Lately there is a visible increase in number of blog posts about social media scene in Latvia. Overall, I believe that it is a good sign. Deep, professional conversations about this field is what Latvian social media scene really needs. The one problem with these blog posts is that as far as they are about twitter, facebook and other global social networks, they mostly reproduce opinions of recognized experts of the field. There are almost no opinions from Latvian advertising professional’s point of view. Ok, to be true, most of them mention that draugiem.lv is the most important social network in Latvia & the others are less relevant in today’s situation. But that’s it. No more talking about how to communicate in Draugiem and questioning whether it is effective and a necessity. The only ones I have seen that show some expertise are Laura Lasmane’s blogs about reach of brand messages in Draugiem, published in Latvian advertising vortal 7guru.lv. So what questions should we ask?
When the discussion is about Facebook, everyone cites research on EdgeRank, preferred brand behaviour, suggested frequency of posts, techniques how to achieve engagement and other relevant stuff.
When the discussion is about twitter, the expressions are the same, except for the EdgeRank part.
When the discussion comes to Draugiem, it usually stops right after- “Draugiem is the most relevant social network for Latvian advertisers, since it has the biggest user base, biggest reach and effectiveness.”
No comment on that last one. It is true. What troubles me is lack of opinions about content marketing in Draugiem and how effective it actually is or can be. Is it worth to continue communicating to fans after an end of a campaign? How many people brand will reach with its messages?
What I would like to talk about in this blog post is content marketing within draugiem.lv from brand’s perspective.
Draugiem differs from other social networks with it’s multiple information streams. If Twitter and Facebook (there are other social networks which display content in similar way as these two, but for sake of simplicity & getting my point accross I will use only these two as examples) seem to be built arund one central information stream (wall- which was improved by purchase of FriendFeed & tweet stream), with Draugiem it’s a little bit different.
You see, in Draugiem there is “runā” stream (below some static sections with no relevant content), but its importance for user is far from that of twitter’s or facebook’s (on this a little bit later). Anyways, this stream is the only way brand can speak up to Draugiem user from its brand page (they are similar to those on Facebook). Since this stream is a mess (cheap jokes, pointless pictures, other irrelevant stuff) of everything user’s friends do/share on social network and as well as other pages, brand messages are gone pretty fast (the rate of new messages is pretty high- depending on how much friends one has and how many pages he/she follows). One of the reasons, in my opinion, why there is so much noise, is the ease with which user can share anything. For example, each “Like” under a picture with a puppy puts the gallery with puppies on the top of the “runā” stream. That’s how this adorable but irrelevant content stays there. It’s the easiest way how to say “Cool, bro” to the post’s publisher, but it’s also the reason why this “runā” stream contains much less serious & useful content. I have to confess in such wrongdoings myself, since I have used and will use this way of encouraging funny content.
Lucky for users, there are specialized information streams for them to check out- photo galleries, blog posts and other sections. Thats how I and a lot of others stay on top of news in lives of my friends & acquaintances. Unlucky for brands, they don’t get in on these information streams. These news streams aren’t as inactive as their counterparts on facebook, becouse the “runā” stream was introduced a while after twitter started to gain traction in Latvia. Until then user’s only option to check out news from friends was checking each section of media (galleries, blogs, groups, etc.) manually. I believe that a lot of them still do things this way.
That’s why I wonder how 1000 brand followers on Draugiem stack against 1000 brand followers on Facebook or Twitter. And how differs the reach and awareness(?) of brand updates.
When I talk about twitter and brand followers there I suppose that most of (those actually using twitter) followers will see & read my message. When I talk about facebook and brand followers there I suppose that part of brand followers (I can see each post’s metrics) will see my message, depending on how much EdgeRank loves my page. When the same goes for Draugiem, I have no clue.
That’s why I would like to raise some questions for discussion:
- Each “runā” post has impression statistics. 1 impression is 1 first page load when message is somewhere in “runā” stream- it doesn’t mean if user actually sees it. How much users actually read this stream, what are their demographics, are they reading it only for jokes or for something else (more serious) as well? Personally, I refresh first page plenty of times during day to check if something new has happened in my profile, it might be that I’m not alone in this.
- What’s the chance of niche business owner reaching his follower with his message on any given time of a day? (supposing it’s the kind of content which is very relevant for only a small portion of users- it doesn’t float at the top of “runā” stream since it’s not the kind of content that gains a lot of “likes”)
- What’s the chance of niche business growing its presence on Draugiem, given the obstacles mentioned in this blog post? (hard to reach existing followers, the tone of content in “runā” stream, the unability to be present in the sections where users seek for more meaningful content- galleries, blogs, groups)
- How Draugiem users look at this stream of news? Do they take information published there seriously? Do they believe that it is an official communication channel for brands using it? Or do most of them expect to read only some fun stories there?
A small case study from about a month ago.
Brand (with very wide target audience- it is consumed by all demographic groups in Riga) with more than 10 000 followers publishes gallery with VERY “brand-related” content, gets hundreds of comments, more than 4000 shares, but the follower count increases by 20 people. A lot of engagement takes place, the content is high quality, but the production costs of content haven’t transformed in any long term benefit apart from the reach- more than million exposures. It doesn’t ensure that brand will be able to speak up to those engaged users repeatedly.
Brand has a lot of shareable content and this content is “brand-related” which benefits users almost daily, but that too doesn’t help to reach more people than it has gained by running a contest which helped to accumulate followers.
This is example of why I personally don’t believe in Draugiem as a platform that encorages creation of high quality, relevant content. It also gives a hint at why some agencies get away with posting content that is not relevant to brand in any way. Posting funny quotes and pictures found on internet (while totally irrelevant to brands they represent) is the only way how to keep hoping to be at least visible to some Draugiem users.
Some of this (why content doesn’t turn into new leads/followers) can be explained with the new way how draugiem displays content (it’s like facebook- clicking picture in the news/”runā” stream doesn’t take you to the page that posted content- it only displays the gallery/post in a pop-up). The difference between Draugiem and Facebook in this is that in facebook user can “Like” the page from this pop-up, in Draugiem user can’t even get from this pop-up to the page that posted the content- the popup has to be closed and the user has to click exactly on the page name (checked this on 28/02/12 – 22:30), to get to the page and to be able to click on the “Follow” button (or banner which does the same, if the page has one).
And the same goes for existing brand customers/followers- while brand on twitter can more or less count on the fact that consumer will read the message that is related to, for example, some new product update, on Draugiem- not so much.
So, what are your opinions on everyday brand comunication challenges or benefits in Draugiem? What are your takeaways? Any tips for businesses just starting to use draugiem.lv? Please, let me know in the comments section.