Guest Blog: How To Set Up A Global Social Media Strategy

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We’re delighted to introduce guest blogger Rachel Chilson. Rachel is a marketing communications specialist in social outreach.

Ready to participate in global social media? How to set up a proper strategy

There are 1.73 billion social media users worldwide. By 2017, this number is predicted to reach 2.55 billion, according to SocialMedia Today. Of these users, the fastest-growing and most engaged markets are Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Clearly, social media has great potential to grow your business and boost brand awareness worldwide—and it’s only gaining in popularity. If you’re thinking—Sign me up!—you’ve got the right idea.

But before you log in to the latest social craze, you should take a step back and really plan out your approach.

Global social media requires a little more planning than your traditional social media efforts because of the language and cultural knowledge required to be successful. Let’s look at how you can set up a global social media strategy and engage customers in all your target markets around the world.

What are your goals? What does success look like?

Just like with your traditional social media initiatives, you want to determine your underlying social media goals. Decide how participating in global social media contributes to your global marketing strategies as well as your company’s overarching business goals.  Do you want to boost company sales in Russia? How will your social media efforts help achieve this?

Once you tie your global social media activities into your overall business goals, you can set smaller goals to help you get there. For example, you may decide that you want to measure a tweet’s reach to see how many people are sharing and engaging with your brand. Maybe you want to measure the number of people getting to your website from social channels. Do you offer any deals or rewards for your followers? If so, you can see how many people redeem that coupon code.

Goals will differ from company to company, but if you have a solid understanding of what you want to achieve, you’ll know what to measure to determine if your global social media efforts are working.

Get to know your audience

Once you understand your goals and the regions you plan to target, it’s time to really get to know your audiences.

This is very important with global social media because you will need to understand your audiences’ cultural norms and expectations from brands that are active on social media. You don’t want to put off—or offend—potential and existing customers.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are you trying to reach on social media?
  • Who will most likely purchase your products and services?
  • What language do they speak? Is there more than one?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they hang out on social? Facebook, Twitter, VKontakte?

Answering these questions can help you determine how and where to focus your energies. For example, South Korean audiences’ primary social media use centers more on videos and blogging. This knowledge can help you understand which types of content to use to make your campaigns all the more effective in each region. Social channels range in popularity across cultures, too. While Twitter may make sense for engaging your South Korean audiences, VKontakte may be a better channel for reaching your Russian fans due to its wide use there.

Doing this region-specific research helps give you needed insight to ensure that global social media will fit within—and help you achieve— your overarching global business goals.

Combining global and local

You want to be sure you have enough in-country expertise to successfully manage your social media program. It’s not enough to simply know the language—although that’s certainly important. Nothing puts a bad taste in your audiences’ mouths like a brand butchering their native tongue. You’ll want to look and sound like you are a local brand.

To truly connect with target audiences, your social managers should be immersed in the target culture so they can take cultural nuances into consideration to design custom, locale-specific social media campaigns that will resonate with locals. If you don’t have the resources to manage this internally, you can always work with a language service provider, like Sajan.

Ready to put the plan into action?

As you can see, global social media is complex, but if you put a proper strategy around your efforts and use the right resources, you’ll be getting social with fans worldwide in no time.

Does your brand participate in global social media? How do you manage it all?