Within the last 18 years, we’ve seen the rise and fall of so many social media platforms.
In between this period, different platforms have come and gone from the stage. One of such pretenders was Orkut.
Launched in 2004 by Orkut Buyukkokten, Google product manager. At the height of its growth, it has over 30 million users and was adding hundreds of thousands of new users daily.
Interestingly, the social network proved quite popular in Brazil. During those days, over 90 percent of page views were from that country. Unfortunately, the network could not replicate its success globally.
One would expect Orkut, the social media backed by the search engine giant Google to flourish in this domain; however, the reverse was the case.
What went wrong?
Looking back today, one can point to a couple of things that led to Orkut’s demise – that’s aside from stiff competition from Facebook.
One is the name of the social media platform. Believe it or not, the name played a role in why the network couldn’t catch on.
Take, for instance, Orkut to an English speaker sounds like Occult – lots of negative connotation.
Secondly, it isn’t memorable – users might even struggle to pronounce it; plus, it doesn’t describe exactly what it does in one go like Facebook.
Another thing Orkut got wrong is, it couldn’t replicate its successes in Brazil and India in other parts of the world.
The nascent stage of the social media coincided with the slow emergence of the middle class in countries like Brazil and India.
So, it wasn’t surprising to see these people who have just found themselves with increased disposable income take to the internet.
And, interestingly in Brazil, Orkut provided the perfect virtual environment for people to organize themselves into communities just as in the real world. It’s common to find communities organized based on interests – so you’d see a football community, politics, sports, and so on.
Another feature of Orkut was that it made it possible for users to participate in communities instead of being just passive listeners.
Why would consumers be more interested in participating in these online messages rather than diffusion strategy?
To understand this, we will have to look at the Brazilian society. In the real world, outdoor banners were banned. Hence, elevating the position of digital marketing to a place of importance.
Also, Brazilian culture holds a strong affinity for digital and social media. At least these data confirm it – 77 percent of Brazilian social media users have a positive attitude to online shopping. Eighty percent of users say they use social media to research products.
In a culture where brands must engage their fans on various digital platforms, what advice would I lend businesses about their future social media strategy?
Understand that technology changes pretty fast. What’s the fad today, will likely become obsolete.
Throw into the mix that user behavior and tastes shift with changing technologies; it becomes a tad challenging to create a change-proof strategy for the future.
However, regardless of trend, there’re a couple of things organizations can do to stay on top of their social media game: one, strive to become the most resourceful, trustworthy brand in their niche.
Secondly, track the data to understand where the trend is moving towards and position to take advantage of it.