It is no longer a question that social media marketing has become a necessity for every business that wants to remain relevant in today’s online world. With 97% of marketers using social media to reach their audiences, you can tell just how important it has become.
A successful global social media marketing strategy will require a lot of thorough planning, as there are plenty of things to take into consideration.
Social media simply isn’t as straightforward as it once was.
Which platforms should you use? What is your content strategy going to be? Who are you targeting and how?
Facing these tough questions and it is no wonder why so many trying to step into this game feel overwhelmed and never even get started – we are talking serious analysis paralysis here!
For you to be well prepared and ready for action, we have put together this guide on creating a successful global social media strategy.
Table of Contents
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social platforms to connect with an audience to raise brand awareness, increase sales, and drive targeted traffic to your website and products.
The basic goal is to gain traffic and attention to your business through social media platforms.
The beauty of social network marketing is that businesses of all sizes can step into the arena and, when properly done, reach very targeted prospects and customers.
This process involves publishing great content in either text, video or image format, engaging with your audience, running social media advertisements, and analyzing your performance/results.
Why use a social media marketing strategy?
Social media is a relatively cost-effective and easy way to engage with customers around the world.
Social platforms are growing rapidly in terms of reach and impact. In fact, recent analysis shows just how engrained into our lives social media has become. 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users.
As the numbers of users rise, so are the people wanting to use social media to research products, buy products, and receive post-sales support directly on social media platforms.
So no matter which direction you want to take your brand and the content you are creating – you will need to be active on social media.
With its wide reach and the possibility to reach people from all over the world, it becomes crucial to keep in mind that every language and region has different trends, tastes, and even platforms.
Just with any other content strategy, you will need to localize your SMM strategy to garner the best results for your efforts.
1. Your target audience is likely on social media
According to Statista.com, there will be 3.02 billion active social media users in 2021.
With that many people active on social networks, the chances are high that the audience you are looking for is on one of them as well.
Not only will you find your customers or potential ones on social media, but there’s a very high chance that plenty of them will be checking these platforms every single day.
The real beauty of social networks is that you no longer need to wait for your customers to come to you, but you can go to your customers – and that without spending a single dime.
You will be missing out on a great opportunity to build relations with your customers and generate new leads if you are not invested in social media.
2. You can build a relationship with your audience
Social media is interactive and, most importantly, fun.
One of the main reasons why people are on social media almost daily is because social media provides them with an engaging way to interact with people, with the creators behind the information, and others who are also consuming the same information in real-time.
The users are not on these sites with the expectation that they will be actively marketed.
Users will likely proactively look up their favorite brands and follow their content if they find the information adds value to their lives.
Whether it is looking for offers, entertainment, or simply wanting to learn more about the brand, social media users do not refrain from engaging with brands on social media channels.
Consumer behavior is very different on social networks because these platforms allow you to be more conversational with your audience and show a different side of your business.
Content that is being published on these platforms is aimed to form your brand personality, raise awareness, and to deliver your brand’s message.
Unlike conventional marketing outlets, social media allows you to build authentic connections with your customers and prospects instead of just delivering a straight to the point marketing message.
This is why social media marketing, on average, has a very positive response and is something users proactively want to engage with and are responsive to.
You have probably seen some examples of this yourself. Brands are asking for feedback on their channels, customers discussing issues about a product or Q and A session on an Instagram story.
Marketers use these platforms to engage with their audience and to get to know them better.
3. Increase your brand awareness
Social media is not only a great tool to reach potential customers, but continuous content creation will help you improve your brand’s visibility and awareness.
Your social outlets really give you the chance to spread your brand’s message value and personality. Through the creation of value-adding content for your target audience, you are ultimately creating a more accessible and familiar company.
Social media users who may have never even heard of your brand before might stumble upon one of your content pieces on the platform. If this content was engaging, the user will interact with your page, learn more about your brand and the value that you provide. By being visible in news feeds, comments, and likes on the user’s interface, he or she will eventually become more acquainted with your business.
4. Improve your brand loyalty
At this day and age, there is no better and more cost-effective way than to leverage social media to build relationships with potential leads and customers that can result in long-lasting loyalty over time.
When done right, every bit of content that you put out will reveal to your customers why you are different from your competitors and reinforce that your business cares about its customers.
By really taking the time and interact with your audience, you can ultimately turn followers into real brand advocates.
5. You can gather valuable insights on your customers
Every company needs to keep learning in order to grow and expand their business. Observing your customer’s behavior, trending topics they are talking about, or the feedback they leave on your content will give you valuable insights on their interests, demands, and online behavior.
6. Increase website traffic
Every piece of content that you post has the potential to bring in new customers to your blog or e-com store. Once the visitor is on your site, you will have the opportunity to make a sale.
Social media is simply a great tool to get additional traffic to your website, and if one of your content pieces goes viral, you can end up getting A LOT of TARGETED clicks to your webpage.
To create momentum and constantly drive traffic to your site, it is important that you consistently publish content that adds value to your audience. The more high-quality content you can post online, the higher the chances are that one of it will take off and drive a significant number of visitors to your site.
