What Is VK and Why Should You Care?
VKontakte (VK) has over 400 million registered users worldwide, so why haven’t you heard of it? [Tweet this]
Speaking of dates, this article was updated on March 25th, 2022.
To understand what VK is all about, we have to dig a bit deeper than a simple Google search.
What we do know is that VKontakte (or VK for short) is a social media networking site. Like most social media networks you can add friends, gain followers, and post photos of your food and your cat. VK, like Facebook, also gives companies the ability to create their own pages for marketing purposes.
The standout difference is that VK is geared toward Eastern European users, especially in Russia. In fact, it’s the most popular social media platform in Russia by far. It boasts over 70 million active daily users and 3 billion daily page views.
It should be no surprise, VK is a Russian company. Mail.ru, a Russian Internet titan, owns the social media site.
As a Russian company, it adheres to Russian laws. This is important to note because of the laws surrounding copyright and IP in the country (or lack thereof). A lack of IP constraints enables VK to draw far more than simple inspiration from the best in the business. You’ll find a Facebook-style interface, Foursquare-like check-ins, and even a Pirate Bay type of file-sharing service.
How To Create A VK Account
Creating a VK account is easy. Simply enter a name, phone number, and password, then wait for your validation code and you're set. If you don’t want to give them a phone number, you can also sign up using your Facebook account. Registering for an account takes about 2 minutes in total.
Once your account is set up, you have the opportunity to fill out an in-depth profile to let your new network know who you are. The basic stuff is there: gender, age, relationship status, etc. But there are also fields for whether you smoke, or if you’re military. You can even list your personal priority in a number of important areas: family and children? career and money? entertainment and leisure? fame and influence? improving the world?
Why Should You Care?
VK is the largest social media networking site in Russia. It’s ranked globally for all social networks, second only to Facebook. It ranks higher than Instagram and Twitter. VK also ranks #5 on the list of all websites available.
VK has become a social media giant but still remains relatively unknown in North America. This is because the majority of users are in Eastern Europe. (VK has more than 70 million Russian users and over 97 million active users worldwide. For reference, Facebook has about 2.9 billion.) There is a major opportunity here just waiting. We can look at it from two sides: what we can tell VK users, or what they can tell us.
What We Can Tell Them
What we can tell them, is related to marketing teams and businesses trying to enter the Eastern European market. Using VK as an engagement platform will show your message to millions of people, mainly located in Russia, on a site they trust enough to use daily.
At Echosec we aren’t experts at breaking into new foreign markets, and we don’t pretend to be (OK, our marketing team sometimes does ). If you’re interested in reaching a Russian audience with your business, check out this article by Gareth Morgan.
What They Can Tell Us
VK, and social networks in general, are very useful sources of user-generated information. Whether a topic is trending, or an event or crisis is taking place, social media is often the first place we go to find out about it. Widely adopted social media platforms like VK are also incredibly valuable for understanding public perception and sentiment around certain topics and situations.
Information from VK, especially when combined with location data, is a valuable source of information for anything from marketing, to business expansion, to stock market insights, security, and intelligence.
To Wrap it Up
VK is one of the largest and most influential social media networks in the world. If understanding real-world events, public sentiment, or trends is important to you, in eastern Europe and beyond, VK is a data source that is not to be overlooked.
Echosec is an industry-leading open-source intelligence platform. We gather online content such as social media, blogs, and news, and combine it with geographic data and other enrichments to support security and intelligence teams.
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