Although Russian use of the Internet and social media is high enough to warrant the country’s ranking as the fourth largest social networking market in Europe, Russians are using homegrown versions of social media apps. Sharing varying degrees of similarity with social media tools used in the United States and other countries, the Russian applications have been customized to the local market and feature Russian-language interfaces. Their popularity makes it essential for marketers to have a good understanding of the social media structure and applications available in Russia, and how they are being used. (Hint : Facebook probably won’t cut it, but Odnoklassniki and Vkontakte likely will. Ditto for LiveJournal, chosen by President Dmitry Medvedev as his blogging platform earlier this year.)
As with traditional tools and campaigns, marketers must ensure that they are catering to the local audience on their terms, deftly navigating local social and political waters to gain stakeholders’ trust and deliver the goods and services they need and want. For brands wanting to use social media to reach audiences in the Russian market, the results would well be worth the effort.