that would, however, be a huge mistake and a cause of your potential international blunder. In Japan, prepare yourself for Mixi, used by 14 % of Japanese citizens. Orkut used to be pretty famous in many countries including India, Iran and Brazil before Google shut it down. And after Google shut Orkut down, many new social platforms appeared, among others Cloob, to fill in on the Iranian market.
The bottom line is, there are many fish in the social sea. And if you want to use them to your full advantage, you need to take your time to work on your international branding strategy so that you approach your new customers the way they understand. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. Let us know in case you need somebody to take care of your global expansion – we’ll figure something out.