Facebook may be the world’s largest social network, but regional social sites are carving out their own followings -- and companies are taking note.
In a reflection of the rising influence of Chinese and Russian social networks, Salesforce.com is adding integrations into the Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, as well as VKontakte, a Russian social network, to its social media monitoring platform, Radian6.
As more people in fast-growing economies like China and Russia use social media, clients have been clamoring for the ability to listen to and engage them in an authentic manner, explained Gordon Evans, VP of product marketing at Salesforce.com.
“What we’ve seen is new networks are cropping up regionally and adoption is accelerating,” Evans said. “And when you think of the rising middle class and the economic power of China and Russia, so many brands want to tap into these markets and build up their brand presence.”
Luxury goods companies, CPG companies, financial services and oil and gas companies are among the clients that have expressed the most interest in reaching social media users in Russia and China, he said.
Sina Weibo claims to have approximately 287 million active users, its competitor Tencent Weibo has 277 million active users and VKontakte has about 195 million registered users. Even though these numbers are dwarfed by Facebook’s 1 billion-plus users and other large social networks, the number of social media users, particularly in China, is expected to continue rising in an increasingly urbanized population and a growing mobile-phone market.
Salesforce.com isn’t stopping at social listening. Following closely on the heels of adding regional social networks to Radian6 are plans for engagement and publishing capabilities, Evans said.
“Just as we’ve delivered Social.com so that brands and agencies can run ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter,” he said, “as these additional networks roll out their own ads APIs, we want to be right there.”
Once social networks like Sina Weibo make its Ads APIs available to marketers, Salesforce would enable clients to deliver targeted ads that are connected to the CRM data about those users.
Sina Weibo is scheduled to be added to Radian6 by Q4 this year, followed by Vkontakte in Q2 2014.