7. Boost your search engine rankings
You are probably working hard on your SEO by now. But did you know that the big search engines crawl data from your social media presence into their algorithms?
Though ranking factors are continuously evolving, it is assumable that the growing importance of socials will play a significant role in search-engine scores in the future.
Not only will your social presence influence your website’s search engine rankings, but active social media profiles tend to be listed close to the top of search results when someone is looking up your brand.
Hence it becomes crucial to keep the content fresh and engaging and update information regularly, or else your customers might click away and take their business elsewhere.
8. Word-of-mouth marketing possibility
Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly powerful because of its speed, potentially unlimited reach, and, most of all, because of the trust customers connect to it.
Never has word-of-mouth marketing been so effective than with the power of social media. Social shares, likes, comments every engagement on your content can lead to your message being visible to more users in their social news feed. The possibilities are endless here if just one of your content pieces manages to go viral.
That is why now more than ever, brands are encouraging their customers to leave comments, hit the like button, write reviews on their social media profiles, share their content with their friends, and provide testimonials.
Consumers are a lot more likely to purchase from a company that has been recommended. Common statistics reveal that consumers are actively searching for product reviews and recommendations on social media before they ultimately make a purchase.
9. Increase your conversion rates
Great social media content and active engagement are fantastic opportunities to convert a lead into a satisfied customer.
The most powerful element of social media marketing, which ultimately results in a higher conversion rate, is the possibility to present your brand’s message with a more “human touch.”
Because social media is a place for users to interact with each other and network, businesses have the chance to level with their (potential) customers through light, very conversational types of content.
A casual approach like this really allows a business to let its personality, humor, and passion shine through.
You can build long-lasting loyal customers that will happily choose you over other competitors if they can identify with your brand’s message
10. Reach targeted audiences by utilizing different social media platforms
By being present and, most importantly, active on different social media platforms will enable you to target different audiences strategically.
With the help of a concise list of your target audiences’ demographics, you can get a good idea on which social media platforms you are most likely to go to reach them.
Things to consider are age, location, occupation, hobbies, and interests – the more details you can garner, the better!
The main factor in getting the best results from your social media marketing efforts is to wisely choose on which platforms you will be putting in most of your hard work, money, time, and resources.
Be assured that no matter who you are trying to reach, you will always be able to find them (or let them find you) on one of the many many channels that are being used every single day.
11. Run highly targeted ads
The majority of marketing work on social platforms will come from the content you publish on your channels.
Most social networks do offer highly targeted marketing campaigns that can complement your already growing content backlog.
Facebook, Instagram, and many others have developed very effective tools that let you narrow down your audience and target your ideal customers. This process will allow you to drive the most relevant traffic to your site, with the highest conversion chance.
Facebook Ads Manager, for example, makes it extremely easy to take care of your advertising campaigns with user-friendly features that help you set up an ad campaign.
You can advertise to people by age, location, interests, behavior, and connections
Facebook also allows you to place your advertisement in front of very specific and often ready-to-buy segments of your audience by:
Tapping into recent purchasing behavior
- Using custom audiences to nurture leads and build loyalty
- Create audiences that look like your own targets (lookalike audiences)
- You can layer targeting options to narrow down further
Probably the most powerful tool of many social media ads managers is REMARKETING.
Remarketing is a type of technology that serves ads to people that have already interacted with your business in one way or another. People will then see these ads when they watch videos, use mobile apps, serve the web or simply browse on social networks.
12. Cost-effective Marketing
Social media marketing is likely the most cost-efficient way to advertise to a targeted audience.
Most platforms let you sign up and use their services for free. So, you can go straight ahead and publish your first marketing efforts with no overhead costs at all.
The majority of your social media results are a product from investing time in producing and publishing amazing content plus genuine interaction with your fans, subscribers, and/or followers.
Even if you do decide to invest in paid ad promotions, the cost associated with them is comparatively low to other marketing tactics. It can be as low as $2.50 per thousand impressions (CPM). That is an impressive 1/3 of the price of traditional media marketing.
Hence, if done well, you will see a great return on investment and can retain valuable resources for other business endeavors or marketing strategies.
When you take the leap and start your first paid social media ad campaign, you are best advised to start small and get a feel of what you can expect from them. The more confidence you gain in your strategy and have developed a sense of what works and doesn’t work, it is time to fine-tune your ads and take a shot at increasing your budget. By simply putting in a little bit more effort and spending a small amount of time on developing campaigns, you can drastically increase your click-through rates and conversions, eventually seeing nice returns on the money you have invested.
How to effectively reach your target audience with global social media marketing?
To reach your audience, no matter where they are, you must know exactly what social media platform they prefer to use. Doing otherwise and you might end up wasting valuable marketing budget on the wrong social networks.
It’s easy to be misled and believe that the most popular social media platforms around the world are similar to the ones you use in your own country.
International social media marketing relies on uncommon networks
Most of you reading this article will associate social media with Facebook or Instagram. While it is true that these are some of the biggest players in the field, businesses must recognize that social media stretches far beyond these sites.
