How does social media in Brazil help brand building?

by User Not Found | October 15, 2012

This is the third blog post in the series where we look at social media in different countries. In this post, Adriana Sousa, Digital & Media Director, Latin America, discusses social media in Brazil. 

How do people use social media in Brazil? 

In Brazil social networks have become a meaningful form of expression in people’s personal and professional lives. They represent the second most important channel of communication today after television. Overall, consumers in Brazil use social media for: 

Communicating with friends - Brazil has always been a particularly social market and currently owns the fifth largest social networking population in the world. Until the end of 2011, Orkut - a site operated by Google - was the most popular channel, but since January 2012 Facebook has become the most used platform.  

Entertainment - Watching TV is embedded in Brazilians’ DNA, and is one of the most popular ways to have fun. There is a significant online video culture, with YouTube ranking as the second largest social platform and continuing to grow its penetration among Internet users.  

Getting informed – The digital world makes consumers feel they need to be informed in real time for everything, and it is for this reason that over the last few years Brazilians have succumbed to Twitter. However, the network has recently lost relevance and 24 percent of its unique visitors due to lack of innovation and visual interaction; elements which are appreciated by local consumers. But this has created space for Facebook to emerge in this segment.

Professional reasons – LinkedIn has become highly popular with Brazilians as they adopt modern channels of communication in their professional life as well as personal.

Are there any smaller niche networks that you think could be the next big thing in Brazil?

Instagram and Pinterest have increased in popularity, especially among women, and provide brands with more opportunity to engage online with consumers. Brazilian marketer, Rafael Cunha, recently said: “People don’t want to know you are on the beach, they want to SEE you at the beach.” Recently, Pinterest and Instagram have also gathered the interest of specific professional sectors such as architects, designers, chefs and decorators.

What challenges do brands face in Brazil when using social media?

Marketers are apprehensive about using social media for their brands through fear of rejection or confrontation. One reason for this is the lack of research explaining how relationships with brands are being formed in the digital space. Considering the growth of social networks that focus on complaints about brands and services, clients should indeed be worried.

Another factor is that brands have not yet learned when they need to be interactive and when they need to be informative, resulting in the use of communication strategies that are too descriptive.

What brands have you seen succeed in the social media space?


Findings from a recent Firefly Millward Brown study showed that consumers are looking for brands that go beyond traditional advertising, and that content needs to be funny, visually appealing, but keep its essence. 

The Brazilian soft drink Guaraná Antarctica is an example of a brand that has succeeded in doing this. Guaraná Antarctica used a strategy to strengthen its relationship with fans by using technology to increase engagement. The soft drink brand ran an interactive campaign called “Carona que contagia,” in which a car was driven based on the number of "likes" made by fans. Each “like” was worth 10 kms, and a comment 20 kms, which made the car move in the direction of the Carnival in Salvador held in the Northeast of Brazil.

Will social media networks ever make money from brands in Brazil?

Global research has revealed that social media is a key focus for 57 percent of media executives and will be for the next 5 years. In Brazil, 70 percent of companies that invest in social media focus their advertising on Facebook and YouTube. The majority of those brands are located in Sao Paulo (63 percent), followed by Rio de Janeiro with a much lower percentage of only 7 percent, leaving room for brands to do much more on social media. 


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  1. Alexandre, October 24, 2012
    Great article. Another exemple of successful usage of Social Media was the Spoletto Restaurant that used a fun video complaining about its service and reverted back into another funny video showing the company training again the employee to better attend the customer the best way possible. Those 2 videos were accessed so many times in Youtube and the brand got stronger after that.
    Alex Lopes
  2. Eduardo Carvajal, October 19, 2012
    I really love the "brief case study" posts in this space, and when they have a worldwide reach makes it even more interesting, nice work.
  3. Adriana, October 16, 2012
    Hi Anderson, thanks for your comment..
    You are right about the risk of social media usage for complaints and the possible negative impact on brand building. That's why investments on that space need to be very well planned and monitored along the way.
  4. Anderson Marcelo Gomes, October 15, 2012
    Good article! I'd like to add the key aspect of social media usage related to Brands in Brazil is much more focused on Customer Care, I mean, the power to complain and demand solutions using social media is much more higher than the power of using it to push your values as a brand. In other words, to keep your brand you should take a very good care about the complains that come from this channel. Non-attended complain will cause a devastating harm on one's brand.


    Andy Gomes

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