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Social Media Marketing on a Global Scale – Beyond Facebook and Twitter

Social Media Marketing has emerged as a whole new domain in the marketing industry over the last few years. Social Networking websites have moved a long way from simply connecting family and friends to a platform that’s being used by companies all around the world to market their products. From text ads to banner ads to sweepstakes, a large number of marketing styles and strategies can be found on the social networking sites. The words “Social Networking” and “Social Media” bring the names Facebook and Twitter to most people’s minds, however not everyone knows that while Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world (with over 500 million users), Twitter is not the second. Qzone, a social networking site in simplified Chinese that caters to users in mainland China falls second after Facebook in numbers, while Twitter comes in at a close third place.

Companies that have recently started adopting social media marketing to advertise their products should look beyond Facebook and Twitter depending on their target audience. This becomes more relevant when the product is being marketed globally. Any social networking website with over a million users is not something to ignore when it comes to marketing on the social web. You never know if the potential customer has all his loyalties set with a particular website that is not Facebook or Twitter. Some of the most popular social networking websites, that one may have missed, around the globe are:

  • Badoo – Over 86 million registered users. Popular in Europe and Latin America.
  • Bebo – Over 117 million registered users. Popular in North America, Europe, India, China , South East Asia and Australia.
  • Bigadda – Over 3 million registered users. Popular in India.
  • Black Planet – Over 20 million registered users. Popular amogst African-Americans.
  • Caring Bridge – Around 10 million users, connecting family and friends during serious health event, care and recovery.
  • Classmates.com – 50 Million users. Popular among students in schools and colleges.
  • Cyworld – Over 24 million users. General social networking, popular in South Korea
  • Douban – Almost 50 million registered users. It also the largest online Chinese language book, movie and music database and one of the largest online communities in China.
  • Friends Reunited – Over 19 million users. A popular UK based social networking site targeting school, college, work and sports.
  • Friendster – Over 90 million registered users. Largely popular in Southeast Asia.
  • Habbo – Targeting Teens. Has over 162 million users.
  • Hi5 – Over 80 million users. Popular in India, Mongolia, Thailand, Romania, Jamaica, Central Africa, Portugal and Latin America. Not very popular in the USA.
  • iWiW – Over 4 million users. Popular in Hungary.
  • LiveJournal – Over 18 million users. Mainly for blogging. Popular in Russia and among the Russian-speaking diaspora abroad.
  • Netlog – Over 70 million users. Popular in Europe, Turkey, the Arab World and Canada’s Québec province. Formerly known as Facebox and Redbo.
  • Nexopia – Around 2 million registered users. Popular in Canada.
  • Odnoklassniki – Over 45 million registered users. Popular in Russia and former Soviet republics.
  • Orkut – Over 100 million users. Owned by Google, Inc. Popular in Brazil and India.
  • Qzone – Over 200 million users. Popular in China.
  • Vkontakte – Social Network for Russian-speaking world including former Soviet republics. Biggest site in Russia. Over 110 million users.

For an extended list , you can visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites on Wikipedia.

Even though Facebook is popular in most of the world, the other vastly popular websites should not be overlooked, especially when a company’s target demographic makes up a majority of the social network’s audience.. The demographics of the targeted social networking website, thus play a pivotal role in deciding when and where to market your products and services .

The worldwide connections amongst social friends cannot be ignored either. It’s undeniable that the most trust worthy form of marketing is word of mouth, so you never know when a customer in the USA may be referred to a product, by his friend who saw your ad in India. There are tools all over the web that find out connections and demographics for social media websites. Very recently, Facebook released a cool visualization of the ‘Facebook world’.

Source: Mashable.com
Source: Mashable.com

This is what the world looks like according to the connections amongst a sample of 10 million Facebook users. Facebook intern Paul Butler was interested in locations of friendships, and thus came up with the idea of developing this visualization.

The power of social media marketing is enormous. A better planned global strategy, a better targeted audience, and a wisely chosen set of websites to start with, will add more worth to the buck invested.

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