Vkontakte – Connecting Eastern Europe

February 7, 2014 4:30 pm

So the Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi has started. As with any highly publicised event, we can expect an avalanche of posts concerning the Olympics, posted by people interested in sports – or not.

If you want to do digital business during the Olympics you need to be where the people are. So what should your social media marketing strategy look like? Sure, you’ll have Facebook and Twitter covered. Maybe you’ll create some Olympic sports specific content.

And that’s it, isn’t it?

It’s not actually – if you want to reach the Russian audience, then you might have to get active on another social network: Vkontakte.

Known as the “Facebook of Russia” and online since 2006, Vkontakte (VK for short) is the creation of 29 year old, Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov – unsurprisingly known as “Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg”. The network has, according to the VK website, 100 million active users of whom 58 million use it daily. This makes it the most visited site in Eastern Europe and possibly the biggest social media platform in all of Europe.

But beyond these numbers, what’s so interesting about VK?

Well, it allows users to listen to music and watch movies for free (and not just Disney, rumour has it some R and X rated stuff is going on there) and users can share audio content amongst themselves. These features have turned out to be quite bothersome for the network, having received legal ‘please explains’ from big companies in the music industry; EMI and Sony just to name a few. Putting that aside, VK is a force to be reckoned with in the social media sphere.

For now, if you’re targeting the Eastern European online market, then maybe creating a presence on VK is the way to go. What differentiates VK’s offering is its functionalities; allowing users to upload audio content that gives some extra variation in content creation (that added personal touch).  Add to that, Russians are an active bunch when it comes to social media. In 2010 they spent 9,8 hours a day on VK (making them #1 in the world), so the opportunities for consumer reach are exceptional. A downside could maybe be that the reach spans over nine time-zones, taking time-of-day precision out of the equation. But even Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have his own time machine!

So there you go – there is this enormous platform out there that some of you maybe didn’t even know about. What would your online marketing efforts look like if you included VK in your social media marketing? It’s obviously not all about Facebook or Twitter, but it doesn’t sound too unreasonable to keep track of all the social media movements out there does it? The answer to that question is the same as to so many other questions; it depends. It depends on your product, your target audience and last but not least, on your budget.

So, anyway, the official Winter Olympics Facebook page has almost 200K likes while the VK equivalent has close to 2,5 million followers. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a winter sports fan or not; the Olympics are always a big event and bound to attract a huge following. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and throwing in a social media VK wildcard – it could make wonders for your online marketing strategy.

Have you ever heard of VK before? Got an account?  Which channels do you use to follow major events?


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Image courtesy: Uinny.ru, sammobile.com, wallwidehd.com


  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to avoid digital dead ends

    How to avoid digital dead ends

    Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes? While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them. Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things […]

    Read more →
  • Social Media When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    When the Social Media Circus Leaves Town

    David Bowie died almost two months ago. Soon after, we posted about the tawdry British reality TV show making money from his ex-wife’s reactions. Inevitably, her presence on the show at the time and her response to the news created a social media firestorm. Focus, of course has moved on to the latest deaths, tragedies, political intrigues and sporting victories / defeats. But it’s worth pondering the enduring impact that not being news has on the people who were previously at the centre of […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Chris Rock’s Oscars Lessons for Marketers

    Did you see Chris Rock at last night’s Oscars? Man, he nailed it: loose, funny, topical, irreverent, black. Hang on, what was that? Black? You can’t say that! That’s, that’s, well that’s racist! In isolation it’s jarring to refer to someone’s skin colour or any other personal feature when judging work they’ve just completed. Of course, it’s also completely irrelevant. But let’s back up a bit. This year’s Oscars were all about race. After the nominations were announced in January there […]

    Read more →
  • Entertainment News & Views Surreal Reality TV

    Surreal Reality TV

    Few of us over the age of 40 have not been saddened by the death of David Bowie this week. Whether you liked his music or not, he was undoubtedly an original talent who had a profound impact on much of the culture of the 70’s and 80’s. Contrast the outpouring of love and nostalgia we’re now seeing due to Bowie’s passing with what’s happening on UK’s Celebrity Big Brother. By sheer coincidence, Bowie’s ex-wife Angie is currently a ‘resident’ […]

    Read more →