How Sputnik V builds its reputation on social media – Sputnik V is the only vaccine against Covid to have an official Faceboook page, a Youtube channel and an official Twitter and Instagram profile. A direct and effective method of communication, the one orchestrated by Moscow, which has won the attention and analysis of magazines such as Fortune, ready to dedicate articles and analyzes to it.

Behind the anomaly in seeing a vaccine “speak”, “respond” and “tell” in fact, a communication strategy is hidden which, especially on Twitter, a place very frequented by journalists and popularizers, works better than the set of press releases, conferences, and often aseptic statements from pharmaceutical companies, governments and institutions. At least if the initial intent is to address people directly bypassing the authorities.

The Sputnik V profile, complete with a blue check that guarantees its authenticity, has no qualms about addressing the profiles of newspapers and journalists directly, explaining dynamics and pointing out inaccuracies. Always with a gentle but firm tone, open to dialogue but authoritarian in his responses. Behind it is obviously the Russian propaganda apparatus that has made the nationally produced vaccine a flag to fly around the world.

The attention to detail emerges from the biography chosen to present itself to the world. “The first registered COVID-19 vaccine in the world – we read – with a proven efficacy of 91.6%, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute. Registered in 56 countries “.

Following him there is an audience of over 220 thousand followers who every day can read, almost always in English, a cascade of news from the countries that have already approved it or the relaunch of a series of declarations in those, especially in Europe, which open to the its possible use. Alongside this, there are also several “sponsored” ones, namely those paid campaigns that increase the visibility of a particular account eager to expand their audience.

“Call to action”

On Facebook and Instagram, Sputnik gives great space to images, polls and the involvement of its 140,000 followers overall. In short, that which in jargon is called “call to action”, a call to action, often with rewards and prizes.

An example? The birth of the “V for Victory” contest, relaunched on Sputnik’s social networks, complete with a dedicated website. Users are encouraged to post a photo on their message boards, making it public, showing a “V” as a gesture of victory, quoting (tagging) a friend, and using the hashtag # SputnikV4Victory.

Up for grabs, for the lucky ones, is a trip to Russia “when you can”. A vaccine that rewards you, in addition to saving you, is a social gimmick that is perhaps difficult to imagine but that can give many fruits in terms of visibility and increase of its community.

Sputnik V instead, it favors quality over quantity. About twenty videos appear on the channel, almost all less than two minutes, focused on certain aspects of the vaccine, its characteristics, its future importance. Each content is curated, with a clear and recognizable message, accompanied by data, obviously subjectively chosen, external surveys, smiling faces. The members are just over 5 thousand.

But who is behind it all?

The “blitz” on social media, as Fortune calls it, was wanted and designed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (Rdif) and the Gamaleya National Center for Microbiology and Epidemiology, which developed the vaccine, with the intention “to promote the worldwide acceptance and use of the Russian vaccine “.

On the one hand, therefore, we want to provide selected and approved information; on the other hand, instead, you want “give people hope that they will soon free themselves from the pandemic and will be able to return to a normal life “without” social distances and masks “, said Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of Rdif, during the launch of the campaign in 2020.

In short, building a solid reputation on the web, in times when social networks are capable of influencing public opinion, the media and millions of simple users, could also be fundamental for a vaccine. And perhaps Sputnik understood this first of all.



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