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SMM brand promotion in Russia



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Good day!

When talking about entry into Russian market, we should mention such a marketing tool as social media. For today, some resources that connect people are more effective than all the traditional mass media.

Let’s review what kind of social media is popular among Russian people, and how you can promote your brand, goods and services using these resources.

To begin, here is some information about Russian social media:

The leading social media in Russia is:

«Vkontakte» is the most popular social media in Russia. It has more than 220,000,000 registered users. More than 60% of its users are older than 25 years.

More than 47,000,000 people visit this site every day. Vkontakte’s record is 50,000,000 visitors in one day.

«Odnoklassniki» is social media that was created for the search of ex-classmates.

As of today it has 124,000 Runet users. 58% of its audience is people who are between 20 and 40 years old.

It has almost 40,000,000 visitors daily

Мой мир (moimir) is social media from Russia`s largest Internet company,

Its audience is 18,600,000 visitors per month according to the data from TNS for June, 2011)

«Facebook» is social media that is popular all over the world. Historically, Facebook users from Russia are graduates who know the English language. Many of them are businessmen or top-managers from different-level companies. Today, the Russian Facebook audience is almost 8,400,000.

Just like «Facebook», “Twitter”, (a short message service), is not popular social media in Russia.

The Russian audience of this social media is 5,300,000 users (as of July, 2013).

Besides this, there is a certain social media that is gaining popularity in Runet and all over the world- Instagram. It has about 100,000 users.

Below you can find the top-5 most popular social media sites in Runet, according to audience data. Also, there is information about the time that was spent by users there.

SMM strategy: to be friends or to sell

At the beginning of a brand promotion campaign in social media, you should choose the promotion strategy. For this you should answer 4 questions:


  •     For whom are you doing it?
  •     Why are you doing it?
  •     What are you doing?
  •     Where are you doing it?

Many companies make the same mistakes when they are planning their campaigns in social media. Firstly, they are just ‘ticking the boxes’, to do it as competitors do. The result is a “dead” community without an audience interested in it, and no effect from the SMM. Secondly, companies come to sell, obsessively and ineffectively. The result is the same as in the first case.

The latest discoveries and developments show that users are interested in useful and interesting content, but not in advertisements (advertisements that they are used to seeing daily) – you can see it in the diagram below.

If you analyze an activity of Samsung Russia in social media (by the way, this is one of the most popular communities on “Vkontakte”), you can see, that it is a ‘friend’…

…and a seller at the same time, is combining business with giving useful information to customers – for instance, a detailed overview of the smartphone*.

*it is written in the picture – “Relax, Monday is gone away”

*it is written in the picture – “Samsung Mobile – Samsung smartphone overview – Samsung GALAXY Win Duos by”

Social media: challenges

Social media allows companies to complete different promotion tasks at the same time. Let’s review the general points:


Social media is not only entertainment, but also sells as well. Sales, special offers, new collections – just a piece of information about these attractions sells products.


If you publish some interesting materials in social media sites, for instance, an announcement of a corporate article on your weblog, then some interested users may visit your site.

Autonomous sell

In some cases, the sales of goods are to be made at the sites of social media directly, and you can get information from the sales manager about contacts to existing internet-shops.


If you are friends with your client, then you have a reason to constantly be in touch with the customer – publishing some interesting content or information about sales, sales stimulated by competitions, information about some innovations, etc.


One of the most important tools of social media is the opportunity to share your experience with other users. Some popular people in specific spheres can effectively advertise you, re-posting you from your page with some comments-references about the purchase of your goods or services.


Definitively, social media is the ideal place for branding. You can improve recognition of your brand; inform some users about your company, its products and events; and also, you can improve your brand loyalty.

Brand defenders

Brand loyalty is the main goal of friendship in social media. Satisfied clients (if they have become fans of your brand) will be your unconscious defenders when negative opinions arise.

*it is written in the picture – “Every brand defender will gain you 3 clients.

The man says: ‘Buy this!’. They answer ‘Ok!’

Neutralizing the negative

Social media helps you to build up relationships not only with positive minded users, but also with an audience who is not so positive. For instance, it could be a client, who is not satisfied with the goods or services of the company, - his opinion you should analyze very carefully.

Another instance would be if you were the victim of a mud-slinging campaign from your competitors.

And, of course, you should not forget about so called “trolls”, for whom it is a pleasure to spread negative information and to receive its feedback.

SMM cost: for what should you pay?

Typically, social media has different kinds of tools for promotion for groups or public pages, or promotion for specific goods or services.

In such social media as “Vkontakte”, “Odnoklassniki”, [email protected] or “Facebook” you can use contextual advertising or target advertising.

Target advertising is orientated to the specific characteristics of the audience — location, gender, age, family status, and interests.

Below you can find a questionnaire for target advertising in “Vkontakte”.

In the same way you can set contextual advertising in other social media.

Pricing in SMM is analogous to the methods of pricing in search engines, which we discussed earlier.

You may choose a payment for transition from your advertisement or a payment for show. If you pay for a click, you will get a more relevant (i.e. target) audience.

The price for transition is specified by the quantity of chosen characteristics (the more quantity, the more expensive a click price), and also by the quality of chosen characteristics (the more often the users transit from your advertisement, the cheaper a click price).

There are also other kinds of advertisement in social media. For instance, you can buy so-called promo-posts (or promo-tweets) in Facebook or in Twitter. In this case, the user of the social media publishes the post for his friends. The price in this case depends on the quantity of subscribers of the page. Besides paid advertisement, you (probably) should take into account some expenses for staff. Who will create a publishingplan, make posts, gather information for analysis, and control comments? You could appoint one of your employees to this position (so SMM will include the salary of the specialist) or you can outsource this (so SMM will include this fee).

Break even: free of charge methods of promotion

You have the possibility to promote your brand free of charge and to not pay for an advertisement in social media.

Firstly, this is the content of your page. If it is interesting for users, they will share it with their friends – will make re-posts from your page. Interesting articles, photos, pictures or video are the main connection with users from any social media.

Secondly, to promote your page (i.e. to promote your brand, services or goods), you could organize competition content. The competition could be in any form- from deciding the winner from commentators on your post in a random way, to a quest, for instance, searching for some objects in your sales outlets.

This is an example of a competition that was organized in Instagram by the hotel chain “Four Seasons”:

For database creation, you could use such a method of promotion in social media as advertising of your community to an outsider’s page. Such methods can be known as “shareware”, it depends on the managers of the community or public page, with whom you negotiate.

To start an advertising campaign in any social media, you should take just 7 steps. We have made a quick checklist: what you should do to promote your brand in Russian social media.

Checklist: 7 steps to start an SMM campaign

1. Draw up a list of important goals, which you want to achieve with the help of SMM.

2. Think about the main characteristics of your target audience: social, demographic, behavioral, psychological, and professional.

3. Decide where you should seek your audience.

4. Register with extremely popular pages.

5. Think about the subjects that are the most interesting for your audience.

6. Estimate your budget.

7. Think about labor resources: whom do you need? Content-manager, moderator, IT administrator, designer, copywriter… Which is easier – to involve your staff or to outsource to some companies?

We would like to bring your attention to the White Paper 'Digital marketing in Russia 2015. Finding your customers on the internet in Russia — how to go about this'. You can download it for free on the link below:

Best regards,

Vadim Tylik

Russian Digital Market Overview 2023

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About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

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