IAE GRENOBLE          Challenges and      opportunities of social      networks for brands in        the BRIC countries.  ...
ContentsExecutive summary ...................................................................................................
7.2.2         In the context of social media strategy .......................................................................
11.        Main differences and similarities between countries ..............................................................
I would to like to thank my Tutor, Ms. Helme-Guizon who offered meher support in both the definition and the execution of ...
Executive summarySocial media has become an important part of our daily lives, both inprofessional and personal contexts. ...
1. Research questionWhat are the challenges and benefits associated with a social media strategy for companieswishing to i...
3. Key concepts   3.1         ConceptsDuring this research a certain number of key concepts have been used. It is not poss...
3.2        Research schemeThe following scheme offers a visual representation of the key notions used throughout thisstudy...
Trust              Social    e-reputation    media       interactivity             strategy              notoriety        ...
4. Desk research    4.1          Origin of social mediaIn an article titled “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, an...
At the end of the eighties, in 1988, another tool was developed that allowed communicationover a network of people called ...
with company Comscore reporting important increase in terms of visitors in 20123. Anothersimilar successful social network...
Comments and feedback                         Imagine and create                                   Observe, attribute and ...
Sender                              Gatekeeper                     Audience        (company)                           (co...
According to the same book, people generally speaking engage in social media mostly to:    Promote themselves    Share n...
When it comes to social media strategy in emerging countries, it offers the opportunity to notonly be less expensive than ...
This rules preconize that the most helpful and popular users be rewarded for their help. Thiscan take the form of a privat...
Like in all marketing strategy, it is important to define clearly goals desired from a socialmedia strategy such as reputa...
social media went from 27 percent in wave 1 to 74 percent in wave 5 which was carried justfour years later. Figures given ...
by many users on a social media. The same users are also more likely to like or follow mostbrands on Facebook most notably...
year consumer and investor confidence rose to 7.5% reaching the highest growth rate for thiscountry in the past 25 years.1...
As for the future, a new instance created in 2011 and called the secretariat for digital inclusion(SID) will implement a p...
Even though Russia was one of the countries hardest hit by the global economic crisis, theywere able to recover somewhat i...
Moimir and Odnoklassniki with both Twitter and Facebook gaining ground in this country aswell.As for the future, there has...
Perhaps a testimony of its importance at the international level today, India became anonpermanent seat in the UN Security...
estimate from 2010 over 50% of enterprises using social media were successful in expendingtheir customer base through digi...
6.5 China       6.5.1 General presentation of ChinaThe Peoples Republic of China is a country located in Asia with a popul...
6.5.2 Internet and Social media in ChinaInternet penetration is estimated at 38.4% with 513,100,000 Internet users as of D...
Moreover, social media specific to China are thought to be generally more advanced thantheir western counterpart. For exam...
7.1.2 In the context of social media strategyFacebook offers companies two ways of marketing themselves:          Creatio...
7.2 Twitter       7.2.1 Generalities             Twitter was created in 2006 and with more than 500 million users in June2...
7.3 Qzone (QQ)     7.3.1 Generalities                         Qzone was created in 2005 by Tencent, a company who also own...
RenRen page screenshotconnections known as “friend” and a number of third party applications. It also offers anumber of fe...
users as brands would have to have some kind of buzz in order to be feature in this sectionwithout being commercially prom...
7.6 Sina Weibo     7.6.1 Generalities                               Sina Weibo (Sina microblog) was created in 2009 and is...
Sina Weibo homepage       7.6.2 In the context of social media strategyMuch like Twitter, one of the advantages of Sina We...
7.7 Odnoklassniki       7.7.1 Generalities                                        Odnoklassniki (classmates) is a Russian ...
though it is the leader on this market, VKontakte is facing problems like spamming in whichhackers regularly enforced user...
individuals and organization to express opinions that can be derogatory to a brand especiallyif it turns into a wave of ba...
Research hypothesis 2:Social media users in BRIC countries are likely to engage deeply with a brand online.In relation to ...
In the questionnaire, we will assess if BRIC consumers are likely to respond to said buzz byfor example following a brand ...
This section is comprised of questions related to their most preferred social media and allrelated questions such as on wh...
From this point on it was clear that this strategy was not going to work for this study. Thesecond idea was to therefore i...
10.1        Filter questionsThis questionnaire was distributed to a selection of random respondents. In order to make sure...
34.1% of the subsequent respondents declared not following brands by means of social media,like the precedent question, th...
During the distribution of the questionnaire, Indian respondents that were sent thequestionnaire were in general the most ...
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.
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[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.

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Social media has become an important part of our daily lives, both in professional and personal contexts. Indeed with 1.2 billion users worldwide representing 82% of the online population, it is more popular than internet activities such as email and online shopping . Created to communicate, share and connect with people from our past, close relations or even strangers, company most often than not should seriously take into consideration this tool if they wish to remain relevant in this fast and ever changing technology oriented world we increasingly live in now.
Social media and particularly social networks are tools that integrate themselves perfectly in a world that has become more and more international. It has the potential to be a useful medium when it comes to companies wishing to implement strategies to reach clients or to increase the visibility of their brands, all of this often at a lesser cost compared to more traditional approaches.
BRIC countries in particular with their strong economic growth and future prospective represent as of today a unique and unavoidable opportunity for any organization wishing to expend at an international level. Social media can possibly assist in penetrating those markets while taking into consideration that by its very nature it is a medium that requires a particular social and human approach.
Through this report, by way of desk researches and the results of a questionnaire filled by social media users from those countries, we will assess if social media and in particular social networks could possibly be a tool that can support companies in their quest to reach those countries with their brands.

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[Academic Research Project] Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries.

  1. 1. IAE GRENOBLE Challenges and opportunities of social networks for brands in the BRIC countries. Research Project Habiboulahi Mbacké 8/31/2012Tutor : Agnés Helme-Guizon
  2. 2. ContentsExecutive summary ................................................................................................................................. 51. Research question .......................................................................................................................... 62. Research actions ............................................................................................................................ 62.1 Desk research .............................................................................................................................. 62.2 Questionnaire .............................................................................................................................. 63. Key concepts .................................................................................................................................. 73.1 Concepts ...................................................................................................................................... 73.2 Research scheme ......................................................................................................................... 84. Desk research ............................................................................................................................... 104.1 Origin of social media ............................................................................................................... 104.2 Traditional vs new media .......................................................................................................... 125. Social media and brands ............................................................................................................. 145.1 Social media strategy ................................................................................................................ 146. Social media in emerging countries ........................................................................................... 186.1 Generalities ............................................................................................................................... 186.2 Brazil .......................................................................................................................................... 206.2.1 General presentation of Brazil .............................................................................................. 206.2.2 Internet and social media in Brazil ........................................................................................ 216.3 Russia ......................................................................................................................................... 226.3.1 General presentation of Russia ............................................................................................. 226.3.2 Internet and social media in Russia ....................................................................................... 236.4 India ........................................................................................................................................... 246.4.1 General presentation of India ............................................................................................... 246.4.2 Internet and social media in India ......................................................................................... 256.5 China .......................................................................................................................................... 276.5.1 General presentation of China .............................................................................................. 276.5.2 Internet and Social media in China........................................................................................ 287. Popular social networks in the BRIC countries........................................................................ 297.1 Facebook ................................................................................................................................... 297.1.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 297.1.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 307.2 Twitter ....................................................................................................................................... 317.2.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 31 1
