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BEST PRACTICE: Achieving global social media success

Social networking sites have not only revolutionised the way we interact, but also the way that we view marketing. Whether you love them or hate them, it's undeniable that they can do a great deal to raise the profile of a business.

  Greig Holbrook

Aside from the obvious cost-effectiveness of using social networking sites (SNS) as a marketing tool, they also allow businesses to engage with their customer and visa versa. When social networking comes into the mix, brands can listen to what customers are saying and interact with them, bringing the customer and brand closer together. It seems like everybody is ‘Tweeting' or setting up a ‘Fan Page', and social networking sites are quickly becoming the marketing tool of choice.

But what does this mean for businesses who want to market internationally? There were an estimated 917 million SNS users worldwide at the end of 2009. That's 13.3 pre cent of the population, and it's predicted that it could reach 27 pre cent by 2015. And in some parts of the world, SNS are visited more often than search engine sites. Although the leading contenders in the UK are Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, there are parts of the world where ‘Tweeting' is unheard of, and where Facebook isn't the ubiquitous phenomenon it's become in the UK and USA.