Don’t let the words “global audiences” or “global brand” intimidate you. Just because you’re in charge of the social media marketing of international audiences and multiple social media profiles that need to speak to unusually diverse target audiences with limited time, money, and human power, doesn’t mean you should worry.
It means you should read this article for a few tips so you can create your blueprint and feel confident in your game plan. It’s all about research, careful planning, team delegation strategy, and using the right social media marketing tools to dominate a global account.
It’s a lot easier to engage if you’ve put together marketing strategies in the past, but not impossible if you haven’t.
To start a social media marketing strategy to target a global audience and execute a global social media strategy audit your own comfort with the pillars of social media marketing.
Have you created marketing strategies for different social media platforms?
Do you know how to make a social media calendar?
Do you understand organic content vs paid social media content?
Do you know how to schedule posts to go live at the right times?
Have you created user personas?
You’ll need to do all those things and more when it comes to either an international audience or small local audiences in different countries so you can most powerfully implement the template below.
To target global audiences there are 8 or so more questions you should ask yourself. Before taking your social media marketing to the global market you should also know how to answer them.
So keep the following thoughts in mind when you create a global social media strategy.
Have You Properly Calibrated Your Messaging?
Do not overlook the importance of creating a do’s and don’ts messaging document for each audience. Words, slang, connotations, and phrases may not translate or worse could translate incorrectly around the world.
Here’s a cringe example…
In Indonesia, the word “Selamat” translates into safe and survive, and also celebrate, which caused balloons to appear on people’s posts sending prayers that people would survive, thanks to an automated messaging system. Facebook mistranslated the word and upset a lot of people.
Not that it’s the worst thing Facebook has ever done, but you get the point. You don’t want to throw confetti in your audience’s face when you’re trying to persuade them to purchase your product unless that is, your brand is confetti, but then not after an earthquake.
Latin America can be very tricky. Even though many are Spanish speaking, polite words in one country can be vulgar expletives in others. Cultural nuances are apparent even within countries, so keep in mind the culture gaps and cultural barriers possible when speaking in two or more native languages.
Really keep an eye out for idioms and other figures of speech that might not make sense in different languages. Aim for direct language. Get into the headspace of your customers or clients.
Do You Have Personas for Each Target Audience?
Know in advance this is going to be one of your toughest challenges.
Creating a persona or avatar of your target consumer takes a lot of research and they’re hard hours to bill because the results are difficult to make tangible: a paragraph or two about a fictitious person inspired by market research.
But here’s a little secret: whether it’s local or global, the business of social media marketing lives and dies on knowing the psyche of your target audience.
“Marketing” is capitalist for “psychology.”
Global brands have to create personas for people in every target country they publish social media content. Different avatars are needed even if you’re marketing to Canada and the U.S.
But how? Here are a few options:
Gather age group and demographic information that inspired your business to pursue the specific local audiences you’re targeting. That’s a start, but it’s not much. You can infer motivation and pain points but you can’t really know.
Conduct social listening by monitoring the social media platform you are on in other countries. Pay attention to local times that are busy. Language barriers can make this option difficult.
Research psychographic information by conducting interviews with locals.
Partner with a local expert that speaks the language, in touch with local events and understands the best social media strategy for your target locale. They can provide information and even assist in creating and publishing content.
Creating a persona is not easy, but it helps you understand how to fine-tune your messaging and pays off by allowing you to create content that lands the way it was intended.
10 Ways To Create Content for International Social Media Platforms
Take a moment to appreciate how incredible it is that you can operate the social media of a global brand from the palm of your hand.
Now let that go, because even though social media can be made on the mobile devices we all own, it takes a team of creative marketers to make it do what a brand want. Especially in many countries.
The good news is that if you’ve done it locally you can do it globally. The bad news is that targeting global audiences takes more work and astute attention to detail.
Let’s take a closer look at social content best practices:
1. Use Your Current Social Media Marketing Strategy as a Guide
Start with what you have and restructure to fit the needs of each country.
