So, here’s the great news – you’re in charge of managing a social media account for an international brand. However, the bad news is – you have to speak to different people in different cultures, while still having to maintain a single voice for said brand.
One of the toughest challenges facing brands in social media is how to manage activities across different countries and cultures.
Look, the problem has been around for quite some time, but as the social media population grows and spreads out across multiple platforms, it actually gets a bit more complicated.
But what’s the issue, really?
Well, it all boils down to one straightforward question: Should we have a single brand presence in social media, or just create a number of tailored presences for different audiences?
Spoiler: Despite the question’s simplicity, there’s no ‘silver bullet’ answer.
Different brands will have different objectives to achieve, and different audiences to engage through social activities. Moreover, copious practical issues – such as whether everyone in your audience can even access the same platforms – will play a part in determining the right answer.
So, how do you decide which approach is the most appropriate for your brand’s needs?
Let’s explore our options.
First option: Create different accounts for different countries or regions
If your brand is already established, this is the most obvious and easily implemented choice. Having staff around the globe to manage its respective social media accounts solves the issue of marketing appropriately to a foreign culture without having to outsource efforts. In fact, most Fortune Global 100 companies have different accounts for different regions or cultures.
Second option: Use a tool that can translate and geo-target your content
This option would require you to employ a tool that can translate and geo-target your content for you. Look for a tool that can also monitor the metrics associated with the geo-targeted content.
These two options are not mutually exclusive, either. Combining the concept of different accounts (by country or by region) with a great tool for geo-targeting can help you reach a level of multicultural engagement you wouldn’t have thought possible.
Once you have your plan in place, you’re ready to start marketing across cultures and overseas.
Here are five things you should do to make the most of your global following.
1. Optimise content for different time zones (duh!)
Your geo-targeting tool may do this for you, but if not, it’s an important step to account for. If you’re publishing in South Africa and you focus only on the time zones relevant to your surroundings, you will miss out on an important market in Asia or disappoint your loyal followers in the UK. Instead, make sure you publish content with various time zones in mind.
2. Localise your video content
Your localisation tool may be able to translate your text content, but your videos are another story. At the very least, you should be providing subtitles in various languages (different videos for different languages) so that your international followers can, well, follow along.
But if you really want to hit it out of the ballpark, you can localise your video content in a huge way. Different cultures respond better to videos of different natures, from more serious and professional to cute and funny. By creating videos targeted at various cultures, you will be able to reach them in a way that other global brands don’t.
3. Adapt quickly to popular and up-and-coming platforms
While the big four (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn) top the list in most countries, there are a surprising number of networks popular in other countries that you may have never even heard of. For example, the most popular network in China is called RenRen. While a lot of these users are on Facebook, it would reflect very well on your company if you were to meet these users where they are most comfortable.
As more and more new networks arise, different cultures are going to grab onto different platforms. It’s important to make sure you’re well-represented on each new platform in order to target the members of whatever culture might choose to really claim that platform.
4. Make sure you have global policies in place
The hardest part of a global effort is keeping everybody on the same page. Policies are key when dealing with social media, and globalising those policies is imperative.
However, don’t think that one sweeping set of policies will get the job done. Each guideline needs to be adapted to different countries and divisions to make sure that it translates culturally. This is especially important when dealing with things like the tone of your company’s posts, since the same effect will be achieved differently in different languages and across multiple cultures.
5. Monitor your global metrics closely
As your social media efforts get bigger and bigger, it becomes increasingly important to keep a close eye on your metrics. Look at each country’s stats individually to see if a specific demographic or group is falling through the cracks. And don’t forget to look at the difference between each account’s total fan base with the “People Talking About This” numbers. Discrepancies here will help you identify areas to improve upon and nurture a little more closely.
At the end of the day, people want to feel close to your brand. The best way to accomplish that in regards to your social media is to look at every aspect of your efforts and insert localised content wherever possible. These five tips, when combined with different accounts and/or a great geo-targeting tool, will help you connect with your multicultural following in a more personal way that other brands just can’t.