Harnessing international social media has become an essential part of the marketing mix for brands targeting a global audience and it has become commonplace for companies to have multiple profiles on multiple platforms in multiple languages. But with the millions of social profiles out there, how do you ensure each international profile is suitable for the specific market it’s targeting?
Fundamentally it’s actually very simple – create interesting, directed content for your chosen international market to engage with and they will engage right back. But remember they won’t be so forgiving if you fail to keep the conversation going. Of course, it isn’t always possible or practical to manage a huge number of languages – so select a few core profiles and do them well! Don’t spend energy and time on profiles you simply can’t commit to properly.
Global Social Media in Action
The following is an example of an excellent social profile for the company ‘Burt’s Bees’ – an ethical and leading natural skincare brand, who boast number of likes reaching nearly 2.5 million across their global profiles. They use their social profile as a community forum and describe their activities as:
‘We’re buzzing with conversations, surprises, exclusive experiences, and natural goodness. …Our Facebook Community is full of possibilities and sweet stories – stick around and share, ask questions, and spark conversations!’
They bring this sentiment to life by engaging with their audience.
Social media audit - organic activity
Having a presence on social networking sites is an essential part of any online strategy and if your strategy has a global focus, it's often difficult to track performance for each market or spot the gaps between your current successes and where you need to be. The best way to ensure your international social media campaigns are achieving your goals is by conducting an audit. This service will give you an insight into the performance of your social media activities, identify gaps, and help you gain a better understanding of how users interact with your brand. Our social media specialists will analyse your company's existing social media presence in the language and platform of your choice and provide actionable feedback that will help you adjust and improve your strategy to achieve better results.
Familiar Markets – A UK Profile!
To understand how their social strategy has become so successful, it is important to take a look into the key elements of some of their social profiles. If we first look at their UK profile (they are a US-based company, so the UK qualifies as international to them), we can see they encompass a number of essential elements, which enable it to be the successful, localised and engaging profile it is today.
- Constant introduction of new products with suitable discounts attached (e.g. in the correct currency), thus giving their Facebook followers a unique reason to follow through to the website.
- Regular posts about company news such as awards they have won, which boosts their core brand trust.
- Introduction of fun key words that play into their engaging marketing strategy, such as ‘Buzz’ and ‘Sweet’.
- The tie-in of products with popular days, such as Prince George’s first birthday!
- Offering free expert advice and tips, which direct customers back to their website with ways in which to use the information they have passed on.
- Excellent uses of images, which have been created in-house and therefore are consistent with their brand and identity.
- And MOST importantly, they publish consistently!
How about Brazil?
To look deeper into their social accomplishments, let’s look at their social activity in another market, but this time non-English speaking. The Brazilian Burt’s Bees profile has some great localised elements including:
- Localised language for the entire profile, excluding the brand name and subtitle (as expected).
- Use of Brazilian Portuguese within the photos/imagery on the profile, indicating their initial social strategy included the creation of localised content.
- Localised post content e.g. a post about where their Brazilian customers can purchase Burt’s Bees products in a store, not online!
- References to Brazilian events such as ‘The Carnival’, this is the same kind of content as the UK page but has been localised for Brazil.
- Enjoyable, engaging and helpful posts that are not directly related to any products but are interesting to the target audience, such as light bulb flower vases.
- Links to outside sources about current issues, for example they have content about the Brazilian animal protests that took place in April. Something that would have no impact within the UK or US, but very relevant for the target audience of this profile.
- Increased number of regular updates.
Burt’s Bees have done an admirable job with their online social profiles. They are clearly trying to improve their international social offerings and are aware of the importance of tailoring their social activities for each country. Of course, there is more they could do!
Here are a few examples of which further elements they could incorporate into their international strategy for the Brazilian market.
- Brazilians are well known for wanting to ‘get to know’ new companies, as well as their products. More emphasis on the company itself would help the company connect to the Brazilian target audience.
- Increased number of posts to outside sources within Brazil. This helps with their localisation strategy and secures Burt’s Bees as a reliable source of local information. Therefore becoming a trusted and knowledgeable brand.
- Additional references to familiar Brazilian key figures, to further integrate themselves into the Brazilian culture and way of life.
These are just a few of the additional elements they could introduce to build upon this social profile. It is essential to remember the key elements are not always the same for each market, as the true meaning of localisation is creating something relevant and interesting to the market and audience you are targeting.
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Emily Milsom, great post. But I am working on b2b marketing strategy. If you tell me some tips. I will be grateful to you.
Here are two tips, when considering B2B in your localisation strategy.
1) Understand the requirements of your target market, such as trading legislation and the different business processes. It is essential to actively show that you understand these requirements and that you can work within them, otherwise it is just more work for them.
2) Ensure the language used within the profile is up to standard within your industry. Make sure you are using the correct terminology. Simple misspellings could lose you potential clients, in fear that you are not qualified enough or unable to understand their language.
For more help in this area, please explore the Webcertain Blog or get in touch about working with us!
I wish you every success.
Hi Emily – great case study; I never knew Burt’s Bees were so good at their international social as well as UK social.
Some great points too – so much to consider about localising content. Its hard getting people to see past translation sometimes! Sounds time consuming though…
Hope to see something similar about non-ecommerce sites soon.