When it comes time to expand your U.S.-based company into international markets, you are going to want to use social campaigns to build brand awareness. While Twitter and Facebook are huge outside of the United States, they are not the only players in town in the world of international social media. Before you begin your international campaign, familiarize yourself with five social networks that are huge outside of the United States.
In China, popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter are banned. In response, homegrown Chinese social networks have become big business. One of the most popular Chinese social sites is Qzone. Qzone users can blog, access media, and like other social sites, customize their own pages to reflect their own unique interests. If you plan on expanding into China, Qzone is a great place to start.
While U.S. social sites are not banned in Japan like they are in China, Japan’s own social networks still dominate the Japanese market. Line is the most popular social network in Japan. Line is similar to messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp. It allows users to send text messages and media to their friends over the phone.
Badoo is a truly international social network. The popular dating network is based in London, and owned by a company in Cyrpus that is owned by a Russian entrepreneur. The site is very popular in the Mediterranean and South America. While it’s necessary to be aware of Badoo if you move into a market where the site is popular, be wary. Badoo makes heavy use of automatic messaging to its users email lists creating what might be considered spam.
VK, formerly VKontakte, is the eighth most popular social network in the world and the second most popular network in Europe. VK is particularly popular in Russia and Eastern Europe. VK is similar to sites like Facebook in that it users to create profile pages and share content with their networks publicly or privately.
Sina Weibo (China)
In the United States, you will sometimes hear marketers discuss the Chinese site “Weibo.” Weibo is actually a Chinese term for microblogging sites and there are several “Weibos” in China. The most popular is Sina Weibo. Sina Weibo is like a Chinese version of Twitter with some of Facebook’s functionality built in. Its market penetration in China is comparable to that of Twitter in the United States.