The Social Media Bible, 3rd Edition - Chapter on Bulgaria
Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg publish the first ever chapter on Bulgaria in "The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success", a global bestseller by Lon Safko. The chapter on Bulgaria was written by Bulgarian PR expert Maxim Behar for the book's 3rd edition at Safko's invitation.
International Perspective: Bulgaria
Bulgaria is undoubtedly a social media country.This is true not only because it is ranked 55th among the world's countries on Facebook with almost 2,5 million users, but because Bulgaria is full of young, intelligent, very enthusiastic, and quite ambitious people.
The characteristics of the market - relatively stable with an extremely attractive tax policy and good niches for business – mean that many ideas and sales initiatives are able to find customers and places to thrive.
At least 80 percent of Bulgarian businesses currently online- mostly consumer goods and retail use Facebook. Among the top businesses represented there are one of the leading discount coupon sites, the most popular disco club, and tourism and fashion sites, as well as a chocolate brand produced by a large international company. Commercial Facebook pages average about 100,000 fans, while media and entertainment pages have at least 35 percent more.
The most successful strategies involve implementing Facebook applications,such as creating "like/dislike" games, but the commercial effect is definitely still below expectations. The main reason is the low level of understanding that direct promotions and marketing tools work in a completely different way on social media. Some have also attempted to use Twitter commercially to improve their branding or to create business interest, but up to now, although "140-character media" is quite popular in the country, its primary uses are to provide news or as a mood- sharing instrument.
Lately, Foursquare has been getting more and more business customers in Bulgaria, and may soon become a very successful marketing tool for retail and entertainment businesses. One of the leading local banks, First Investment, provides excellent information on the network about its branches, and also gives awards to the mayors of its branches. The top computer seller, Plesio, provides special discounts for mayors and regular visitors, and many restaurants and shops have also taken over their places on Foursquare and provide attractive incentives for users.
Vbox7, Bulgaria's YouTube-style website, provides a lot of commercial opportunities and is actively used by show business, while Google+ is still being scrutinized and is used by almost no business customers in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is generally a very well- connected country, and the more Internet users it gains (57 percent of the population in late 2011), the more businesses will start to rely on online sales, primarily based on social media promotions. This is a stable, growing trend that will surely develop in the coming years.
by Maxim Behar
Social Media Expert
CEO & Chairman of the Board
M3 Communications Group, Inc.
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