  3. 3. 7.2.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 317.3 Qzone (QQ) ................................................................................................................................ 327.3.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 327.3.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 327.4 RenRen ...................................................................................................................................... 327.4.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 327.4.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 337.5 Kaixin001 ................................................................................................................................... 307.5.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 307.5.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 307.6 Sina Weibo................................................................................................................................. 317.6.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 317.6.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 327.7 Odnoklassniki ............................................................................................................................ 337.7.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 337.7.2 In the context of social media ............................................................................................... 337.8 VKontakte .................................................................................................................................. 337.8.1 Generalities ........................................................................................................................... 337.8.2 In the context of social media strategy ................................................................................. 348. Research hypothesizes ................................................................................................................. 34Research hypothesis 1:.......................................................................................................................... 34Research hypothesis 2:.......................................................................................................................... 36Research hypothesis 3:.......................................................................................................................... 36Research hypothesis 4:.......................................................................................................................... 36Research hypothesis 5:.......................................................................................................................... 36Research hypothesis 6:.......................................................................................................................... 379. Quantitative analysis ................................................................................................................... 379.1 Creation of the questionnaire ................................................................................................... 379.2 Distribution of the questionnaire .............................................................................................. 3810. Results presentation ................................................................................................................ 3910.1 Filter questions .......................................................................................................................... 4010.2 General use of social media ...................................................................................................... 4210.3 Brand and notoriety .................................................................................................................. 4610.4 General information .................................................................................................................. 49 2
  4. 4. 11. Main differences and similarities between countries ........................................................... 5211.1 Most popular social networks ................................................................................................... 5211.2 Preferred social network to follow brands................................................................................ 5311.3 Number of brands followed on social media ............................................................................ 5411.4 Type of brands followed ............................................................................................................ 5511.5 Reasons for following ................................................................................................................ 5611.6 Commenting on social media .................................................................................................... 5712. Hypothesis validation .............................................................................................................. 59Research hypothesis 1:.......................................................................................................................... 59Research hypothesis 2:.......................................................................................................................... 60Research hypothesis 3:.......................................................................................................................... 62Research hypothesis 4:.......................................................................................................................... 64Research hypothesis 5:.......................................................................................................................... 67Research hypothesis 6:.......................................................................................................................... 6813. Conclusion and recommendations ......................................................................................... 68Research hypothesis 1 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 70Research hypothesis 2 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 70Research hypothesis 3 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 71Research hypothesis 4 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 71Research hypothesis 5 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 71Research hypothesis 6 recommendation: ............................................................................................. 72Bibliography........................................................................................................................................... 74Annexes ................................................................................................................................................. 78Questionnaire ........................................................................................................................................ 78 3
  5. 5. I would to like to thank my Tutor, Ms. Helme-Guizon who offered meher support in both the definition and the execution of this project. Iwould also like to extend my gratitude to all the people that offered metheir help both by answering the questionnaire but also by goingfurther and sending me encouragements and useful information. Itwas very much so appreciated. 4
  6. 6. Executive summarySocial media has become an important part of our daily lives, both inprofessional and personal contexts. Indeed with 1.2 billion usersworldwide representing 82% of the online population, it is morepopular than internet activities such as email and online shopping1.Created to communicate, share and connect with people from ourpast, close relations or even strangers, company most often than notshould seriously take into consideration this tool if they wish to remainrelevant in this fast and ever changing technology oriented world weincreasingly live in now.Social media and particularly social networks are tools that integratethemselves perfectly in a world that has become more and moreinternational. It has the potential to be a useful medium when it comesto companies wishing to implement strategies to reach clients or toincrease the visibility of their brands, all of this often at a lesser costcompared to more traditional approaches.BRIC countries in particular with their strong economic growth andfuture prospective represent as of today a unique and unavoidableopportunity for any organization wishing to expend at an internationallevel. Social media can possibly assist in penetrating those marketswhile taking into consideration that by its very nature it is a mediumthat requires a particular social and human approach.Through this report, by way of desk researches and the results of aquestionnaire filled by social media users from those countries, we willassess if social media and in particular social networks could possiblybe a tool that can support companies in their quest to reach thosecountries with their brands.1 http://www.webpronews.com/social-networks-reach-1-2-billion-users-worldwide-2012-01Comscore white paper:http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2011/it_is_a_social_world_top_10_need-to-knows_about_social_networking 5
  7. 7. 1. Research questionWhat are the challenges and benefits associated with a social media strategy for companieswishing to increase brand visibility in BRIC countries?Social media is a relatively new and continuously developing medium. Possibilities andopportunities are vast but unaccounted for especially in those countries. The object of thisstudy is therefore to assess how prospective consumers use social media. What is the maintype of social media used? How do they perceive brands generally speaking that arerepresented in this medium? It will also be an opportunity to assess if the use of social mediais mature enough to seriously implement a marketing strategy.The research will mainly be aimed on the B2C market with a focus on consumer. 2. Research actions 2.1 Desk researchDuring the desk research phase of this project, information from books, article and whitepapers were used.The desk research allowed first to have a better understanding of social media, its purposesand how it works. It also gave more details such as what kind of social media exists and thedifferent trends that can be perceived in those emerging countries. 2.2 QuestionnaireA questionnaire was created then administered online in order to challenge the researchhypothesis expressed at the beginning of the study and detailed later in the report. It wasadministered mainly to young consumers from the selected countries for this study. Thisshould give a clearer and more detailed vision of social media in those countries related tobrands. 6
