As you know, Social Media Club is a global organization that exists in many different countries worldwide. Recently, we had the idea of exploring our neighboring chapters by doing short articles about them. So, I took to the web to find out what has been happening in Europe.
This, however, proved to be more difficult than expected. The .org website lists dozens of European chapters, but few of them remain active today. Short of being founded by a mysterious someone, several chapters never seemed to have posted or organized anything at all (not that I could find, at least). Others did, but their latest posts dated back to 2010. So, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Social Media Clubs that were active in their country.
I decided to begin this narrative of sorts with Moscow. This is a chapter that seems to be prominent in the world of social media in Russia. Online, its home base is on Facebook – where its page is frequently updated, most notably with videos of the conferences it organized. There are also many useful articles posted on its wall.
In fact, Social Media Club Moscow’s Facebook page has the largest number of fans among all chapters. It is only second to the Social Media Club page that is dedicated to the club as a whole. In terms of monthly increase in fans, SMCM has actually surpassed the main page. (SMCM vs. SMC)
What really impressed me about Social Media Club Moscow is that it is truly a place where members can share their ideas and expertise. There are many posts from members asking one another for advice on this subject or that. There are even posts by people who are looking for social media professionals to hire. All in all, SMCM truly offers a platform for its members to interact and collaborate.
So, what is going on with social media in Russia?
The state of social media in Russia
Much like in the rest of the world, social media is a new concept in Russia. Its growth has been enormous, with 89% of Russian internet users having a social media account. Everybody is experimenting with this emerging domain, but few actually are successful in harvesting its power. Companies fight to increase their presence in social media, often not because they know how it will benefit them, but because it is cool, and above all, cheap. The overall theme of social networking seems to be relative uncertainty.
The same is true for the Russian market for social media managers. Here, there is an overall deficit, so companies are sometimes forced to improvise. Some choose to hire bloggers with little to no media management experience, but a good understanding of social networking sites. Others prefer knowledgeable professionals, who do not come from a social media background, but can learn. The end results are mixed.
No definite salary standard has been established yet, with managers being offered anywhere from 30,000 to 150,000 rubles. Often, the pay does not reflect a level of experience, as copanies have to offer a larger sum of money simply to convince a social media manager working elsewhere to instead work for them. Even when hired, social media managers do not tend to stay at their jobs for very long, the average being only 6 months.
The basics: major players
In Russia, world-known social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter take the back seat to the more popular Russian alternatives – VKontakte.ru and Odnoklassniki.ru. Largely resembling Facebook, VKontakte (“v kontakte” meaning “in touch” in Russian) has a major advantage in that it integrated a filesharing technology, which allows users to post music and videos directly onto the site. In fact, it rivals YouTube as the most popular video hosting and distribution platform in Russia.
Major videohosting sites (based on the number of visits a month). This is one of the slides in Ilya Korneev’s presentation for SMCM on Effective Viral Marketing.
Then there is Odnoklassniki. Created as a way to connect with former and current classmates (“odnoklassniki” = “classmates”), it allows users to locate people by school, look at and rate their pictures, and monitor their activity in a Facebook-esque news feed. It offers fewer and less innovative features than VKontakte, but still ranks high in popularity and remains a major part of social media management strategy for Russian companies.
On which social media sites do you have an account? In order: VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Other. http://cossa.ru/1130
Finally, social media marketing (SMM) also takes place in the blogosphere. In addition to several popular bloggers, such as Goblin and Tema Lebedev, LiveJournal is the place to consider for your social media campaign.
There are, of course, many, addressing all kinds of different objectives and issues. I will not get into all of them. But I do want to mention one global theme that I have noticed several experts propagate as I read through videos and articles posted by Social Media Club Moscow. They emphasized the importance of truth.
The reality is that with the arrival of social media, marketing false information and trying to trick customers is a strategy bound to fail. It is too easy for customers to expose a lie; the internet holds companies accountable for everything they say, online and off. Therefore, the best way to gain the customers’ loyalty is to be truthful: share correct information via Facebook, and respond sincerely to questions on Twitter.
Interesting conferences, helpful articles, platform for sharing. Social Media Club Moscow is a thriving chapter of the Social Media Club. As social media itself is a relatively new concept, the club has truly become a part of its evolution in Russia.
Information gathered from Social Media Club Moscow’s Facebook page and cossa.ru
Image credit: http://members.virtualtourist.com/