Does your company target a global audience? Are you a European marketer looking to scale your business to other European nations? Are you in the U.S. seeking the attention of a French or Spanish audience?
If you're challenged with targeting an audience across multiple countries or languages, you probably have a lot of questions about how to create a successful global social media content strategy.
Before you start tweeting and Facebooking, it's important to map out your global social media strategy so you can create a program that scales. Here are our top six tips to keep in mind as you're building your global social media content strategy:
1) Segment Your Audience Smartly
First, determine how you want to segment your social media audience by deciding which countries and languages you want to target, and set some social media goals for each of these audiences. If you need more instruction here, download our new free ebook, The Complete Guide to Global Social Media Marketing.
Next, decide if you can use the localization features of the most popular social networks to segment your audience rather than creating a brand new page or profile for each one. Facebook and LinkedIn have the most comprehensive localization features, so you can limit specific status updates to only appear in the news feeds of specific segments of your audience. Specifically for global marketing, you can choose to segment by geography, language, or a combination of each.
You can find more detailed instructions for using the localization features in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in our new ebook. In general, to save yourself from creating more work by maintaining a social media account for every language, use social networks' localization features wherever possible. And if you're targeting multiple languages where different social networks are more popular, then create those social media accounts when appropriate.
2) Provide Native Translations
Don’t simply take a blog post from your English blog and copy/paste it into Google Translate for your Spanish blog, or vice-versa. Same goes for tweets and Facebook status updates.
Your content will just end up sounding Google Translated to anyone who speaks the language natively. Talk about unprofessional! Instead, get help from someone who is fluent in the language you’re creating content for. Here are just some of the translation service providers you can choose from:
Take note that you shouldn’t mix languages on the same blog. Even though you might think this might make your blog “global friendly,” it will not help your overall user experience. Mixing languages on social networking sites is more acceptable because when you send out an update, it’s mostly consumed via users’ news feeds, not via your page or profile itself.
In addition, be aware of variations in spelling from region to region. For example, American and British folks may speak the same language, but there are certain nuances that are important to address (e.g. color vs. colour; optimization vs. optimisation; etc.).
3) Solicit Content From Local Contributors
From each region you're targeting, recruit guest bloggers who can provide local insights you can’t provide yourself. This is especially important if you decide to set up a separate blog for each language or region that you're targeting. This will keep the content on your blog fresh and varied, as well as relevant to your local audience. In addition, along with guest bloggers comes inbound links from global domain extensions, giving your global blogs an SEO boost.
Furthermore, recruit local help to manage and monitor your foreign-language interactions. Translation services are great for the social media publishing schedule you plan ahead for each month, but they’re no substitute for native and on-the-fly social engagement, especially if you’re using your social media accounts as customer service resources.
4) Post Relevant Content
Whether you're posting content on one of your global blogs, Facebook Pages, or Twitter
profiles, there are certain content creation best practices for global audiences that you should
keep in mind.
Make sure you're either on top of the hot topics and sensitive issues in each of your target markets, or you hire someone to specialize in each market. In addition, make sure you’re only posting content that's relevant for each specific audience. In other words, a news story in Australia may not be relevant to your audience in Ireland.
Each of your global blogs and social media accounts should cover topics relevant to that audience. For example, on your blog, you could include content such as:
- Educational guides, which can be applicable to multiple audiences
- Thought-leadership pieces that are new to certain cultures
- Industry news from relevant regions
- Product updates relevant to the region
5) Use High-Quality Images Wherever Possible
Remember: An image doesn’t need a translation. Visuals are much easier for international audiences to understand, especially if you’re not creating separate profiles for each region or language. They also happen to drive engagement. In fact, according to Simply Measured, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content -- photos and videos -- saw a 65% increase in engagement.
Here are some social network-specific tips for using visuals in your social media marketing:
- Facebook & Google+: Use the photo share functionality -- which displays images more prominently -- and make sure your cover photo is both eye-catching and appropriately portrays your brand.
- Twitter: Use TwitPic or Instagram to frequently share photos with your Twitter followers from around the world.
- LinkedIn: On your Company Page, share URLs of pages that have an enticing image; this image will be automatically pulled into your LinkedIn company update.
In general, start making it a best practice to include a high-quality image on every web page and blog article you publish, for these very reasons!
6) Understand Color Connotations
Figure out what certain colors mean in different countries before designing your blog and social media profiles. In most of Europe and the Americas, white is associated with purity and marriage. In Japan, China and parts of Africa, however, white is traditionally the color of mourning. Make sure you're aware of these types of nuances for your different target audiences so you can be sensitive to them in your social media marketing.
7) Link All Your Social Channels Together
Your ultimate goal of participating in social media is likely to drive traffic back to your website so you can convert those visitors into leads. If that's the case, you'll want to make it as easy as possible to direct your social media fans and followers back to your website where those conversions can take place. Therefore, make sure you link to the appropriate blog/website within each social media account's About Us or URL sections.
As we mentioned in our second tip, if you have a more sophisticated global marketing strategy that requires more personalization because you're targeting multiple languages where different social networks are more popular, you'll likely have more social media accounts to maintain. If this is the case, be sure to link all of your social media channels for each language together. Your goals here are to:
- Make it easy for people to find your other channels in their language.
- Make it easy for people who have landed in the wrong place to find the channels most relevant to them.
Creating a global social media strategy early on will help you plan for all the challenges global social media marketing poses, such as creating content for multiple languages, in multiple time zones, etc. -- and will keep you from overextending your resources.
What other content tips would you give to companies just getting started with an international social media campaign? Please share your tips in the comments below.