  8. 8. 3. Key concepts 3.1 ConceptsDuring this research a certain number of key concepts have been used. It is not possible totalk about social media without taking into consideration the concept of interaction alsoknown as social interaction which at the very basis of this tool. We will see in the deskresearches that this medium was basically created to facilitate communication betweenpeople. The development of social networks gave companies ever expanding and specializedplatforms where users will exchange, share and comment. The diversification of socialnetworks today gives companies today an interesting opportunity to increasingly focus theirstrategy according to the type of brands and consumers they wish to promote to.This concept is related to the notion of online reputation management. This is an importantelement for organizations wishing to implement a social media strategy. In practice it is theway a company will monitor mentions, either positive or negative, made by a consumer on theinternet and is particularly relevant in the social media sphere. Furthermore, a communitymanager will use a set of online and offline techniques that will promote positive contentwhile addressing, neutralizing or even pushing down derogatory comment. It is thereforemore concerned with preventing and repairing online reputation and thus exposing a companyto the public in the most positive way.The concept of marketing buzz is related to the use of word of mouth in order to grabattention in a way that will spread visibility of a brand. In the context of social media,marketing buzz can be a powerful tool as traditional media tend to relay buzz found in theinternet, multiplying its intended effect. Once again this is a concept that can be linked toonline reputation management. While the intended effect is to create a relatively controlledpositive buzz that would be beneficial to the brand, outside individuals and organization cancreate derogatory buzz or bad buzz that would obviously be detrimental and create a reverseeffect.Brand notoriety or brand awareness is the extent to which a brand will be recognized byprospective customers and is associated with a particular product. In the context of socialmedia positive brand notoriety can possibly enhance the effect of a campaign carried outthrough this tool. This notion is related to brand visibility where a company In terms ofintroducing a new or lesser known product or service to the general public in the context ofthe BRIC countries, social media can represent an interesting opportunity to reach this goal aswe will see later in this report. 7
  9. 9. 3.2 Research schemeThe following scheme offers a visual representation of the key notions used throughout thisstudy. It is centered on defining elements such as:  The social media strategy  The goal associated with the campaignThe floating key words represent all of the important element that has to be taken intoconsideration when considering a social media strategy in BRIC countries. 8
  10. 10. Trust Social e-reputation media interactivity strategy notoriety 9
  11. 11. 4. Desk research 4.1 Origin of social mediaIn an article titled “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”published2 inthe journal of computer mediated communication authors Danah M. Boyd and Nicole B.Ellison define social media and social network in particular as: “We define social networksites as web-based services that allow individuals to:1 - Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,2 - Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and3 - View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site”.This is a particularly interesting definition as it showcases three key aspects of social media.The need for users to expose themselves and a selection of their information, share saidinformation and interact with contacts made.Moreover, another key aspect of social media is the idea of belonging to specific groups, withspecific people who the user has ties with, whether personal, professional or simply based oncommon interests.While social networks have seen their popularity rise up particularly in the last five years, theconcept itself has been in existence much longer.Social media can be defined as being “media for social interaction‟. If we consider thisdefinition, social media can be traced back to at least the early eighties when IT and the ideaof a network to network tool to communicate was largely still in development. In this part wewill give an overview of the evolution of social media since that time.The earliest form of social interaction using the internet can be traced back to two tools:Usenet and BBS.Usenet, conceived in 1979 allowed users to post articles or posts in newsgroup.The other tool is BBS (bulletin board systems). They were similar to Usenet systems werepeople could interact with another one.2 Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”published in the journal of computer mediatedcommunication 10
  12. 12. At the end of the eighties, in 1988, another tool was developed that allowed communicationover a network of people called IRC (Internet Relay chat). In the mid-nineties this form ofcommunication was popularized by instant messaging computer program ICQ which wasmore accessible. Those were basically the precursors of popular instant messaging tools thatlater become popular and widely used such as Windows Live or Skype.After those first developments, the rapid evolution of the internet lead to an increased numberof tools aimed at communication, one of the most popular certainly being Emails still widelyin use today. However when it comes to social media as we know them today, the first realeffort wouldn‟t come until the mid-90‟s corresponding with the rapid rise of consumerinternet.Dating sites are sometimes considered to be the first real social networks. Indeed they allowedusers to create profile sometimes with photos and to connect with others. Another well-knownand also sometimes considered amongst the first social media created is classmates.com. Itwas launched in 1995 and bear the same characteristics as dating sites, people could and stillcan create a profile and get in contact with other people.While those examples can be considered early attempt at social media and social networks inparticular, they don‟t exactly fit the definition. Some features were lacking such as theinability to maintain a friend list and most of the time profiles offered limited capabilities.Some huge developments were brought in the early 2000s with the launch of Friendster whichis generally considered the first „modern social network‟. It allowed people to get in contactwith not only their own friend but also the friends of their friends thus allowing them toexpand their network.Other website launched around the same time and featuring similar characteristics includeHi5, LinkedIn and Myspace, all in 2003.Myspace brought additional innovation on its own by letting people customize their profile,post music and embed videos. Those features boost its profile and by 2006 it was the mostpopular social network in the world.After being the most popular social network for a time, Myspace was victim of its ownsuccess and was overtaken by a new wave of social media offering new possibilities andinnovations. Cementing again that perhaps in its development phase, innovation is key to thegrowth of social network in general.Facebook introduced a new concept amongst social media in 2006. This was the news feed.This news feed concept allowed people to visit their friend‟s profiles, make wall commentsand also maintain a photo gallery for their friends to see. In short it allows people to see whattheir contacts, „friends‟ are up to. This new innovation so common now is what allowedFacebook to emerge as an important player amongst social media websites and take overclosest rival at that time Myspace in 2008.In 2012, news social media sites continue to arose axed around new concept but still focusedon the basic idea of creating a personal space and sharing said space with more or lesspersonal acquaintances. Amongst those new players we can cite Pinterest which is a pinboardstyle photo social media. Created in 2010 it has been deemed one of the fastest social media 11
  13. 13. with company Comscore reporting important increase in terms of visitors in 20123. Anothersimilar successful social network has been Instagram. Also launched in 2010 it has seensteady growth since, culminating in its purchase by Facebook in 2012.The latest major innovation to date is the use of social networks as a mobile tool. This trendwas accelerated in recent years by the explosion of smartphone such as the famous Iphone byApple. Users now have access to their favorite social networks whenever they want grantedthey have access to internet. With the increasing penetration of broadband internet and aboveall Wi-Fi technology, this is a trend that will mostly continue to grow further in years to come. 4.2 Traditional vs. new media Information Transmitter Receiver Destination source Message Noise sourceSource : Shannon and Weaver’s model of the communication processThis model shows that the communication process is composed of several parties. Theinformation source whose role is to create a message, the message is sent by the informationsource and received by the destination. The transmitter represents the medium that will beused to send the message which will be influenced by noise that will influence the quality ofthe message and how the receiver interprets it. Those two models are particularly interestingbecause we can see that the receiver has no involvement in the content. He does not contributeactively to the communication process which illustrates well the way traditional mediafunctions.Alternatively in new media, users engage in the communication process by creating, changingand/or updating content. Instead of being the passive receiver of the news for example, theybecome active in both its creation and its evolution within the channel. More than that, userscan reacts to what is posted by posting questions and comments which in a way can contributeto enrich the information.New media creates a dilemma when it comes to defining how the line of communicationoperates. The following scheme is based on the proposed ecological model of thecommunication process which attempt to integrate the complexity of this new medium into amodel.3 http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/07/pinterest-monthly-uniques/ 12
  14. 14. Comments and feedback Imagine and create Observe, attribute and interpret Creators Message Consumers Use, invent and evolve Learn and socialize Perspective and relationshipsSource: Ecological model of the communication process, Davis Foulger, 20044This model of communication attempts to show the more complex relationship between thedifferent element of communication, the creators, the message and the consumers. Here therole of both the consumer and the creator are interchangeable. The consumer will have therole of creator when they give feedback and alternatively the creator will have the role ofconsumer when he uses this feedback to improve content. This model shows how muchinteractivity is important when it comes to new media.Easy access, Portability, time flexibility and easy to disseminateNew media allows access to information at any place and any place especially with thecombination of public Wi-Fi technologies and mobile communication developing more andmore. Users can therefore have the liberty to consult those mediums at the users‟ mostconvenient time. The digital form in which the content comes also allows for easierdissemination of the information which is not possible for old media where content tend to belimited both at a technological level but also geographically.Old media doesn‟t offer the same flexibility, content is generally offered at fixed times andthrough more or less fixed medium.Gatekeeper vs. WisecrowdBecause of the technological limitation of old media, a decision needs to be made aboutselecting content thus limiting what can be seen, published or heard. It is generally thedecision of one or a group of person. Therefore this model produces an environment where aperson or a group of persons, the editors, decide what can be seen, heard and/or read by theconsumers.4 http://davis.foulger.info/research/unifiedModelOfCommunication.htm 13
