Social media is one of the primary ways in which global companies effectively market their products and services around the world. As it should be! Internet users today have an average of 5.5 active social media accounts, which is probably why there are 2.3 billion active social users that exist today.
Yet, while social media marketing is the clear way forward to maintain a global brand, the things that make or break a social media campaign aren’t so straight forward. From the types of messages and chosen audience, to the time of day and year or even the chosen image or video, there are many factors that play into the success or failure of a campaign. For a brand launching a global campaign, these factors play an even greater role in the overall outcome. Practice truly makes perfect when it comes to your company’s social media marketing, but there are a few basic steps global companies must not overlook as they seek to reach their next international market on social.
Step 1: Hyper-target your social audience
While the term global may be broad, it’s important that marketers think about the specific areas outside the United States they’d like to cover. The more specific the audience, the easier it is to target and the greater the audience will "take action.” To narrow it down, pick 2-3 regions to focus on. For example, if you’re a U.S. company looking to target business owners in Brazil, consider honing in on three geographical business regions that Brazilian business owners are located: Miami, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Or perhaps you want to target stakeholders of certain Brazilian companies, such as Pão de Açúcar grocery stores, Embraer airlines or Stefanini IT services. In this case, you should look into where these companies are headquartered and choose those geographical regions as your targets. However you choose to hyper-target your audience, make sure sales team weighs in on these decisions, as they know where the market opportunities lie.
Step 2: Tailor social content and delivery around your targeted audience
Once you’ve narrowed down the audience/regions, research which hashtags are being used by people living in these regions. Are there any upcoming holidays or events in this region you can leverage on social? Is there a popular sports game taking place in this region you can engage with? For marketers looking to find the right kind of social influencers to sponsor, make a list of 3-5 individuals that live in the area you’re targeting - what kind of hashtags and subjects are they using and talking about that their audience is receptive to?
Second, content delivery is just as important as the content itself. Do a deep dive into which social channels your target markets use the most and look into how often and when they use these channels.
Finally, not all companies have the budget or bandwidth to fully translate their social content into the proper language they’d like to target. While English may still be the universal business language that most regions understand, think about a few words you can easily translate that call the attention of the reader, such as “hello,“ “enjoy,” “free download” or "click here.”
Step 3: Keep your company’s global brand message consistent
It may go without saying, but this is critical, yet easily overlooked. As a company looking to position itself on the global playing field, messages and call to actions must not only be simple, clear and easy to translate (even via Google translator), but they should also reflect the your global brand. This isn’t the place to hyper target your audience with words and phrases they use. When talking about your brand, the words and phrases must be consistent with your brand messaging; otherwise it can cause brand confusion among your entire social audience. However, a great idea that I've seen huge success for global brands is to create your own branded hashtag, such as Coca-Cola's #ShareaCoke or tagging products as hashtags like Microsoft's #Windows10, etc. you may even consider creating hashtag just for your campaign to encourage engagement.
It can be difficult to talk about your brand and products in less than 140 characters, which is why I recommend drafting this content well in advance to ensure the words, images and video used are in line with your brand, but also interactive and fun for your audience. For example, The Coca-Cola Company talks more about how their customers and "fans" are interacting with their Coke products instead of talking just about the product itself.
Step 4: Consider how social advertisements can elevate your campaign's social posts
This is an important factor to consider when launching a global social media campaign. While we’re all familiar with the ads that pop up to the right of Facebook and LinkedIn or the sponsored Tweets and Instagram posts, what most companies may not be fully leveraging is the option to sponsor existing social posts to increase engagement and grow followers. In today’s digital world, social ads that offer value, such as helpful information, a quality video or a fast fact, have a higher engagement rate than social ads that don’t.
Social advertising also gives marketers total control over who they’d like to hyper target, from targeting competitors’ followers to targeting users leveraging event hashtags to geotargeting, there are many different ways that social advertising can be used to make your brand's social campaign spa success. (Want to learn more about the many ways you can use social advertising? Email me.)
Step 5: Analyze, analyze, analyze
I have seen first-hand the power of analyzing social media campaigns for my clients; when they see the numbers and charts with rising lines and columns in front of them, they then truly grasp the value of a well thought out social campaign. The same will happen for your team, but you must first analyze the data.
The great thing about launching a social media campaign is that numbers are gathered in real time; marketers don’t have to wait until the end of the campaign to track growth and engagement. Analyzing engagement numbers every day will help companies gauge which social posts garner more attention, and adjust the campaign accordingly. While I definitely recommend a post-mortem at the end of a long social campaign, it’s critical to analyze and monitor your social media campaign each day. Why wait till the end of a campaign to see which posts are more popular or what calls to action are more successful? Obtaining this insight during the campaign will enable marketers to take action and alter their tactics as needed.
In sum, the important thing to remember when launching an global social media campaign is that there is no clear 10-step process. Each audience will have different interests and will engage with your message in different ways. The key is to ensure you’ve narrowed down the audience, that you’re using content which resonates with this target market and that your messaging, photos and videos are in line with your global brand. Above all, make sure you’re analyzing engagement numbers each day. Remember – practice makes perfect!
If you’re interested in learning more about reaching a global audience through social media or need help launching a social media campaign, we should talk.