How to Create an International Social Media Strategy

It is no secret that people love to give social media advice—scheduling tools, social media analytics, the latest networks, proper etiquette, you name it—and while this advice is still incredibly relevant, it’s important to consider these aspects on a global scale. This past year in particular, more and more companies as well as individuals outside the U.S. are beginning to get involved with social media. This makes it more important than ever for companies to put a focus on a global strategy (strategy being the key word here). In other words, it isn’t as simple as hiring someone who knows how to speak another language.

Why You Need an International Social Media Strategy

A global strategy simply means being mindful of your foreign connections. Many companies today can work with others across the world, but even if you don’t operate a business that works with international customers and clients you can benefit for a few different reasons:

  • Visibility. It is never a bad thing to gain visibility, so making sure that your social posts can be understood by all cultures is beneficial. If someone knows someone or is hoping to move near your company, you’ll want them to know who you are.
  • Stay ahead of the competition. If you fall behind, you’re left behind. You want to stay current and make sure that you’re not the only company ignoring potential sales from foreign countries.
  • Easy access. This goes well with the last point. You want your social media accounts to be easy to find and easy to understand, and if you can make this happen you’ll be one of the few! If English is your second language and you’re the only company with a plan of action for that consumer, who do you think he/she is going to pick?

Unfortunately, creating a global strategy isn’t always easy. It involves analyzing your website in order to determine just how “global” you need to get, and where you’ll benefit the most.

How to Get Started with an International Social Media Strategy

1.     Prioritize and segment your audiences.

The first thing you need to do is determine where your foreign connections lie. Use tools such as SocialBro to gather this data for each individual social media account. Your followers can be different on Twitter than they are on Facebook, so you may need to have a slightly different strategy for each account (which you likely do already). Once you determine which countries are most interested in your accounts, you can segment your audiences accordingly.

However, just because you have a lot of foreign connections does not mean that this is your target audience. You must evaluate where you want your audience and put that on the top of your priority list.

2.     Either create specific country pages or use the customization features of the network.

Next it comes times to setup your social media accounts so that you can show certain messages to certain groups of people. This is done the easiest through Facebook and LinkedIn, which you can learn more about here. However, some companies find that it’s best to create an entire new page if there is a large foreign audience. This is really the only way you make sure you’re getting exactly what you want because the segmenting features of social networks don’t give you the option to do everything.

3.     Talk with native speakers about guest articles and translation.

If you’re ever planning on writing something in a different language, you should always check with a native speaker. While tools such as Google Translate are usually OK and non-native speakers understand the content might be a bit broken, this isn’t as acceptable when it comes to social media. Social media is constant—update alerts going straight to mobile phones, notifications popping up when you have a new tweet—so people don’t want to be listening to broken English. Talk with native speakers about your translation and see if they would be willing to write a guest post every now and again.

Once again, creating a global strategy does not mean that your other efforts should suffer. You want to continue to focus on you target audience and do what you can to make sure that you’re giving your current customers the types of information they need. A global strategy should be a compliment to your current strategy.

Does your company have a global social media strategy? What have you found to work the best? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: globalresearch.ca

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entreprenuers SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for Highervisibility, a nationally recognized as a Top SEO Company that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. 

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