Social buttons are used for a number of reasons, and their use on Russian websites is fairly similar to their use on non-Russian websites. However, the unique Internet environment of Russia requires companies with an online presence in the country to become familiar with the social media services that are popular in Russia.  This post will provide a background on the most popular Russian social buttons and the associated social media websites, so that readers will be familiar with which buttons they should include on their Russian landing pages.

Why buttons are important

Social network user penetration is led by Russia, making social media an increasingly important component of e-commerce activity in the country. Companies seeking to reach Russian consumers typically must embrace social media if they want to expand their customer base.  Social buttons provide a visible and familiar method for interacting with website visitors via social networking.

eMarketer_Social_Network_User_Penetration_Worldwide_by_Country_2014-2019_193685

Social buttons have three primary uses on Russian websites; to link visitors to a company’s social media networks, to provide visitors with a way to share a company’s product or service, and to allow visitors to log in to a website using an existing social media account.  These various methods for implementing social media buttons are detailed in the next section.

How to decide on which buttons to use

The goals of the webmaster typically dictate which buttons to use.  If the primary goal is to connect with visitors on a basic level and spread awareness of the company’s online presence, buttons that simply link to social media networks will suffice.  An example of this is shown below in a screen capture from Nissan’s Russian website.

Nissan

These buttons allow users to follow Nissan Russia’s various social media accounts straight from the Nissan.ru site.  The buttons are a constant on every page for the company’s models, and are also present in the dropdown menu for Nissan Russia’s “About” section.

If a webmaster is interested in having visitors share specific products they sell or content they have produced, they will typically employ buttons that allow people to share a web page on their personal social media accounts.  Many of Russia’s online shopping portals allow users to share product listings to their social media accounts using buttons.   The screenshot below shows the listing for a dress on AliExpress, with the sharing buttons provided below the picture of the dress.  AliExpress further embraces buttons by inviting customers to share the dress in order to receive points that can be exchanged for coupons.  Brands with their own online stores also tend to employ sharing buttons, as can be seen in the screenshot from Adidas’s Russian website.

AliExpress

Adidas

An increasingly popular use for social buttons is to allow visitors to log in to a web portal using their social media accounts.  This is beneficial to the visitor as they can use a preexisting account to have a personalized web portal, and it is good for the operator of the portal as it provides an immediate social media connection with the visitor.  It also functions as a useful marketing tool, as the visitor will be inclined to investigate the company’s presence on the social network they used to log in to the site.  The types of networks visitors can use to log in to a site vary widely, as shown below.  Yandex allows visitors to choose from a variety of Russia’s most popular social media companies, while popular dating site Mamba provides five options, and ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar only allows external log-ins from VKontakte or Facebook.

Having discussed the types of social buttons that can be implemented, this post will now transition to what social media outlets should be included in any array of buttons on a Russian website.

Overview of buttons to include in Russia

Each section for the social network overviews the social network and how it fits in the RuNet scene.

VK

Vkontakte is the most popular social network in Russia, and having a presence on the website is a necessity for companies interested in reaching Russian consumers.  The familiar “VK” logo is a common sight across Russian websites, as can be seen in the screenshots of various sites provided above.  Vkontakte is typically considered the Russian interpretation of Facebook, and while both companies have similar social networking features, Vkontakte has a much stronger presence in streaming media.  Many Russians turn to Vkontakte as a primary source of streaming music and video, and VK is especially popular among Russians younger than 25.

houzz

Odnoklassniki

Readers may have noticed in the screenshots above that social buttons for Odnoklassniki are not especially common on Russian websites.  Though Odnoklassniki is the second most popular social network in Russia, the site is particularly popular among older generations and is typically used for connecting former classmates.  The network has a lower e-commerce profile than other social media outlets in Russia, but webmasters should still consider employing an Odnoklassniki log-in button on their sites, especially if they are targeting the 25-50 demographic.  Odnoklassniki sharing buttons are also relatively common on news websites in Russia.

Yandex

WhatsApp

A globally popular messaging service with 900 million active monthly users, WhatsApp has a considerable fanbase in Russia.  The Facebook-owned service is available through mobile applications that have cross-platform capabilities, allowing users to message one another from within the app on any major mobile OS.  This makes the service especially popular for international communication, as well as in countries where text messaging is expensive or restricted.  Implementing WhatsApp as a social button is gradually becoming more popular, as it allows millions of users to share links via the app.

Facebook

The fourth most popular social network in Russia is not as widely used as it is in the United States, but its growing popularity and strong tools for brand integration make it a necessary addition for social buttons.  Specific brand pages for Russian companies and subsidiaries are less common than on Vkontakte, but Facebook is a necessary social button to have for sharing content, and it is a popular service to use for logging in to a company’s website.

BlaBlaCar

Twitter

One of the world’s largest social networking sites is increasingly popular among Russians, and Twitter’s familiar aviary logo condensed to a button is becoming a common site on Russian websites.  Any website that has implemented buttons for sharing almost certainly includes a button for sharing a page to one’s Twitter, as can be seen in the screenshots above.  Many Russian websites also operate Twitter accounts that they link to with social buttons, though Vkontakte and Facebook continue to be far more popular methods for companies to interact with consumers over social media.

Youtube

Online media consumption is especially popular in Russia, which helps to explain why many companies operate their own YouTube channels.  It is a good idea to operate a YouTube channel specific to a company’s Russian website in order to better expand one’s customer base.  Social buttons linking to the YouTube channels for companies are increasingly popular, particularly for those in fields where visuals are a strong part of the customer experience, such as in the auto industry.

In addition to these buttons, consider that Instagram and Pinterest are also important networks trending in Russia.  As a personal photo sharing site, Instagram isn’t utilized like the other aforementioned sites.  Pinterest may be relevant for certain websites that cater to the interests of female users.  As seen in the above examples, some implement Ultimately, a webmaster has a number of considerations to make when selecting which buttons to implement on their landing pages.