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Okrut, social networking sites, Digital marketing, social media marketing

Orkut is a now-defunct social networking site, that started out as a place to find and reconnect with old schoolmates. Think of it as Google’s version of Linkedin and Classmates.com having a baby social networking site. Orkut was named after its creator, Orkut Büyükkökten, launched in 2004 and shut down in 2014 and proved to be extremely popular in Brazil, so much so, that 90% of its page view was from users in Brazil. With all the makings of success,  Orkut is a lesson in why small dreams end in failure. Just like in life, in all things, we need to dream bigger and evolve to meet the changing world.

READ ALSO: How Warby Parker CoVid Proofed their Business

But what is Orkut? Just like all the other social networking sites you are used to now, Orkut’s original purpose for existing was so that users could find like-minded people who shared similar interests and communities via keyword search, descriptions and other users. Orkut came to fruition at the same time as industry giants Facebook and LinkedIn and before Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest were ever even thought of.

Orkut was ahead of its time.

It grew quickly, within the first four months, Orkut had over 50,000 communities. The whole premise and strategy for the success of Orkut were built on users wanting to connect and reconnect with friends, classmates, and acquaintances from school, work and neighborhood groups. On this fact alone, Orkut garnered 20 million users by 2012. In the time it existed, we learned a lot about using social networking sites for marketing.

The community structure of Orkut (like more modern-day social networking sites) spoke to the changing role of the digital consumer because it gave consumers a place to interact and engage in communities with like-minded individuals, often of the same demographic, eager to connect and interact. Presenting the right products and services to these people would be beneficial and less commercially than traditional marketing structures.

READ ALSO: Why WeChat is a Super App

Why would consumers be more interested in participating with these messages rather than a diffusion strategy because it feels more organic for the consumer? When social networking ads target consumers by their preferences by what they like, those promotions feel more like word of mouth recommendations from a friend versus an advertisement pushed on a consumer. It’s less intrusive and more welcomed.

As a networking site, Orkut was very popular with the more tech-savvy students and workers in those industries; something for the CES and Silicon Valley crowd. It was great for connecting and engaging with friends, as well as, leaders in the industry and mentors. Many people were eager to be a part of the Orkut community as much because of its prestigious, invite-only membership as its affiliation to Google.

Belonging to Orkut held a lot clout as it inferred that members were highly connected in the technology field.

The site itself was clean, simple and sophisticated for a networking site at the time. It was also easy to use, navigate and join communities. Friends were able to rate each other on how sexy, cool and trustworthy they found each other. This was a predecessor to today’s modern-day likes system.

Okrut, social networking sites, Digital marketing, social media marketing

Orkut also allowed users to make recommendations about products and services like YELP, allowing members to point fellow members in the right direction based on experiences. This was part of its charm for Brazilians.

Why Orkut was such a hit with the Brazilians:

  • Brazilians do a lot of online shopping with one of the strongest markets for online retailers.
  • They also happen to love social media.
  • Outdoor marketing isn’t allowed in Brazil, so you won’t be bombarded by billboards. However, it has made online marketing lucrative and effective.
  • In Brazil, 77% of Brazilian social media users like to shop online, most of them use social networking sites like Orkut to research products and of those, they are more likely to trust recommendations from someone they know online.
  • In Brazil, online marketing is not an option, it is the way to be successful. It’s about more than just existing online they need to actively engage via blogging, social gaming and online video that required in marketing campaigns. Online video is King and Okrut could have done a better job with the video.

Orkut proves that as technology evolves so must digital platforms to meet the needs of the user.

In the end, functionality problems killed the social networking site. Orkut had issues with its website, including blockages, limiting the number of friends and difficulties in loading and sharing photos. Once Orkut stopped meeting the needs of the culture and audiences they served, they became irrelevant and lost consumers. Eventually, they were replaced by newer sites. In the end, Orkut had all the makings of a successful networking site, however, it didn’t have a plan to evolve to meet user’s needs or the fortitude to push and grow beyond the original vision. Orkut simply got left behind by refusing to change.

Were you familiar with Orkut? What is currently your favorite social networking site? Why or why not?

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WeChat, Weixin, social media, super app

With social media and apps, as with any product made for human beings, it is common knowledge that how each individual reacts to it depends on their own life experiences. This means that the best way to succeed with the people, targeted demographic, that you want to ingratiate yourself with, personally or in business, you need to be aware and anticipate the wants and needs of those individuals. For example, you’re not going to make any friends trying to convince someone who has no legs to buy Louboutins. Read the room, bruh (as my teen likes to remind everyone).

