By Mary Liebowitz

August 25th, 2014

A social media presence that involves multiple regions and languages is fantastic for developing healthy relationships with local audiences. For me, it’s so interesting to look at the analytics for content performance internationally, and see what’s really resonating with our audiences.

In comparison to a local/national presence, there are a few key differences in managing a global social media strategy that are important to consider. I’ve created a list of the highlights to provide you with some ideas for discussion.

Brand voice – don’t get lost in translation

Maintaining a consistent brand voice can be challenging across several languages. You want to be sure that your messaging is captured in the nuances of each language. The translation of content from the original language must also be localized to take the local culture into consideration. If your regions are managed by local teams of Social Media Managers and Community Managers, you’re most likely already providing language localization that captures the spirit and expression of the region, instead of just flatly translating content from the original.

It can be easy to underestimate the need for continual communication between regions to ensure the brand voice is being correctly carried out, but it’s important to have these communication channels in place and speak together regularly. Brand persona documentation is also very handy to be able to refer back to when defining positioning, creating content, hashtags, listening projects, and making decisions about where and with whom to engage.

Posting by region

Is your brand large enough to create social accounts by region, or are you better served by a conglomerate international account that uses regionally-segmented posts and advertising?

If you think your social audiences won’t mind engagement in a few different languages, it may be easier to manage your social presence with one account on each social channel. However, social media users are not always so tolerant of their feeds filling up with posts they can’t understand, so it depends on the possibilities that each channel offers. It’s important to keep a close eye on real-time content performance to really understand your communities’ likes and dislikes.

Read more about how Carlsberg tackled this here.

Coverage and crisis management

In our office, we’re a very international team, and when questions come in via our social channels, we usually have someone right there to help us craft an immediate, native response. But when you work across time zones, help may not be as readily available. What happens if you have a crisis, and your native speaker is off-duty?

We’re also a staggered team, geographically, and I love that when one of us shuts off their bedside lamp, there’s another team member up and at the helm. It’s important to decide how you will manage global coverage, and define processes for crisis management on an international level.

Success markers may not be identical

Measuring global success doesn’t have to be difficult.KPIs should clearly tie into your overall business goals across the board, but they may still have to vary slightly by region. For example, is it a cultural reflection that during business hours, employees refrain from engaging on social channels? Or is your audience slower to react due to the forms of technology available in their country? Does the time that a community is willing to wait for a response from you, for instance, vary by region, and affect the effort it takes to resolve a customer support issue?

Having an overview of your regions and paying close attention to their unique markers gets easier over time. In the beginning of rolling out to a new region, I tend to spend more time looking at my benchmarks to get to know the region’s norms and anomalies. After a while, you have a much better feel for all the sections of your digital orchestra, and can hear it immediately when something hits a wrong note.

how to manage a global social media strategy

Achieving a well-organized global presence involves good and continual communication, consistency in messaging, keeping an eye on performance, getting to know the regions and their unique aspects, and clearly defining coverage needs and processes. It’s invaluable for strengthening local relationships and providing a direct line of contact, as well as expanding brand recognition.

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