Social media is not only part of daily life for individuals all around the world it is also an important marketing tool for companies. It is a very powerful means through which to send a message and this is demonstrated further when users comment or share the content you have posted.
Social media platforms allow people from anywhere in the world to be contacted and messages can go viral in a matter of hours. That is why appropriate use of social media, and more importantly use of the company profile online is key to any online brand marketing strategy.
Here at blarlo, we want to provide you with some tips on how best to utilize social media in foreign markets and to demonstrate that they are not merely an unobtainable myth.
1. Learn more about the social networks that your target audience uses on a regular basis
Each community uses different social networks. It is a mistake to think that all overseas markets behave in the same way as our country. For example, in Spain, Facebook is one of the most widely used social networking sites and we would be wrong to assume that the same is true in other countries around the world. In fact, research has shown that China and Russia do not use Twitter or Facebook and have their own social networking sites – these are known as Sina Weibo and Renren in China and Tencent and Vkontacte in Russia.
Before establishing a profile on any social media site it is very important to study the way users interact with each other, how to navigate the networks easily and the strategy (if any) of any of your competitors. A previous review or benchmarking process can be used to provide you with very valuable information which will allow you to develop your social media strategy further in the future.
2. Create a social media strategy
Once you know which social networks your competitors are already present within, how the users interact with them and what their needs are, it is time for you to design a social media strategy or plan.
The idea of the plan is to focus on the objectives that are to be achieved within a few steps by outlining the deadlines for each and the means that will be used to achieve them. You would not send publications without order or organizational structure as you want to present information in an organized and routine manner. Consistency and quality content are two of the keys to achieving success on social media both on a national and international scale.
In addition, it is essential to be clear about the objective you want to achieve: increase web traffic, create a solid social media community or improve the conversion rate in order to measure your success and outline the strategy. Any aspect that can not be measured can not be improved.
3. Use the native language of the foreign market
Most users feel more comfortable navigating a web-page in their own language. It is recommended that all content posted to social media is published in the language of the foreign market that you are attempting to expand into to improve the readability of the content.
Depending on the number of markets you want to expand into, this can be expensive and difficult to manage on a large-scale. Therefore, another option is to take a unilateral decision to use a single language, such as English, for all social media content.
Again, it is important to investigate how users are likely to react to this type of content as countries such as China or Russia are quite reluctant to receive such information.
4. Adapt the content to the local culture
You must adapt your brand values and content that you wish to promote on social media to the local culture. It is not enough to translate the content ‘letter by letter’. It is important that you understand how the local culture works and how you will need to adapt your promotional concepts to the market. Otherwise, your message will be meaningless and lose power, or may even raise negative concerns.
Entertaining content that shows an understanding of the local culture and provides value to the reader will attract potential customers. In addition, users will be more likely to share your content, so your message will spread faster through the network.
5. Interact with the community
Correct use of a social network or social media site implies that you maintain a good level of communication with the community that supports the site in question. Nothing will frustrate a user more than leaving a comment, asking a question or simply leaving positive feedback and receiving no response from you. It’s as if their opinion does not matter.
The user generated feedback will allow you to improve your social mediastrategy and check which content is achieving the most likes or negative feedback online. This does not mean you must answer every comment immediately but you must respond on a regular basis.
For example, an effective formula is to dedicate certain moments during your day to respond to social media. This should always be done at the same time and by the team that has ordinary control over the sites. This way the time is spent productively and not wasted.
In short, whether you want to sell on the national market or on an international scale, you must understand your users, understand and investigate what social networks they use and focus on those networks first. Devoting some time to conducting research is the perfect foundation for ensuring that your social media strategy is successful as it is unwise to invest time and money into a project you know little or nothing about.
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish) Nederlands (Dutch)