More than just knowing your audience, you need to understand them and be willing to be flexible to accommodate changing needs. This is the same in romantic and friend relationships. I guess the part where we care enough to meet the needs of others is what makes us human; it’s the social aspect that we crave and that’s exactly what makes social media apps so appealing to extroverts and introverts alike.

READ ALSO: How to get invited to Disney’s Social Media Creator Days

For example, Weixin (pronounced “way-shin”), better known as WeChat, is a popular Chinese multi-purpose social networking app developed in 2011 by Tencent, a Chinese social media company. Within 3 years, Weixin had more than 300 million active users in China, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. If you think TikTok is taking off, WeChat did it first. 

WeChat is similar to WhatsApp in the United States. However, WeChat is way more comprehensive than WhatsApp allowing users to send messages, share news and pictures, access social media and even mobile payments via their cell phone. It really is an app for everything, a super app. You say, “they’ve got an app for that”, the app is WeChat. With those kinds of capabilities, it’s no wonder if has over 1 billion monthly users worldwide. It’s the closest competitor is the Weibo app, if just depends on what you’re using it for.

Aside from messaging and calling features, WeChat provides text messaging, one-to-many broadcasting, video conferencing, hold-to-talk voice messaging, video games, photo and video sharing and location sharing. Why don’t we all have WeChat? I, honestly, never heard of WeChat until I started binge-watching C-Dramas like it was my job this pandemic and I can testify that everybody in my C-Dramas uses WeChat, so much so that I’m getting FOMO from it.

READ ALSO: C-Dramas to Save You from the Pandemic Pit of Despair

Why is WeChat so successful when there are so many apps out there? Easy, WeChat is user friendly. It is the result of caring enough to get to know the audience and enhance the quality of their lives. The developers have made sure that the app is an asset that makes life easier, more streamlined and more convenient in a world where we are all busy, overworked and exhausted. It’s so good at being useful that it’s not extraneous, it is a necessity to many. It’s as vital as the cellphone itself to most.

WeChat knows that its key demographic is young, urban smartphone owners and specifically targets them by providing them an “all-in-one-platform” app.

It offers a wide range of functions from sending a baby photo to friends, getting news, text messaging, to finding a cab on the street. WeChat is more than a combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and eBay. It rolls them all into one and makes those apps redundant. Why download 5 apps when you can do everything in one?

WeChat is easy to use. Everything about it from the interface to the functions are designed to be straightforward and easy to use. One feature that I love, that I use frequently on my phone, is voice messaging by just pushing 1 button, especially when you’re not in the mood to talk but you’re just too busy to type it all out. It’s the closest thing to talking to someone. If you know, you know.

WeChat also allows users to open almost everything within the app browser so you’re not constantly being rerouted to Chrome and a new tab. It’s easier, more aesthetically pleasing and less “noise” on your phone. WeChat provides so many capabilities for its users they don’t need to go anywhere else. It’s like having a really well matched and attentive partner, if all your needs are being met at home, why go out?

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This high rate of satisfaction keeps users in the app longer versus jumping in and out of various apps for separate functions. With all of the capabilities it has like the cab reservation function, Didi Taxi, allowing users to book taxis directly, Weixin pay features which eliminates the need to carry around your credit cards and cash and all the other social aspects, people can be highly independent and self-efficient. The best thing about WeChat is that it keeps changing to meet its user’s needs, continuously introducing new functions and features to keep up with the evolving and growing needs of its audience.

WeChat, Weixin, social media, super app, weibo

In Chinese culture, during the holidays, people give friends and family monetary gifts in red envelopes. A thoughtful feature WeChat introduced in January 2014, right before the Chinese New Year, was a Red Envelope “Qiang Hongbao” campaign.

  • It allowed WeChat users to link their bank account to their WeChat account and send or receive red envelopes virtually.
  • Just to keep things fun and exciting, Weixin allowed users to put a sum of cash in the Red Envelope and then distribute the money randomly among a group of recipients the user set up.
  • The user sets the amount of money, i.e. $100 among 6 friends and the app randomly sent each friend an envelope with a surprise amount, it could be $1 or it could be $99.
  • It was fun for the giver and receiver but more importantly, it encouraged people to use the app.
  • Nearly 5 million people participated in the Red Envelope campaign and sent out 20 million cash-filled red envelopes virtually.

By meeting their audience’s needs and wants, WeChat has made themselves indispensable in those people’s lives. The app is a part of their daily routine and way of life. The best part is WeChat is always ready and available to help, always within an arm’s reach. How many people can we say that about?

Do you have WeChat? If not, what app are you most dependent on? Is there one that you would be lost without?

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