For many people in the developed world, and in some developing countries like South Africa, the overwhelming social network is Facebook. That was my view until I spent some time in Odessa, Ukraine. Then I was introduced to a different world where Facebook, and others like Google, are not the preferred social network. From a marketing point of view this creates a challenge as it makes the selection of channels more difficult.
In the Russian speaking world the common Internet applications that are the equivalent of Facebook and Google search are vKontakte (English version here) and Yandex (English version here). In a post about social business around the world, Dion Hinchcliffe mentioned the challenge of “social balkanization” that different social networks are creating. The Economist also has an analysis of the Internet business in Russia.
Dion Hinchcliffe reminded his western readers:
… the Asia and Eastern European world of social networking looks quite different than it does here in the United States.
Companies that aspire to be global have to recognise that not only must they deal with the proliferation of western Internet channels – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus – but also different channels that predominate in other parts of the world.
Welcome to marketing in the 21st century. Please share your experiences if you have used the non-western social networks, particularly for marketing.