  15. 15. Sender Gatekeeper Audience (company) (community (Potential manager) consumer)Source: Shannon and Weavers Modified mechanistic model of communicationThe digital nature of new media allows content to be virtually infinite. Because it is a socialmedium by nature, the gatekeepers will be replaced by the general public. The Wisecrowdtheory implied that a mass of people will make better decision than a narrow group of peoplethus providing better content in the end.From all of this we can see how the so called new media is increasingly a more attractiveoption to users as it allows more interactivity thus rendering the communication process morelively and interesting. By the same token, social media also represent new challenges forcompanies especially in relation to content, how it is presented to the public and the control ofthe communication process. In the next part we will address some of these issues. 5. Social media and brands 5.1 Social media strategyAccording to a study published in Didier Mazier‟s book “Community manager”5 only 16%amongst social media users follow brands, with 5 brands followed in general. This can beinterpreted as relatively low but the fact that social media as a marketing tool is relatively newand that more and more companies hire specialists such as community manager to direct theireffort in this medium means that this figure will more likely rise in the future.Another interesting point made in the same book is that users, understandably, are primarilyconcerned with finding reduction, rebate and advantages over what can be found throughtraditional channel. After that comes searching for news and lastly the need to belong to acommunity.More often than not participation is limited to consultation with very few users commentingor relaying information given by companies.5 Community manager Didier Mazier, 2012 14
  16. 16. According to the same book, people generally speaking engage in social media mostly to:  Promote themselves  Share new experiences with others  Have fun or waste timeThis show that users engage in social media for a large number of reasons ranging frominteraction in a professional context to a tool for community creators and story tellers.And when asked why they do engage in social networks, users usually only give two reasons;  Stay in touch with friends  Make new acquaintancesIt is important to note that social networks have now surpassed all other internet related meansof keeping in contact with people going as far as surpassing face to face contact in 2009.Social media are changing the way companies are interacting with consumers and potentialconsumers. According to a research conducted by universal McCann6 the number ofrespondents that have visited an official brand or company web site fell globally from 85% to75% while during the same period companies have made efforts to direct their strategytowards more interactivity through social media and social networks in particular.Some key figures illustrate this movement with 18% of respondents claiming that they havecreated an online brand community in the past 6 months. There are interesting variationsgeographically throughout the world with for example 12 percent responding favorably to thesame question and more notably 28% in China and 30% in India. This shows that there isinterest from consumer in getting active with brands through those tools.And with more involvement comes more benefits for companies with 58% of respondentsclaiming that that they are more likely to buy a product after joining a brand online.The same research shows that users join a brand community in order to:  To get advances news of products  To learn more about it  To support a cause they like  To feel part of al likeminded communitySo why exactly should a company implement a social media strategy. First of all compared totraditional media, new media offers possibility to reach a much wider range and number ofconsumer. This is in relation to the marketing concepts of buzz and bad buzz. Secondly,consumers tend to become more and more defiant towards traditional channel. They arenowadays much more savvy thanks to the emergence of internet which allows them to verifyby themselves whether a product, a service or a brand fit their expectations instead of beingtold so which is mostly how traditional channels operates.6 The socialization of brands Wave 5 http://fr.slideshare.net/Olivier.mermet/universal-mccann-wave-5-the-socialisation-of-brands 15
  17. 17. When it comes to social media strategy in emerging countries, it offers the opportunity to notonly be less expensive than traditional ones but also more effective in some cases as we willsee later in this report. 5.2 Establishing a social media strategyIn order to establish a social media strategy, a company has to follow a certain number ofsteps in accordance of the inherent nature of this tool.The first step would be to collect information about the different social media and how theycan be integrated into the company strategy. It is therefore important to know how thedifferent social networks operate. How can they be used to promote a brand? For exampleFacebook allow the creation of fan pages whereas Twitter will allow for short promotionaland update messages to be sent to a large number of people. Another question that comes tomind is how users relate to the presence of brands on a particular network? Are they open orhostile to them?The central point made here is that companies must communicate and make the consumer feelimplicated in the community. As we have seen earlier in this report, social media users do notexpect to be passive but an active part of what the brand has to offer.As a result, a lot of companies will allow their followers to take part in the development of anew product, ask their opinions on its features or organize a contest in which the winner canhave the satisfaction of having been an active part of a brand he/she likes amongst otherrewards. By encouraging increased involvement, the company will create an effect in whichusers will start talking and spread the company name around them.As for what a company should concretely do once the suitable social media has been spotted,writer Rohit Bhargava7, a marketing expert and currently a member of the Global Strategy &Planning group at Ogilvy has created a set of basic rules called social media optimizationAKA SMO, that can give companies a guideline as to how to operate such strategy on thismedium:Those are: 1. Increase linkability 2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy 3. Reward inbound links 4. Help content travel 5. Encourage mashup 6. Get communities connectedThose rules were updated in 2010 to include 16 rules which are: 7. Reward Helpful and Valuable Users7 http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/socialmediabio/ 16
  18. 18. This rules preconize that the most helpful and popular users be rewarded for their help. Thiscan take the form of a private note of a more public system in which their contribution ishighlighted directed on the brand community. This is done to not only increase loyalty ofuseful members but also to engage with them at a deeper level. 8. ParticipateThis point is linked to what was said earlier in this report where participation in conversationwill increase buzz and awareness. 9. Know How to Target Your AudienceIt is essential to know the target audience at large. This allow the company to know exactlywhat is appealing to them and thus to generate content that will resonate with the audience atits core. This is a particularly interesting point in the context of social media in the BRICcountries coming from the stand point of view of a company not too familiar with theirculture, ways of thinking and other features that is unique to the target audience in a givencountry. 10. Create ContentOne of the top reasons, social media users join a community is to get information. Creatinguseful content that can be as basic as presenting the company history in an entertaining way orpost update about interesting development can generate even more loyalty from the customerstowards a particular brand. This is a pivotal point that is generally left out by companies asgenerating content that is useful, relevant and interesting regularly can be quite daunting andmore difficult in certain industries however a company who stick to this rule can possiblycreate a strong advantage in the long term. 11. Be RealFaking involvement can have disastrous effect on a social media strategy and should beavoided at all cost. This rule encompasses all the other ones presented here as a matter of fact.It is better not to get involve rather than it being not genuine. 12. Don‟t Forget Roots, Be HumbleThis rule was created more with personal bloggers in mind so is not relevant in this study. 13. Don‟t Be Afraid to Try New Things, Stay FreshOne of the defining characteristic of social media is its ever changing state with new toolsappearing every year, popular tools being replaced by new ones, i.e Facebook supplantingmyspace internationally, Google + and Orkut being phased by Facebook in Brazil. It isimportant for companies to stay at the top of their strategy by keeping up with those changesutilizing then when it is suitable. 14. Develop a SMO Strategy 17
  19. 19. Like in all marketing strategy, it is important to define clearly goals desired from a socialmedia strategy such as reputation, sales, influence etc… 15. Choose SMO Tactics WiselyThis point is related to the fact that a strategy should be chosen taken into consideration thedefining characteristics of the product, the goals set out at the beginning of a marketingcampaign and most importantly the results desired. Thus a company should keep in mind thatwhat work for a particular brand or company might not for another one. While it is importantto keep with technological advances for example such as the creation on new networks, thosemight not be suitable to a particular company at large. 16. Make SMO part of process and best practicesIt‟s all about being making sure that the rules being presented are being integrating into theway a strategy is carried out by ways of templates and documents being share into theorganization without forgetting the human side of it all i.e avoid being robotic in theimplementation of the strategy.Now that social media has been addressed on its whole let’s have a closer look at how it is utilized inthe BRIC countries. 6. Social media in emerging countries 6.1 GeneralitiesIn this part we will first make a succinct presentation of the countries included in the study,i.e. the so called BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China. This will be an opportunityto assess the situation of social media and at large of the internet in those countries.The term BRIC is an acronym standing for four countries namely Brazil, Russia, India andChina. It has been coined by the chairman of Goldman Sachs asset management Jim O‟Neillin 2001 because they were deemed at that time to be at near stage of economic development 8.Projections from Goldman Sachs forecast that as a result of their annual growth, those fourcountries would become much more important than the then six largest economies in theplanet known at that time as the G69.When it comes to social media it is becoming more and more important in the BRICcountries. In a long study carried out by Universal McCann10 where respondents areresearched periodically through stages called “waves” managing a profile on an existing8 http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-11-27/markets/30446417_1_bric-countries-india-and-china-gdp9 Global economics paper n°99, Dreaming with BRICs http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/brics/book/99-dreaming.pdf10 The socialization of brands – wave 5 http://fr.slideshare.net/Olivier.mermet/universal-mccann-wave-5-the-socialisation-of-brands 18
