Friday May 03, 2013

Global Social Marketing: Vive la Difference

international flagsThere are those who struggle to control what happens at their own desk, much less oversee an operation that spans the entire planet.  But even though social is about intimate, one-to-one relationships, it’s also a truly global phenomenon and thus, a global social marketing opportunity.

Yes, the world is getting smaller. Business and economies grow increasingly globalized. And brands are reaching across borders into emerging markets where tempting profits await. So global social efforts to publish, listen, analyze, strategize, and wow with customer service must be a part of that.

Now…how do you do it?

First, grasp that social is the way to talk to the world. This infographic is a nice snapshot of where things stand. Fun facts include:

  • In 2012, 50% of worldwide Internet users signed into a social network.
  • Bangkok has more Facebook users than any other city, followed by Jakarta, Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Mexico City.
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US. YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages.
  • The top 3 countries for Twitter are the US, Brazil and Japan. Japanese is the 2nd most used language after English on the platform.
  • The top countries for Google Plus are the US, India, Brazil, UK and Canada.
  • LinkedIn is experiencing the most growth in Indonesia at 111%.
  • From 2011 to 2012, Instagram’s share of the market grew 8,121% in Singapore.
  • Tagged is the largest social discovery network in the world with 330 million members. It’s available in 220 countries in 18 languages.

About 80% of Facebook’s users are outside the US and Canada, and roughly 70% of Twitter’s user base in non-US. If you’re not international, that’s a lot of cards and customers to leave on the table.

Second, decide if a market is appropriate for your campaign. What you offer won’t make sense everywhere. Even if it does, know what social platforms each region prefers. GlobalWebIndexOne says Twitter tops global growth at 40%, the fastest growth coming from Hong Kong. Japan is the only place where Twitter is more popular than Facebook. You can’t do Facebook in China. Russia prefers its homegrown social platforms. In the UK, males outnumber females on Pinterest! One network just won’t fit all.

Third, frame your message with an understanding not just of the language, but of the culture and how that message will be perceived. A W3Techs.com survey shows English makes up 54.9% of web content, with German a distant 2nd at 6.4%. Does that warrant going multilingual? Experts at Mashable say for one thing, the competition for keywords isn’t nearly as high for non-English, so international search rankings might be an easier lift. For another thing, most global Internet users don’t speak English as a first language.

Fourth, learn via your monitoring and listening social management tool that users in different regions behave differently on social. Forrester's Global Social Media Adoption shows at least 3/4 of online adults in China and India are “creators,” meaning they tend to actually make content. Only 24% of users in the US do that because we, and most of the west, are “spectators.” Even within countries, there’s a melting pot of languages and cultures all processing and acting on your message through their own filters. The only consistent rule of thumb…the content must be of real value.

Established markets continue to grow in social adoption. Emerging markets are rapidly embracing it. Right behind that will be more love for social on mobile. Yes, global social marketing is an imposing human and technological task. Human for the need to craft messages to cultures, technological for the ability to manage social campaigns globally at scale. But it’s a small world now, so it’s time to learn to talk to each other on social.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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