Make the Most of International Social Media Networks


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Make the Most of International Social Media Networks

By Liz Elting

Business 2 Community - August 14, 2012

When social media networks emerged in the U.S., few brands took notice. There was little need for them to do so, since back then, status updates were for college student gossip or bored technophiles. The average consumer simply did not use social media, and business was not being conducted on those platforms.

The emergence of social media in international markets is a different story. Facebook, Twitter, and others seem to have hatched with fully-formed, engaged audiences around the world. Brands can’t afford the slow ramp-up they had in the U.S. When it comes to global social networking opportunities and the web, businesses need to construct their overall strategy with a focus on speed to market.

Here are two other principles brands should embrace as they build relationships with potential markets in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa:

1. Start smart.

Before you think about crafting your first tweet or Facebook post, you need to study the search habits and patterns of internet activity of your target prospects. This is the basis for internet and search engine marketing (ISEM). Armed with this knowledge, you should register local domain names in the markets you want to enter. Then you’ll be ready to successfully link your social media marketing efforts to those websites.

Once your branding team understands the behaviors and preferences of your potential regional customers and the algorithms of the search engines they prefer, they can begin developing keyword lists, creating optimized content, building a link strategy, and establishing social media accounts—as well as crafting the first tweet or Facebook post.

2. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Word choice is hard enough in English. If you’re selling shoes, do you want to talk about sneakers, trainers, kicks, or tennis shoes? The answer depends on geography. Slang gets a lot trickier for brands dealing with multiple languages. When companies start building customer relationships in 140 characters or fewer, they lose any cushion they might have had for a localization gaff or two. Every character counts in creating authentic, profitable connections via social media and the web.

The value of these platforms also hinges on frequent, responsive interactions. For that reason, any brand hoping to leverage social networks on an international scale should retain translation and localization experts – human ones, not machines. This doesn’t mean there’s not a role for automated translation. There’s a host of technology that can be used to perform tasks and lower costs in this effort. However, companies must also have professionals available who can catch errors, speak locally and successfully deliver the human voice (brand message) of the company.

 
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