You’re a global company, or maybe a small to midsize business and your marketing your products around the world. For your social media marketing efforts the first natural assumption would be, of course, Facebook. You’d be partially right. But focusing all your efforts on Facebook may mean you’ll miss between 30% and 50% of your target market. While Facebook is certainly the world’s largest, there are hundreds of other social networks like it and they service cultural, special interest and country or region-specific peoples. Here’s what you need to think about;
Orkut - This is the choice for people in Latin America – majority in Brazil. While it has people from other countries, it is a superb channel to reach Hispanics and Latin Americans. Note that Orkut is owned by Google. They are building tight integration with Google+ and it is working.
Google+ - Our research here has found an increasing engagement by Eastern Europeans, Asian countries and the Middle East. In the Middle East it is seen as having more privacy controls than Facebook and being more “trustworthy”.
India: You’ll want to look more closely at Fropper and Ibibo (Ibibo is more games focused) for the top social networks in those countries. Especially amongst youth. In India, Facebook is more often used for international business, students and family members (diaspora) living/working/studying abroad.
hi5 - Yes, it still exists and it’s thriving in Jamaica, Romania, Latin America (the most), Thailand, a bit in India, Mongolia and Central African countries like the DRC. It has also begun to shift more towards games for youth. A trend we see in some of these sites that have no doubt lost some traffic to Facebook.
iWiW – Pretty much exclusive to Hungarians with some Latvians thrown in for good measure.
Nasza-Klasa or NK: Very popular with Polish youth and some Polish diaspora, especially those that study in other countries. Average age is about 25.
Renren – Pretty much China, with the added enjoyment of government overseers so you’ll want to be sure you tout the party line in your marketing efforts here. Remember, Facebook is banned in China, though there are indicators of workarounds and spotty reports you can access Facebook in Shanghai.
Vkontakte – This is Russia’s Facebook and if you really want to reach Russians, this is the channel. Recent reports however, indicate that government may be monitoring this channel. With the upcoming federal elections and protests being organised, we may see a shift to Google+ and Facebook.
Xing – This is the choice mostly of Germans, Austrians and Swiss with a smattering from other European countries. It has also changed its consumer focus to become more targeted to businesses competing with eCademy in Europe.
Zoo.gr - A more game oriented site, but targeting Greek youth and young adults.
NetLog – Another European centric social network. Like Bebo in the UK, NetLog is now targeting youth more and more. Still it is a platform worth looking at if you’re targeting youth in Europe. For some reason it has a good number of Canadians – likely diaspora.
SkyRock - Mostly the French speaking community. France-centric but Skyrock has French and English speakers around the world. It is also popular with former French colonies in Africa.
CaribShout - Want to connect to Caribbeans? This is their social network. Very popular with young adults up to 35 and for dating.
These are the “mainstream” social networks around the world. There are many others, over 200 in fact. Other social networks become increasingly “niche” such as hobbies, sports and special interest (as noted in a previous blog post.) There are a few business focused social networks as well, like LinkedIn and we’ll review those in a future post.
If you’re focus is international, do your research first. Find out where the best opportunity may rest and develop a strategy accordingly. Also consider that many social media monitoring tools don’t access these services and so you’ll need to do that more manually.