  20. 20. social media went from 27 percent in wave 1 to 74 percent in wave 5 which was carried justfour years later. Figures given for the BRIC countries in particular are revealing. In Brazil,respondents answered to the same question in wave 3 at 64% going up at 75% in wave 5. InRussia it went from 64% to an impressive 80% in the same period. Growth were similar in theremaining BRIC with India going from 51% to 73% in wave 5 and China which went from47% to 68%.BRIC countries represent a unique opportunity for companies wishing to increase theirpresence in those economically interesting countries. Statistics show that engagement insocial media is often more important than in so called developed countries. What is moreinteresting is the fact that contrary to developed markets where social media penetration hasplateaued there are important opportunities for growth in BRIC countries especiallyconsidering that emerging countries, more notably China and India often have youngerpopulation that are known to be generally more engaged with new technology. For examplesocial media penetration was at 86% in May 2011 up from the previous period in 2010 at76%11.Moreover a research from Pew research center12 shows that general users in those countriesare more open to brands using social media platforms than their counterpart in developedcountries.Another research from research company TNS called digital life 201113 shows that users fromBRIC countries view social media as a good place to not only learn about but also buy brandsand products than users from other countries. A possible explanation for this peculiar attitudeis given by company e-marketer14. According to them users in developed countries use socialmedia mainly to keep up social relation however in emerging markets where ecommerce isrelatively new, social media represent a way for those consumers to relate even in a virtualway to a brand most likely previously unknown to them and thus create a sentiment of trust.This means that social media have the possibility to play a bigger role in the purchase cycle inthose emerging countries than in developed market thus potentially facilitating a branddevelopment in those countries.Even more encouraging data from prospective companies wishing to implement marketingstrategies there, a survey by Jack Morton worldwide15 shows that social media in Brazil(23%), China (22%) and India (21%) are twice as likely as users that come from the US(11%) to share brand information and experience the same way they do with family andfriends as in the real world.Another interesting to take into consideration, the size of a brand‟s following on social mediais more likely to impress users in emerging markets. The same countries mentionedpreviously are significantly more likely to consider a brand that have a lot of fans or is liked11 http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/12/20/global-digital-communication-texting-social-networking-popular-worldwide/http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008766&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed412 http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/12/20/global-digital-communication-texting-social-networking-popular-worldwide/13 http://www.tnsdigitallife.com/14 http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008766&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed415 http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1008851&R=1008851http://www.jackmorton.com/news/article.aspx?itemID=106&typeID=3 19
  21. 21. by many users on a social media. The same users are also more likely to like or follow mostbrands on Facebook most notably.However encouraging those data are, it has to be taken into consideration that social mediamarketing in BRIC countries are still relatively in the early stages of its development there arestill a number of challenges that has to be surpassed considering the BRIC status as emergingcountries such as fragmented industries, low literacy rates and in some cases underdevelopedinfrastructure. 6.2 Brazil 6.2.1 General presentation of Brazil The federative republic of Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and the sixth most populous with 205 716 890 according to a July 2012 estimate. Brazil gained its independence in 1822 after three centuries under Portuguese monarchies. After further changes in the 20th century, Brazil was able to expand its economy through industrial and agricultural growth. It was able to do so through its extended natural resources such as bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin,rare earth elements, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timberand and a readily available laborbase. Challenges include highly unequal income distribution and important widespread crimerate.16Brazil economy is based on sectors such as agricultural, mining, manufacturing and servicesbeing the most important economy in South America with an increasingly important place atan international level. Since 2003, this country has been able to improve its economicsituation by building up foreign reserves and decreasing its debts profile.Brazil was able to reap the fruit of its reform in 2007 and especially in 2008 with stronggrowth. The financial crisis beginning in 2008 took a hit on its economy but it was one of thefirst emerging countries to actually be able to get out of this difficult situation in 2010. That16 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html 20
  22. 22. year consumer and investor confidence rose to 7.5% reaching the highest growth rate for thiscountry in the past 25 years.17 6.2.2 Internet and social media in BrazilThere is an estimated 81 798 000 Internet users as of December 2011 representing a 42.2%penetration for this country18.The most used social network in Brazil is Facebook with 42 206 120 Facebook users inMarch 2012 representing a 21.8% penetration rate or a 36.1 million visitors. It recentlydethroned Orkut as the most popular social network in the country19.A study from a local ad agency f/Nazca Saatchi and Saatchi20 found that penetration of socialmedia reached 93% of total internet users in august 2011.A peculiarity of social media users in Brazil is the differentiation that exists for a given socialmedia according to different criteria such as gender, age and geographic region. For examplewomen have shown a stronger engagement (+16%) towards social networking sites such asFacebook and Orkut and content consumption. Younger users (15-24 years old) are morelikely to use Orkut and Twitter however older people prefer to use Facebook as do people inthe south East region where big cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio are located.According to a research conducted by BricData21, companies in Brazil typically use socialmedia as a marketing tool to advertise their products and services, monitor brands and identifysales opportunities. BricData expects that there will be an increased in the budget allocated tosuch campaign in the next few years.17 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html18 http://www.internetworldstats.com/sa/br.htm19 http://www.internetworldstats.com/sa/br.htm20 http://siliconfilter.com/why-social-media-is-cooking-in-emerging-markets/21http://marketpublishers.com/report/technologies_electronics/media/social_media_marketing_strategies_n_emerging_opportunities_in_bric_countries.html 21
  23. 23. As for the future, a new instance created in 2011 and called the secretariat for digital inclusion(SID) will implement a project named digital cities in which it is established that the countrywill provide:  Partnerships between agencies and entities of Federal Public Administration bodies and civil society actions for implementation of infrastructure connection  Installation of free public access points to the Internet  Qualification and support for public and community use of digital technologies  Training of digital inclusion, implementation of electronic government  Support continuing education of public servants in the use of information and communication technologies in public administration  Articulation of digital inclusion initiatives with the federal governments social programs in municipalities.Those actions will probably ensure that companies wishing to implement social mediastrategies will have even more incentives to do so as internet becomes more attractive andwidespread thanks to those measures. 6.3 Russia 6.3.1 General presentation of Russia The Russian federation is a country jointly located in Asia and Europe. Witha population of 138 082 178 according to a July 2012 estimate it is one of the most populouscountries in Europe. After tumultuous changes ranging from the founding of the principalityof Muscovy, where they had to fight mongol domination to the early part of the 20th centurywhen monarchy was overthrown in favor of the formation of a parliament amongst otherreforms, the mid-20th saw the creation of the communist laden URSS finally overthrown in1991 where the then commonly called ex URSS was renamed Russia and lost some of itsterritory. Having long been known for its communist stance, Russia has since then shiftedtowards a centralized semi authoritarian state.Beginning in the early 90‟s, Russia underwent deep reforms in most privatized industry. Itbecame the world‟s largest oil producer in 2011 surpassing Saudi Arabia and is the secondlargest producer of natural gas. 22
  24. 24. Even though Russia was one of the countries hardest hit by the global economic crisis, theywere able to recover somewhat in 2010 and remain one of the emerging territory with themost interesting opportunities at an economic level. Like all emerging countries, Russia has togo through a certain number of improvements such as its workforce which is shrinking, a highlevel of corruption, difficulty in accessing capital for both smaller and non-energy companieswhich remains the central industry in Russia and poor infrastructure22. 6.3.2 Internet and social media in RussiaRussia had had one the fastest growing internet population within Europe over the last years.There is an estimated 61,472,011 Internet users as of December 31 2011 representing anestimated 44.3% penetration amongst the Russian population. This represent the second mostimportant internet population in Europe even though its penetration rate is relatively lowcompared to other, more developed countries. However this data actually represent aninteresting opportunity as the country is expected to continue to develop itself in theforeseeable future, both internet and social media penetration is likely to increase significantlyin the same span of time representing a chance for companies to reach one of the mostpopulous countries in the world23 in the future.One of the peculiarities of Russia is the fact that most users are located in the western part ofthe country because the more modern infrastructure are located in the capital and the other bigcities located in this region.Russians are the most engaged when it comes to social media, they spend an average of 9.8hours per month. This is particularly impressive when we take into consideration the fact thatthe global average is 4.5 hours per month globally24.The most popular social network in Russia is VKontakte with 54.2 percent of the onlinepopulation being present in thisparticular network. Other popular social media include22 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html23 http://www.internetworldstats.com/euro/ru.htm24 23
