Developing a Global Social Media Strategy: Tips Beyond Translation

Guest blog by Rachel Chilson, Marketing Communications Coordinator at Sajan

Constantly connected through social media, you can reach your customers half way around the world with a simple tweet, status update or comment.

The power of social media is not unknown; however, proper execution isn’t always practiced. Because of this, businesses that continue to take a broad “one-size-fits-all” approach to social media will inevitably miss opportunities for greater relevance and resonance with their global customers.

Investing in global social media requires a lot of thought and careful planning—similar to your current social media strategies. If your company has locations across the world and you think your social media strategy should be a global one, enlist the help of local agencies.

Let’s discuss best practices for launching a global social media strategy, because there’s a lot more to it than just translating tweets into a couple of languages.

Do your research

Just like with your existing social media campaigns, it’s important to do your research to understand your target audiences and use appropriate social media channels to effectively listen and engage.

Ask these questions to get started:

– In which countries do you wish to expand your reach?

– Does your company have proven research to show that purchasers of your products and services live in these locales?

– What languages are spoken in a given country? Is there more than one?

– What are the social media habits of these potential customers?

– Which social channels are most popular in this area?

– Are there similar brands active on these channels?

When looking at which social channels to participate in, don’t always assume Facebook is king. Social media habits and channels vary from country to country, place to place. In fact, you may find yourself exploring social sites that you’re unfamiliar with—for instance, Russia’s largest social network is VKontakte with over 75 million registered users.

Be aware of global social media trends

Pick up the daily newspaper in both Hong Kong and Paris, and you’re likely to be looking at two different headlines. This applies to the latest trends and interests on global social media platforms. What the U.S. is buzzing about on Twitter usually won’t be the same in Japan. Therefore, you may need to adjust your messaging accordingly. To make your global social media strategy a lot more personal and appealing, you shouldn’t look past the importance of relating and localizing to an in-country audience.

Similarly, look at what’s being shared from country to country. Social networking in the form of micro blogging may be popular in one country, while social sites dedicated to video- or photo-sharing may be the norm in another. So when planning out your global social media strategy, it’s important to understand what type of content is relevant to your clients and which topics will resonate most with prospects.

Set clear goals

After you’ve done your research and understand where and how you would like to participate, it’s time to determine how you would define success and how you will measure it.

Do you want to increase followers and engagement on these channels to amplify brand awareness? Do you want to increase traffic to your global website? Do you want your page to act as a customer service hub? How do you plan on benchmarking your progress?

Setting clear, measurable goals will determine if your social efforts are working.

Ensure high quality messaging 

You also need to consider the quality of your messages. Social media is real time—people are expecting and sharing the latest content now, not later. For a business looking to expand their global social media strategy, this means having open communication all day, every day.

This requires faster turnaround of translated content—and your messages need to resonate with your audience. Assigning in-country managers of your social media is essential—people most likely to notice cultural insensitivities or inappropriate linguistic nuances.

If staffing your own in-country managers is an issue, consider partnering with a language service provider that can provide translation services for global social media.

As you can see, there’s definitely a lot more to global social media than translating tweets and status updates. Follow these tips for creating an effective global social media plan, and start engaging with your global customers today.

Are you considering global social media? Are you currently working on your plan? What challenges are you facing? Any other tips for best practices?