2. Use a Pro-Translator
Google translate is not enough. Have someone local review your copy even if you’re in markets that speak the same language. You don’t want to unintentionally offend anyone. 56% of consumers say receiving information in their own language is more important than the price in their buying decision. Double-check your translation and check it again. Translating content is key.
3. Double Check Language
Sure, your Facebook About Us section has been proofread countless times for an American audience in mind, but what about your global audience? Your company’s name, logo, colors tagline, values, and more may need to be tweaked slightly to appeal to an audience with an entirely different culture. Consult with a brand expert or social media expert to see if any of them need to be changed.
When Coca-Cola was first marketed in China, it was sometimes translated into “Bite The Wax Tadpole”. Nike had to recall products when a symbol on the back of their shoes resembled the Arabic word for “Allah”. It’s very easy to make a serious global marketing blunder if you aren’t familiar with other cultures and languages. Do not underestimate the necessity of hiring an expert of that culture and a translator.
Additionally, the language of your overall posting may need to be changed. Does your brand have non-native speakers that need translations? Do you use too many cultural references and/or slang that may be confusing?
Lay’s is an excellent example of how to rebrand for a global audience. In 1989 they acquired Walker’s Potato Crisps. Although they initially rebranded it to Lay’s colors and also their font, they still keep language distinct (and also have two separate social media accounts for them). They were quick to recognize that by doing so they could use language and slang that would appeal widely and greatly to each separate audience instead of using bland and boring text that would make sense to everyone. This leads us to our next tip…
4. Acknowledge Local Experience
Monitor and post about relevant local news and business climate, embrace holidays and traditions. Make it your business to know what is happening on the ground to the people you’re marketing to. What commercials do they see? What songs are they playing? Who are they talking about?
5. Get Local Time Zones Right
Your local community managers and local social media team leaders need to know the most effective times to post specific content for different regions to maximize visibility. Know the time difference and post in the local time zone when it is most time-appropriate. Pre-schedule your content so you don’t have to wake up at 4 am to smash that publish button. Facebook has a feature to schedule posts from your business page, just keep in mind Facebook limits you to Instagram and Whatsapp business. If you want to post on other social media platforms there are several social media scheduling tools available. Keep in mind you want to sync your posting times inconsistent posting, negatively affects your growth. different regions
Here are some great social media scheduling tools to check out:
Post Planner (recommended)
Sprout Social Media Management (powerful, all-in-one social media management platform)
CoSchedule (All in one social media marketing management)
Tweetdeck (Twitter content)
Sked Social (Instagram)
Slack: (Team communication simplified through instant messaging among groups )
Asana: (Team management to share details and assign tasks for projects both big and small!)
6. Research local laws
Consult with a legal partner and keep a file explaining the rules in each country. Claims, depictions, and other norms vary greatly around the world. One post could have several variations in order to satisfy local laws. What seems safe in one country could be offensive or illegal in another, for example in China which highly censors content for its internet users.
7. Choose Your Social Media Platforms
Just because you’re rocking it on Instagram in your primary country doesn’t mean you should take the same show to an international audience. In your market research, be sure to identify which social media platforms your target audience uses. You might find out your show makes more sense on other social media platforms like LinkedIn or to a Facebook audience.
A smart Facebook strategy in one country may be a pointless endeavor in another. Your audience may use Facebook primarily for messaging in one country but sharing photographs in another. Some countries use social media to run their business. Some use it in planning events, to help with a political organization, or just reading an awesome article. Know your business on each country’s social media platforms as well in the sales marketplace.
8. Use Simple Language
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating because idioms rear their ugly heads where you least expect it.
9. Think Global, Act Local & Partner with Local Influencers
Imagine this: You’re an American company that has a modest but loyal UK audience/customer base you are trying to grow. You plan painstakingly for Black Friday sales, announce it thoroughly on Facebook, offer social discount codes, etc. However, on Boxing Day (a major UK holiday), there’s radio silence. Nothing on your page, no sales, no mention of the big day. Yikes.
In order to cater to your global audience, you need to think local. Recognize their local holidays and traditions. Be careful when scheduling during breaking news, a major sporting event, or awards show – you most likely won’t have the results you desire.