  25. 25. Moimir and Odnoklassniki with both Twitter and Facebook gaining ground in this country aswell.As for the future, there has been encouraging mentions made by the government that showsthat Russia is committed in providing free internet. Russian prime minister said in December2011 that "This environment is very free, highly democratic, and I consider it impossible torestrict the Internet. This is technically difficult and politically incorrect. If the government orsomeone does not like what is happening on the Internet, there is only one way to confront -in the same area of internet offer other options and approaches to address these problems,which are discussed on the Internet, and make it more creative, interesting, and collect morenumber of supporters".Company BricData suggests that amongst the biggest challenges for social media marketingcampaign are related to linguistic barriers and spamming methods that are widespread there.Like most emerging countries a good understanding of the complexities of internetpenetration related to regional differences and socio economic variables is key. 6.4 India 6.4.1 General presentation of IndiaThe republic on India is a country located in Asia with a population of 1 205 073 612 in July2012. Coming from a long and ancient civilization, Indian people has been recognized forcenturies for its striving economy until it came to a halt during English domination which lastfrom the late 19th century until 1947 when it became independent. During the 20th century,India went through a certain number of turmoil most notably national problems that resultedin the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh both formerly part of the country, now often atodds with India.Economic reforms began in the early 90s where industrial deregulation, privatization of stateowned enterprises, reduce controls on foreign trade and investment helped growth rateaveraging 7% per year in 1997.India has a diverse economy going from village farming to a range of more modern activitiesand services with a little more of half of the workforce being in agriculture, service, especiallyIT which accounts as a major source of economic growth but only employ one third of thelabor force. 24
  26. 26. Perhaps a testimony of its importance at the international level today, India became anonpermanent seat in the UN Security Council.Long term challenges include overpopulation, environmental degradation, poverty, poorinfrastructure and widespread corruption however it can count on its young population andcorresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasingintegration into the global economy.Like other BRIC, India was impacted by the economic crisis but was able to recover due to itsstrong internal demand in the IT sector25. 6.4.2 Internet and social media in IndiaThere is an estimated 35 million Facebook users in India and the country is ranked fourth inAsia for the number of users for twitter. India has a non-negligible advantage over otherBRIC as there has been a long colonial period with the UK meaning that the English languageis well in use in this country thus facilitating the use of international social media such asFacebook and twitter. However this data is to be taken with caution as there are more than 20languages currently in use in India especially considering the fact that English is notnecessarily in widespread use in certain regions. However this is an obstacle that might besurmountable in the long term with increased literacy rate as the country develop itselfeconomically in the future as forecasted today and also with the generalization of the mixingof English and Hindi, the most common language, as widely practiced nowadays.Company BricData26 in their research have found out that social media was particularlyhelpful for companies in this country using it as a marketing tool. Indeed according to25 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html26http://marketpublishers.com/report/technologies_electronics/media/social_media_marketing_strategies_n_emerging_opportunities_in_bric_countries.html 25
  27. 27. estimate from 2010 over 50% of enterprises using social media were successful in expendingtheir customer base through digital media campaigns. These figures are also expected to groweven further in the future. 26
  28. 28. 6.5 China 6.5.1 General presentation of ChinaThe Peoples Republic of China is a country located in Asia with a population of 1 343 239923 according to a July 2012 estimation, it is the most populous country in the world. Chinahas been known for centuries as a leading civilization in the world of arts and sciencesamongst other domains until the 19th and 20th centuries where civil unrest and other upsets ledto the country being sidelined. After the Second World War, communism resulted in anautocratic socialist system with controls over everyday life. Beginning in the late 70‟s, Chinabegan to shift its focus towards a market oriented economy coming from a closed andcentrally controlled economy.In order to attain the status it enjoys today internationally, China had to go through a certainnumber of reforms like the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, a remnant of communism,the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for stateenterprises amongst other reforms all of this in a gradual manner27.Even though quality of life has improved dramatically and the country has opened itselfinternationally, political controls remain a major concern.27 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html 27
  29. 29. 6.5.2 Internet and Social media in ChinaInternet penetration is estimated at 38.4% with 513,100,000 Internet users as of December 312011 making China the country with the most internet users in Asia.The situation of social media is peculiar in this country with strong regulations from thegovernment. For example the government applies strong censorship of several websitesincluding several social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.However instead of tearing apart the social networks phenomenon, it created a situation wherelocally created and approved social networks are majorly popular.According to some studies, Chinese social media usage is amongst the most intense in theworld. A study from Boston consulting group revealed that Chinese internet users are onlinefor an average of 2.7 hours per day. This peculiar situation is thought to have developedbecause of socio economic factors such as rural to urban migration that separates families, theloneliness that results from the famous one child per family rule and a general distrust ofinformation thought to be manipulated by the government resulting in internet and moreparticularly social media becoming more and more integrated of Chinese users‟ experience ofinternet. An interesting fact illustrates that well, young Chinese users reportedly have moreonline friends that they do in real life.When it comes to social media and brands in China, a survey from Ogilvy one found out that55% of China internet users had initiated or had participated in an online conversations aboutcompanies.As with most emerging countries, usage of social media varies depending on various factorssuch as languages, level of economic development and the general development ofinfrastructure all of this depending on geographical consideration or age. As a matter of fact,the situation of social media in China is such that companies deciding not to integrate this toolin their marketing strategies run the risk of missing entirely on certain segment of thepopulation where social media have literally replaced older and more traditional media. Forexample social media Yukou and Tudou specialized in playing video clips can be seen asreplacing television as TV show from international sources are posted there sometimesillegally.Another peculiarity of the social media situation in China, networks are specialized in relationto certain interests. For example, the social network Douban is aimed at art students and thosepassionate about culture in general whereas kaixin is aimed at a more mature audience ofyoung professionals. This, just like the situation in Russia but for different reasonscomplexifies the situation of the social media landscape in China and requires for marketersto have a deep knowledge of the situation.Another interesting fact about language is the fact that Chinese is considered to be a moreeconomical language than English or French meaning that more can be said with fewercharacters. This is particularly useful in micro blogging websites such as Twitter and itscounterparts in China the notoriously popular Sina Weibo. This is particularly interestingwhen companies wish to spread messages through this particular channel. 28
  30. 30. Moreover, social media specific to China are thought to be generally more advanced thantheir western counterpart. For example Chinese users were able to embed multimedia contentin Twitter social networks equivalent Sina Weibo a good 18 month before twitter could do thesame. Chinese people were also amongst the first to adopt earliest form of social media backin the mid-nineties. 7. Popular social networks in the BRIC countriesIn this part we will have a closer look at some of the most popular social networks usedspecifically in the countries assessed in this study.Source: www.generation20.fr/la-repartition-des-reseaux-sociaux-dans-le-monde/ 7.1 Facebook 7.1.1 Generalities Created in 2004, Facebook has become one of the most important socialnetworks in the world in a relatively short span of time going from 100 million28 in 2008 to955 million29 in June 2012.28 https://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=2811127213029 http://pdf.secdatabase.com/700/0001193125-12-316895.pdf 29
  31. 31. 7.1.2 In the context of social media strategyFacebook offers companies two ways of marketing themselves:  Creation of groups centered on a particular thematic. They are a good way for a company to interact with customers  Fan pages which are similar to groups but it is possible to create commercial campaign on them whereas this is not the case on groupsThose tools are complementary in the sense that they allow brands to reach two of the definedgoals mentioned in this report. Groups can increase involvement as the company providescontent that is of interest for the consumers whereas fan pages will allow distribution ofinformation that is more commercially minded focusing on a particular product or service.The table below provides a useful comparison of those tools. Pages GroupsGood for companies Meant for companies OK for companiesand organizations: and organizations and organizations, but requires more managementBroadcast message Into Updates next to Direct into Facebookto friends, fans or Facebook Inbox Inboxmembers:Engage in Available via More focused ondiscussions: “Discussions” tab, discussions but less prominent than with a GroupAdministrator Hidden from public Listed publicly onprofiles: view Group main pageSource: Facebook pages, groups and profile explained, Aliza Sherman 30Apart from that, Facebook also offers the possibility to run targeted ads according to differentcriteria (geographic location, age etc )30 http://gigaom.com/collaboration/facebook-pages-groups-and-profiles-explained/ 30
  32. 32. 7.2 Twitter 7.2.1 Generalities Twitter was created in 2006 and with more than 500 million users in June201231, generating more than 340 million tweets a day32 is one of the most popular socialnetworks today. It is described as micro blogging social network where users can share shortmessages called tweets comprised of a maximum of 140 characters with their followersinstantly.Other features include the possibility of sending private messages, mention someone using thesign @ and associate a theme to a tweet using a hashtag sign # leading to a list of trendingtopics on the main page that regroup the most used hashtag over a period of time. 7.2.2 In the context of social media strategyThe real advantage of twitter is the fact that it allows a message to be sent out to an importantgroup of people granted that the company have a critical number of followers. Other ways ofusing Twitter is to utilize promoted tweets that will appear alongside the list of trending topicsthus exposing them to users that are not necessarily followers.Twitter usefulness has sometimes been called into question as the site is known to be opposedto ads plus the character limitation makes it difficult to communicate more than a verysuccinct message with companies often having to share links instead.31 http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/500-million-registered-users_b1884232 http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/500-million-registered-users_b18842 31
