The World is Watching
Your brand is a global brand. You don’t think so? Well, it is. Why? Because every brand is a global brand. The question is, what are you doing about it?
We have been told for years that the internet is tearing down boundaries: geographic, demographic, language, time, etc. The internet had been doing a pretty good job of it too, pulling down one brick at a time, slow and steady, but then along came social media and took a big-ass bulldozer to the whole thing.
Five out of the top ten social networks are Chinese. Spanish is the second most used language on twitter after English. Asia-Pacific has the largest social network user base, with an audience of 777 million people and a share of 44.8% of social network users worldwide expected by the end of this year. The Middle East and Africa will have the second-largest audience starting next year. And you’re still sitting in your office in Slough wondering what the right number of tweets per day is.
What are you doing to cater for these social media markets?
Brands can connect to anyone in any country in any language, whenever they want. The lines between markets have been irrevocably blurred. Regardless of who your online message is geared towards, everyone can see it and interact with it - just as easily as the intended market.
So now you have to manage the whole world.
It all starts with a solid brand identity. (I’ve spoken about this before). From high level thinking to the copy on your banner ads, your brand needs a clear, consistent, re-enforced identity. When dealing in this new global social market, that brand identity also needs to be universally acceptable. Take the time to ensure it doesn’t offend anyone that you don’t purposefully want to offend - even in geographic markets you don’t operate within.
At a very basic level, there are two ways to manage your global social media presence: 1. Have global accounts, or 2. Have localised, language specific accounts. There has been much debate as to which option is the best, but as with everything in business, it will come down to resource. Some companies are lucky enough to have someone willing and able to own social for their country or region, others are not.
If you are one of those companies able to successfully support multiple, country specific social media channels, and you decide that it’s worth the time and money for your business, then your community manager handbook and social media policy become crucial pieces of kit. They help ensure that everyone responsible for delivering your social strategy is on point, on message and completely in line with the brand – regardless of location or language. Tone of voice, imagery, responses to customers’ feedback and complaints and content must all fit - consistency is key.
If you choose to manage your social media presence from one global account then you need to ensure that your content caters for all of your markets - post in different languages, at different times - and be prepared to respond to customers beyond your working day.
This is all great for companies like Nike and Unilever - who want to connect with their customers in every country, in every language, at any time - but what about companies with more inherent boundaries? Companies who could care less how their message is received in Japan because they only sell to clients in the UK. Well, tough. They're global too.
Just because you may not sell to Japan, doesn’t mean they don’t know who you are. If you give someone outside of your geographic selling area a reason to complain online, what are the chances that complaint is going to get back to the area you do care about? In the age of social media? I’d say pretty good. The entire internet is watching. Remember that before pushing out any new content.
By 2016, three out of every four internet users will use a social network at least once a month. That is a massive audience. That is your audience. How are you going to handle it?
Social Media Manager