Just like words, celebrities have different brands in different countries. Make sure you’re working with the right people
Managing a global social media strategy can take a few extra strategical steps initially, but great success can be found through it. Having an engaged audience 24/7 across the world is a difficult task, but well worth it in both sales and brand awareness.
10. Decide on a Single or Multiple Profile Approach
The billion-dollar question. We’re going to cover that below, so keep scrolling.
Should You Have Multiple Profiles for Your Global Brand?
The short answer is this—it depends.
But here’s how you can decipher how many social media accounts to have:
Open a social media account in your target country, in their native language, if you are directing a significant sales budget in that market.
Keep your account to your primary country and acknowledge your international audience.
Consider Nike, for example. Nike has the main Facebook page but then breaks off into profiles for different countries and sports. This helps create authentic and highly engaged audiences on each account and allows you to focus on language that is most appropriate for that audience. There’s a little more to it, but you need an answer to these two questions first to get a more useful answer. Here are some more tips:
First, let’s talk about having multiple profiles.
It seems ideal because of course you want each market to feel special, but it’s going to cost you more to run, and run well. Ask yourself how the country you are targeting would poorly target you for the same product and if you start seeing how tricky it can be. You need to budget for additional design and artwork, native-speaking translators, localized content, customer service, posting and monitoring, and more. Big companies like Nike have country-specific accounts so also consider your competition. If you enter a foreign market, you will be compared against different standards. If your business is invested, they need to budget appropriately for social media expansion. Often time’s it’s about finding the right partner.
Now, let’s talk about running everything from one account.
If your heart just sank into your foot, it’s okay. Not everyone needs to take the Nike path. You can still make the international love flow from one account. The trick is in the editing. Use clear language, make sure it musters up to all local laws, and yes—you can translate content into different languages in your comment. It will make you look like a global brand, address your audiences authentically. But there are downsides. You will have to make sure your banner media appeals to all target audiences of multiple languages and different cultures. It’s harder to create localized content, especially with local news and holidays. You can cover your tracks with newsletters and other content marketing so if you really wanted country-specific accounts but can’t scale, it’s not an Achilles Heel; it’s more like a pain in the butt.
Are Your Analytics Ready to Go?
None of this matters if you can’t measure the impact. Its important to understand the features of each social media platform and the statistics available from industry research organizations, emerging trends, and your campaign performance.
You need will need:
Analytics tools such as social listening tools, and tracking for content performance
A Social media management tool to track and analyze your social media channels
Google Analytics to measure the right metrics and goals for each of the countries you are targeting.
Research methods and processes can all help to identify consumer feedback and trends
Make sure you have clear business goals and measure the results you are looking for in your target audience, especially when you are competing for global traffic share.
Is Your Team Structured for Success?
You’ve spent all this time reading and you’re ready to get started on a global strategy! The world is yours! All you need are the right people and knowing your target audience. All you need to do is establish a global communications sync team. No. Big. Deal.
First, establish a hierarchy of approvals. Does everything run through corporate or do local social media managers have more say. Do global product managers have the final say in one market but local brand managers in another? Be sure all stakeholders feel included and create a human power strategy around that.
There’s no one way to make it work; bring the right people together and use each of your strengths. If you do that and it fails, look for a team with different strengths.
You can make the collaboration easier by using tools like Slack or Teams to create one channel for communication across time zones and tools like Box or Google Drive to create asset libraries that are easy for all to access.
You Can Reach A Worldwide Audience of 4.3 Billion People If You Go Global
4.3 billion people are on social media and that is 4.3 billion worth of international audiences traffic share to leverage. That’s about 57% of the world and the number is growing. 54% of these social media scrollers engage in order to research products. It’s not just in your country, it’s everywhere.
If you’re a brand and you have or want a social media presence on a global scale, reach emerging markets in multiple countries, whether it’s opposite parts of the world or just next door, there’s no better ROI than adding global social media efforts to take over the world and achieve business goals and objectives.