  33. 33. 7.3 Qzone (QQ) 7.3.1 Generalities Qzone was created in 2005 by Tencent, a company who also owns awildly popular instant messaging called Tencent QQ on which Qzone draws a large numberof users. Official number of users appears to be difficult to find but it is estimated than Qzonehas 500 million users in China representing a 32% share in that country33. Other sourcesestimates than the figure should be between 300 and 400 million users34. It appeals mostly toteenager and rural users.It allows its user to write blogs and diaries, send photo and listen to music. Other extraservices cost a fee. Those include applications that are mostly games 7.3.2 In the context of social media strategyAs said, Qzone appears to draw a large number of its users from popular service Tencent QQresulting in a lot of the profiles being dormant thus limiting its appeal in terms of marketingstrategy especially considering than nicknames and not real names are mostly used. 7.4 RenRen 7.4.1 Generalities Deemed as a Facebook remake, RenRen(literally meaning everyone‟s network) was created in 2005 and much like Facebook in itsearly day caters mainly to the college students market with an eye in becoming a mass marketsocial network. As of February 2011, it has 160 million registered users35. Much likeFacebook, RenRen basically offers registered users the possibility of creating a profile, add33 http://www.chinainternetwatch.com/1050/qzone-active-users-over-500-million/34 http://www.chinasocialgames.com/?p=37235 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/c26ed156-3d23-11e0-bbff-00144feabdc0.html 32
  34. 34. RenRen page screenshotconnections known as “friend” and a number of third party applications. It also offers anumber of features not found on its international counterpart such as a footprint of who lastvisited a given profile and customized skins. Its targets are teens, white collars workers andpeople from lower tiers city.RenRen login page Facebook login page 7.4.2 In the context of social media strategyRenRen like most other Chinese social networks aggressively features ads as a way forcompanies to market their brands. One of the peculiarities of this site is product placement ingames which coincidently is the major stream of revenue of this network.For example, company Lays launched a campaign on happy farmer which is the most populargame application on this social network. Users were able to grow lay‟s potatoes and create alay‟s crisps factory36.Another way of marketing a brand is by using the forum which is a space where RenRen userscan see the hottest links being shared, the most commented journal entries, daily poll and themost talked about topic. This relate more to the notion of providing interesting content for36 http://www.web2asia.com/2009/02/24/the-world-s-largest-online-social-network-qzone 33
  35. 35. users as brands would have to have some kind of buzz in order to be feature in this sectionwithout being commercially promoted.Like Facebook companies can create brand page. 7.5 Kaixin001 7.5.1 GeneralitiesKaixin (happy net) was launched in 2008. It is another Chinese social media that is closelyassociated with Facebook. Its target audience of 130 million registered uses as of 201237 ismainly composed of white collars workers. Much like concurrent Facebook it offers thepossibility of creating profiles; connect with friends and features third party applications. 7.5.2 In the context of social media strategyKaxin offers standard ways of marketing brands similar to what lookalike Facebook andRenRen propose it is therefore possible to advertise brands by featuring ads or through gamesapplication albeit in a much less aggressive fashion than concurrent RenRen.37 http://www.techinasia.com/kaixin-2011-profit-user-numbers/ 30
  36. 36. 7.6 Sina Weibo 7.6.1 Generalities Sina Weibo (Sina microblog) was created in 2009 and is oftenreferred as an hybrid between Facebook and Twitter. With about 300 million registered usersin China and 100 million daily post38 it is one of the most popular social network in thiscountry.The success of this particular social network can be explained by its ability to attractcelebrities, famous Chinese actress Yao Chen has more than 12.5 million followers on thissite, but also because it is seen as amongst Chinese social media user as a place where theycan express their ideas more freely than in other social media indeed because of its rapidupdate system it is more difficult to be government controlled than other more generalChinese social networks.A study from UM titled “the social media tracker wave39 offers some insight from a socialstandpoint of view. They claim that users using Sina Weibo are three times more connected tobrand communities than in france, Germany or Japan thus rendering it the most attractiveChinese social networks in the context of a social network strategy especially when we knowthat generally speaking users from all BRIC countries appears to be more engaged withbrands already.Relatively new compared to other social media network platform, the popularity of SinaWeibo has greatly impacted its concurrent RenRen and Kaixin001 who both saw a decline inactive users since the ascent of Sina Weibo.It features are reminiscent of those of twitter with message limited to 140 characters, mentionof other user using the sign @ and utilization of hashtag under the format "#HashName#".Additional features include the possibility of inserting graphical emoticons and attachment ofvideo files, images and/or music in each message.38 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-28/sina-s-weibo-outlook-buoys-internet-stock-gains-in-n-y-china-overnight.html39 http://fr.slideshare.net/fred.zimny/uu-report-wave-5-the-socialisation-of-brandsreport 31
  37. 37. Sina Weibo homepage 7.6.2 In the context of social media strategyMuch like Twitter, one of the advantages of Sina Weibo in the context of social mediastrategy is that companies can send direct messages to a large number of followers in realtimes with some added bonuses compared to what Twitter offers with more being said inmandarin within the 140 characters limit and the possibility of embedding pictures and othernumeric files as previously said.However Sina Weibo actually goes beyond those features to offer additional functionalities. Itallows the creation of private groups which contains comments thus enabling expendedcommunication but also functionalities related to games, polls, games, apps, photo, audio andvideo and most importantly companies pages that feature brands and e-commerce relateditems.It features a light blogging side service reserved for users who wants to produce more contentat unrestricted length.Those additional features explains why it is considered a hybrid of general social networksuch as Facebook and twitter allowing to not only distribute content but also share morecontent thus possibly resulting in more engagement from customers.An example of that is the company Starbucks which was one of the first to foray its way intoSian Weibo40. Their strategy is to offers coupons and deals but also ask customers questions,thanking and rewarding fans much like the advices preconized by the social mediaoptimization concept seen earlier in this report.40 http://adage.com/article/global-news/marketers-learning-microblog-sina-weibo-china/230074/ 32
  38. 38. 7.7 Odnoklassniki 7.7.1 Generalities Odnoklassniki (classmates) is a Russian social networkcreated in 2006. It claims to have 45 million registered users41 with 10 million daily visits.Odnoklassniki focus is on sharing photos between users with features such the possibility torate said photos, online chat, the possibility to see who has viewed one‟s profile and real timeviewing of who is online. It also features games, streaming media and video hosting services.Odnoklassniki is generally trending downwards, losing ground to the benefit of concurrentFacebook and VKontakte. In a effort to maintain its viability, Odnoklassniki will be translatedin the coming months in English. A peculiarity of this social network is the fact that it is morepopular than Facebook in Armenia and remains the network in this country42. 7.7.2 Odnoklassniki in the context of social mediaOdnoklassniki mostly offers targeted advertising as a way of promoting brands on itsplatform. 7.8 VKontakte 7.8.1 Generalities Vkontakte is the leader amongst social networks in Russia with118.8 million accounts as of 201243. It was created in 2006 and much like Facebook, to whichit is often compared and boasts the same color code, was restricted in its early version touniversity students. By 2008 it was able to overtake then leader rival Odnoklassniki and wasthe first out of the two to offer its website in multiple language (up to 22 as of 2012). Even41 http://odnoklassniki.ru/dk?st.cmd=helpAdvertise&tkn=226042http://telecom.arka.am/en/news/internet/more_than_80_of_armenian_users_of_social_networks_prefer_odnoklassniki/43 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VK_(social_network)#cite_note-usercount-2 33
  39. 39. though it is the leader on this market, VKontakte is facing problems like spamming in whichhackers regularly enforced users‟ account and infringement copyright due to the presence ofvideo and audio files.Much like Facebook and other similar social networks, it offers the same basic functions suchas personalized and public pages, connections to “friends” and access to their info, photo andvideo hosting, basic messaging and chat system, groups and notes. It boasts other featuressuch as the possibility of hosting audio files within groups and personal pages, upload videoand of course applications for game playing.VKontake screenshot 7.8.2 VKontakte in the context of social media strategyVKontakte much like other Facebook copycat offers the same opportunity for brands tomarket themselves mainly the possibility of running ads, creating company brands page andfan groups. 8. Research hypothesizesSocial media strategies are implemented around a certain number of recognized consumerattitudes and ways of doing thing in order to take advantage of the full potential of this tool.This research in particular will be the opportunity to assess whether or not consumer from thechosen markets react to social media in a way that allows the implementation and thedevelopment of a proper base for a consumer – company relationship strategy within thismedium.Research hypothesis 1:Controversial and polarizing opinion on social media networks can have a negative impact onbrands.The concept of e reputation is an important one when it comes to social media and can beextremely difficult to manage. Social networks represent one of the easiest ways for 34
  40. 40. individuals and organization to express opinions that can be derogatory to a brand especiallyif it turns into a wave of bad buzz, resulting in a reverse effect in the context of a marketingstrategy. This is because people tend to organize themselves in community causingparticipants to react either positively or negatively and then relay information around them.The question is to know whether people in those markets would be enticed to expresscontroversial or polarizing opinion on a brand using social media and would they be sensitiveto such opinions if exposed to them. 35
