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August 7, 2015

How to Ignite a Global Social Media Strategy

Thanks to the creation of various social media platforms, the world is connected like never before. Thoughts, ideas, and images are shared with millions through digital publications on a second by second basis. And many brands have been afforded the chance to take a local business to the entire world. This sounds like a dream, but be aware: It’s complex to go global, and it isn’t for everyone.

As global consumers now expect to be highly connected with the brands they love, businesses are pushed to expand their social presence and cater to each specific audience under their digital umbrella. To help companies stretch their reach without busting at the seams, here are 4 tips and tricks for taking your social media strategy world-wide:

1. Start Where You Are At

Before diving head-first into this massive endeavor, it’s best to start by evaluating your current situation. This begins with gauging each country (or market you reach or would like to reach) by tracking the conversation that surrounds your brand and auditing the social accounts that currently exist.

This is normally a comprehensive undertaking and will take quite some time to complete. It is, however, critical to appraise your brand’s social presence from top to bottom to gain an intimate understanding of the footing you currently have. You can’t expand until you know exactly where you are – what’s working, what’s not, and what tasks you still need to conquer.

It’s also smart to start tracking conversations around the globe about your brand. Topsy is an easy-to-use, free tool that can help business owners acquire such information. Certain paid platforms, however, will surely provide more data.

It all comes down to what your budget can accommodate. Make your query as broad as possible in order to capture the biggest range of information. Other tools like Brandwatch allow for mentions to be filtered by territory.

Once this information has been harvested, define and track the most commonly used words associated with your brand in each country. If you notice your brand is particularly popular in an area where other languages are prominent, it may be a wise investment to hire native speakers in order to fully understand the discussions taking place. If this is something that your budget does not have room for, Google Translate can give you the gist of the conversation, but someone who is native to the langue will be able to provide something that Google can’t; context.

If you want to dominate a given foreign market, you will eventually need to speak the language. Until then, feel free to use translator tools as a short term solution.

2. Understand Your Audiences

It doesn’t matter if you’re in one market or 20; you need to study the metrics and ask the questions that reveal your demographic and all their complexities. The best way to determine what an audience wants and what they are looking for is simple; ask them. Utilize a blend of surveying tools to ask as many people as possible across multiple territories what it is they seek from brands like yours. This will provide a bevy of useful facts that a heap of content can be generated from. Start with audience profiles that were previously created and apply this foundation to audiences in each country.

By consolidating and evaluating this information you will be able to determine the nuances between your customers in each region and you’ll therefore be able to market to certain audiences much more effectively.

3. Be Aware of Time

For a local social media strategy, it is easy to determine what the most effective times of day to post are. When this blueprint is expanded to encompass a global community things get a little more complicated. While knowing your audience is massively important, so is knowing their location and behaviors.

Community managers must be extremely mindful of when posts are scheduled and published to ensure maximum visibility. Also, it would look a bit foolish for a brand to post “Good Morning” to a global community, when for most folks the morning has already come and gone.

Make sure that you are aware of the time of day (or night) in each country before sending out a post. Sites like World Time Buddy will help ensure that you are right on time, no matter what region you are posting to.

Time doesn’t just encompass the time of day, either; it also references holidays and local customs related to the date. That’s where number four comes in.

4. Coordinate Holidays

Not only is it important to publish posts relevant to specific countries, it is equally as important to not publish irrelevant materials to audiences. Consumers can become highly annoyed by content that is not relevant to their interests and your brand could get unfollowed rather quickly if you’re calling out an irrelevant holiday in their feeds.

Do your research. Find out what holidays occur for each of the countries you market to and coordinate your editorial calendar accordingly.

Additionally, if you choose not to become entrenched in holiday publications, select just a few that are universal across certain regions and stick with those. The more you customize content to your audience, however, the more you will engender loyalty and conversions.

To develop a successful social media strategy on a global scale is no easy venture. If your business isn’t at this level quite yet, it is valuable to simply learn to leverage the basics first.

As a final word of advice to anyone who chooses to take on such a task, remember that consistency is key and assumptions are the enemy. Study and understand the nuances and cultural norms for the countries you seek to build digital relationships with. Your failure to do so might just send you back to a local level.

Has your business developed a global strategy for social media? What other key pieces to a successful blueprint were not mentioned here?


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Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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