Here’s the good news — you’re in charge of handling social media for an international brand. Here’s the bad news — you’re trying to talk to different people in different cultures while still maintaining a single voice for said brand.
As social media marketing and metrics become more and more advanced, we’re learning just how much people want localized content. But this can be difficult when you’re dealing with a global brand.
So the question remains — how can you provide localized content on a global scale? Fortunately, you have options. In fact, two of them are outlined below.
Option #1: 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.
Option #2: Use a Tool That can Translate and Geo-Target Your Content.
The second option is 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 (ExactTarget by Salesforce has great reviews).
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. Optimize content for different time zones.
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 England 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 South America. Instead, make sure you publish content with various time zones in mind.
For example, the 60 Second Marketer e-newsletter publishes at 2:00 am Eastern Time so that our readers in Australia, New Zealand and Asia receive it the same day as our readers in Europe and the Americas.
2. Localize your video content.
Your localization 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 localize 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 globalizing 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 localized 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.