A surprisingly large number of Western internet users are completely unaware of some of the world’s leading social media sites. There is simply more out there than Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
And these sites are huge! 3 of the top 10 social media are Chinese owned: Qzone, QQ, and WeChat. With hundreds of millions of even a billion international users signed up to these sites, a global marketing strategy must have access to foreign social networks to ensure everything is set up to achieve the best possible results.
Localize your content
Consider the above before you go about translating and localizing your content strategy.
You will need to set some time aside to do some deep research for each market you want to penetrate and identify the most popular platforms your target audience uses.
Once you have identified when, where, and how you will post content and ads, you can start localizing.
In fact, the global demand for translation services on social media sites is continuously increasing.
It is just too profitable to have one’s marketing material available in multi-lingual formats.
You can say that localizing social media content has become absolutely necessary to modern-day marketing.
Just writing up a piece of content in English and then publishing it ist enough. Believing otherwise would be a huge big mistake.
Translation and localization of your content shows that you are willing to do the best for your customers and talk to them in a language that they can completely understand.
In today’s globalized markets, it is a sign of respect and genuine interest in reaching an international audience.
When you localize your social media content, you are considering the cultural values of your target audience. It is your primary goal to reach out to your audience in a way that reflects respect for their history, values, and culture.
Localization of your social media posts can benefit your business in several ways.
Core aspects of professional localization:
- A good understanding and knowledge of both source and target language to understand the differences
- Superb writing skills in order to convey the message into the target language
Social media is becoming more and more visual experience, and most people like to create and engage with images or video content. And this is where proper localization plays a major role. Localization does not simply translate text but ensures that format and pictures are adapted as well. Something that is considered the norm in one country can be seen as completely inappropriate in another.
By being aware of what and where you post your content online will enable able your business to create a strong brand image and trust.
Things to consider:
- Not all historical events are remembered in the same way in different countries
- Holidays that are widely celebrated in one country may be of no importance in another
- Certain attitudes which are accepted in one culture may be regarded as offensive in another
- Colors can have different feelings associated with them depending on where your audience is from
But again, don’t just avoid or eliminate posts that might be considered inappropriate but take a proactive approach.
This translates to actively seeking out ways you can connect to your target audience and respect their cultural values.
- Be aware of any important holidays
- Show your genuine care by demonstrating knowledge of current events that impact your target audience
- Localize your images
In order to resonate with local audiences, Magnum was represented by different celebrities, depending on location, on its Twitter feeds.
Kylie Jenner, who is extremely popular in the UK, posed for the brand’s UK account.
the Magnum Thailand feed featured Thai celebrity Davika Hoorne (Mai).
Going this highly localized route has paid off for Magnum. The Thai community loved the collaboration, and the photos received thousands of likes and retweets – the brand’s message spread and built significant goodwill between Magnum and its fans in Thailand.
Consumers prefer to read and watch posts in their native language
Your business could everything set up perfectly, but if you are communicating to people in a language that they do not consider their own, a large percentage of consumers will simply drop off without noticing your brand.
Research has shown that 82% of online consumers are a lot more likely to make a purchase if it is marketed to them in their native language. Hence, a good translation will inevitably increase your ROI.
More than 50% of Facebooks 2.45 billion users speak a non-English language.
Translating your posts into a specific target language can lead to a significant boost to your social media marketing success.
Communicating with your audience in a language that they are comfortable with will make it more likely that they will engage with your content. And in the world of social media, engagement means higher visibility, which results in more traffic t you.
While Facebook does offer automated translations for its content, you are advised not to rely on these translations.
Just recently, Facebook had to apologize for a translation gone bad. Facebooks autotranslation tool on a Burmese post has translated Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s as Mr. Sh**hole in English.
So yes, the feel and quality of these translations do not compare to those offered by a professional translation agency.
Focus on Visual Content
Everyone speaks the visual language.
Image and video content are fantastic ways to communicate your brand’s message to a broad audience.
And if you do go with video, you should always include captions whenever you can.
As mentioned above, you will still be aware and sensitive to any cultural customs and social taboos but you can safe the translation part.
Alcohol, smoking, or nudity are big no-nos and taboos in certain cultures. Simple gestures like a thumbs up or an ok sign are also open to misinterpretation depending on who is watching your content.
Why you should localize social media content summary:
- Provide your audience with proof that your content is focused on their needs
- Avoid cultural offense
- Present content that is meaningful and relevant to your audience
- Create an environment of inclusivity on your social media pages
- Effectively promote your brand and products in meaningful ways
Unify your Pages
Most social media platforms strive to make the localization process as seamless as possible. This makes it possible to have just one social media profile, yet having the ability to change the language, images, and posts by region.
A perfect example is Facebooks Global Pages. Social media users who visit a Global corporate profile are automatically redirected to a version tailored to their region.
To make this process feasible and as easy as possible, it is better to stick to minimum global copy standards that can be amended quickly.
Keep in mind that it is a lot easier to retouch your already existing content and match it to a new region than to create everything from scratch.