  41. 41. Research hypothesis 2:Social media users in BRIC countries are likely to engage deeply with a brand online.In relation to this concept, social media should be a medium where consumers are able toexpress their opinions freely. This component when used appropriately can make acommunity feel like they are listen too especially if actions are taken towards easing theirinteraction and experience with a brand before and after purchasing a product or service. Thisis a way to increase loyalty which is after all one of the principal goal of implementing asocial media strategy especially considering than more likely than not engaging in thisdirection results in more loyalty and engagement from consumers.. During the questionnaire,this concept will be assessed and will focus on knowing if consumers in emerging markets useor would be willing to use social media in this manner.The desk researches showed that social media users who engage with brands through thismedium follow in general an average of 5 brands or more. This can represent an importantelement to take into consideration for a marketing strategy. The questionnaire will verify if itis the case for consumers from the BRIC countries specifically.Research hypothesis 3:Social media users in BRIC countries feel close and trust brands onlineDuring the desk researches, one of the key elements that have been found is the fact thatsocial media from those countries feel closer and are more likely to trust brands present onsocial media. This was a trend particularly found in China where social media users appear totrust more information given on a social media than in any of the traditional media which aremostly government controlled.During the questionnaire we will verify this hypothesis.Research hypothesis 4:The concepts of notoriety and popularity of a brand is essential in the social media world.When it comes to a marketing strategy targeted at increasing the visibility and awareness of abrand the concepts of notoriety and popularity come naturally to mind as they are allimportant element to take into consideration in order to increase a brand presence in thepublic eye. When it comes to social media the question here is to know if those elements aregiven the same importance in this particular context for users. Do they tend to follow onlybrands that they know or are they more likely to be open to the idea of following new brands.Research hypothesis 5:Social media can be used as a way to federate followers through word of mouth.Word a mouth is a key element in a successful social media strategy. If a campaign is carriedout respecting key rules such as two way communication, increased sharing of relevantcontent or any other marketing campaign that will encourage followers to be implicated in abrand that will snowball into customers sharing buzz through their closest contacts 36
  42. 42. In the questionnaire, we will assess if BRIC consumers are likely to respond to said buzz byfor example following a brand they did not know previously thanks to the suggestion of asocial network “friend”Research hypothesis 6:Interaction is important for social media users.As we have seen in the desk researches, interaction is the basis of why social media wascreated in the first place and one of the element any social media users utilize this tool in thefirst place.We have already said it numerous times through this report but in any successful social mediacampaign it is important that interaction be one of the mandatory element present in the way abrand present itself on a given network.Through the questionnaire we will assess how important it is for the BRIC consumers byasking if they are satisfied by the current level of interaction brands afford them. 9. Quantitative analysisIn order to carry out successfully this research, it was chosen to conduct a quantitativeresearch where a questionnaire was first created and send out to a selection of respondentsfrom the BRIC countries.It was deemed to be a better way to collect information that lends itself to be quantified. Italso allows easier comparison to be made between the different countries. 9.1 Creation of the questionnaireThe questionnaire was created using the online tool “Survey Monkey” which allowedfacilitated creation and then easier distribution towards a greater selection of respondents.The questionnaire is axed towards six sections:  Two selection questionsThis section was created to filter respondents in order to make sure that they wouldcorrespond to the desired profile. These questions were axed around their hypothetical use ornot of internet and from which country they were coming from. In the case they did not matchthe desire profile they were redirected to a page thanking them but also informing them thattheir profile did not fit.  General use of social media 37
  43. 43. This section is comprised of questions related to their most preferred social media and allrelated questions such as on which one they were more interested in following brands andwhat type of brands they were following.  Social media, brands and followingWe were also interested in knowing why they were following it and a number of statementsabout the influence of the popularity of a given brand.  Brand and notorietyIn this part we asked respondents to asses a certain number of notions such as trust, closenessand word of mouth. It was also the occasion to ask questions related to interactivity.  Social media, brands and interactivityWe were also interested in knowing how users felt about the level of interactivity generallyafforded by community created in social media. We also touch upon the concept of e-reputation and how it affects interactivity.  General informationThe last part of the questionnaire was created in order to get personal information such as ageand level of education. This section also included two open questions. One affordingrespondents to leave a comment about their general thoughts about social media and the otherone allowing them to leave their email address in order to receive a synthesis of the results ifso desired.The criteria used for applicable questions were created using information from other studyand general bits found in the desk researches. 9.2 Distribution of the questionnaireIt was decided that in order to have exploitable data that highlighted differences between theBRIC a minimum of 30 answers should be collected from each countries.In order to reach this goal, it was first decided to contact previous students from IAEGrenoble considering that its roster includes a large selection of people coming from thesecountries especially when it comes to Brazil and China. However this strategy proved to beunsuccessful as even though a message inviting this public to answer the questionnaire wassent to a large selection, only a few responded and this, after a second email was sent outagain a week or so later.This can be attributed at least in part to the fact that certain of those former students belongedto older classes with the possibility than the email address provided was no longer in use.Another issue that has arisen is the fact that very few of those students were from India andthe selection of Russian former students was relatively low especially when compared to theother two countries. 38
  44. 44. From this point on it was clear that this strategy was not going to work for this study. Thesecond idea was to therefore invite people directly using social media.The first one used was Twitter. A message containing a link to the survey was relayed usinghashtags, a popular feature of this social media, as we have seen in the desk research, such as#india, #china, #russia, #brazil, #social media.The second social media used was linkedin were personal messages were sent to groupmembers from the aforementioned countries while making sure than those messages wereonly sent to people actually living in those countries and not coming from its diaspora.Lastly Facebook was used using the same method in order to round up the number ofrespondents.Even though it was a very time consuming process, it proved wildly successful especiallywhen compared to the initial idea as the proposed number of minimum respondents was notonly reached but also surpassed.The only drawback from this technique came from Chinese respondents. As we have seenpreviously in this report, Chinese social media users are generally less present in westernworld based social media like those used in this study, therefore decreasing the base numberof possible participants, for this reason there are less respondents from this country.Unfortunately language was a strong barrier against using popular Chinese social media suchas QQ or Sina Weibo.The choice of respondents was random, therefore it can be considered than the randommethod was used for this questionnaire.While initially apprehensive about asking strangers, to which the school linkage was notpresent, to take part in this study, it went relatively well with a certain number of peopleoffering to help by providing useful research results and advice or offering to furtherdistribute the questionnaire amongst their acquaintances.There was also a general sense that it was a subject that interested people that answered withmore than 134 people asking to have the results sent back to them.A total of 412 people answered to the questionnaire with 339 completing it (including thosethat were filtered) and 229 completing through the end. 10. Results presentationIn this part we will present the different results found through the survey. In a latter part wewill analyze those results according to the research hypothesis formulated in a previous partof this report. 39
  45. 45. 10.1 Filter questionsThis questionnaire was distributed to a selection of random respondents. In order to make surethat their profile corresponded to the problematic of the survey, two filter questions wereasked at the beginning of the questionnaire.Those two questions allowed us to only have respondents from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia,India and China) countries. The other selection criterion was about the respondent‟s use ofsocial media and namely if it is used to follow brands.This graph shows us that on the 412 people that took part in this survey, 11 don‟t use socialmedia and subsequently did not continue the questionnaire. 40
  46. 46. 34.1% of the subsequent respondents declared not following brands by means of social media,like the precedent question, those respondents were not invited to continue the survey.Another filter question allowed us to only have respondents from the BRIC countries. We cansee here that respondents from India and Brazil were more represented at slightly more than27.4% each while respondents from China and Russia represented almost 21% each. 41
  47. 47. During the distribution of the questionnaire, Indian respondents that were sent thequestionnaire were in general the most cooperative in answering the survey and a few peoplealso send it out to some as their acquaintances as testified by subsequent email received. ABrazilian surveyed also offered to translate the questions in order to reach more people,unfortunately due to time constraints it was not possible, however the same person did pass itout to English speaking acquaintances of his further explaining why the minimum quotas inthis country was reached and surpassed before the other three countries. 10.2 General use of social mediaIn this part, we were interested in knowing more about social media consumption habits. Thispart also asks questions about the respondents‟ relation with brands in the context of socialmedia.A clear majority (67.2%) of respondents declared using social media several times a day.This is in line with what was found during the desk researches where studies showed thateven though the BRIC have a relatively low level of penetration compared to other countries,the people that do use social media tend to really engage with it due to political, social reasonsor simply because it has become engrained in their way of living especially considering thatthey tend to also be consumed through mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets. 42

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