Businesses use social media for many different reasons. If you aren’t, then you may want to look into it as it can add another dimension to your customer service and brand awareness. Hell, it can even help your SEO by proving the validity of your website with constantly managed channels. If you are exporting to other countries or a global company, you need to think about your international social media marketing strategy.
You may populate Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at the moment – you maybe have branched out further to YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ as well – but some countries do not have access to these social media channels or have their own national equivalent which is more popular.
As a quick guide, here are the 7 things you need to know about international social media marketing.
Like we said above, you may be doing social media management for your brand now to create awareness, tend to customer service, get some engagement and even leads, but if you are an international company, it is imperative that you provide in the language they’re most comfortable.
We may be banging this drum a bit too often, we do have some bias as multilingual specialists, but there is a reason we chose this industry. Consumers want information in their language, it’s what they feel most comfortable communicating in. Although most of us here know more than one language, some even fluently, there’s nothing more comforting than your native tongue.
Providing your social media in the languages of the countries you operate in gets you more engagement which could lead to a number of positive effects like greater brand awareness, cultural assimilation and sales.
Localise As Much As Possible
Of course, culture is not simply language. Each region has its own dialect and a direct translation could cause you to lose out on the punch or perhaps even cause offence. There are some benefits of this type of research too. The number 6 is believed to be associated with luck in China. These cultural notes can either make, break or improve your business through the simple power of knowing.
Although social media is a difficult place to cover for everyone as it is a resource and time heavy task, it can be extremely rewarding to localise your content for each country to ensure the impact of your marketing is consistent around the world. Knowing their culture means knowing your customers; trickle-down effect.
International Social Media Channels: Which for Where?
Google, as you may know, has restricted access in China. Instead, everyone out there uses Baidu instead. What you may not know is that Facebook and Twitter are also restricted. The most popular platforms out there are QZone, Weibo and WeChat, a similar service to WhatsApp but with the addition of a feed.
If you go further south to Hong Kong, these restrictions are not applied but WhatsApp is still more prevalent – shop windows have the logo and their number next to it as a popular method of contact.
Indonesia has adapted quickly to social media by having a high number of its population at least signed up to the major social medias, including close to 50% being on Google+, a neglected social media here in the UK.
Facebook is the global leader with 1.55bn registered users, WhatsApp coming second with 900m users.
Research should be conducted before you sign up to what we perceive to be the norm or it could a wasted exercise.
What Do They Use Social Media For?
The idea of international social media marketing is a good one, but you want to know if it’s going to work before you jump in. It’s a good idea to understand the habits of each country before you dive in.
Do people purchase on their phones? Is social media marketing a deciding factor in the transaction? Are they looking for quick customer service? Find out and supply.
What Platform Are They On?
Platforms might influence social media choices. We all know Twitter is much better on a mobile or apps like TweetDeck rather than on the website, the functionality of the mobile means a better user experience.
South America and India both love their mobile devices which could an influential factor on their choices; the former are avid bloggers too, another possible platform to use the potential of.
Be the Innovator
You can lay the path here, not be the one that follows it. International social media marketing is in its infancy. Most companies that have adopted social media as a part of their marketing have succeeded in creating a voice, increasing awareness as well as engagement and branch out to great success.
All that’s necessary now is that you do the same for around the world and be the leader in a new age of marketing.
Go Local or Partner Up
You need to make a decision on whether or not it’s logistically viable to have native marketing teams in the respective countries you’re targeting. Although the benefit is that they’re in house, you may have less ability to manage the staff and it could be a costly venture to set up more offices, learn HR and legal requirements and hire full-time staff.
Partnering up with a translation specialist, like us, could be a more cost-effective solution and a better use of your current marketing resources. It would save you money overall, but still carry the majority of the benefits – especially if they use native-tongue translators (like we do).
Marketing is a constantly hit-and-miss, it’s a risk-reward venture, that does not mean you failed. To be faux intellectual and to risk sounding like a badly designed Facebook meme: you didn’t fail if you tried. Marketing is a constantly evolving medium and those who rest in the laurels are the ones who get left behind.