The impact of globalisation on social media


Sarah Tramm


With the increasing use of social media and blurring of country borders, how are companies adapting to globalisation versus localisation online?


According to a recent study by Search Laboratory, it was found that 75% of decision makers in US companies believe that they are missing potentially lucrative opportunities to trade abroad.

The study found that establishing trust in a new marketplace is one of the most difficult obstacles US businesses face when expanding internationally. Here are just a few of their struggles:

  • Prioritising investment into the wrong marketing activity during the expansion process
  • Failing to adapt to native language and cultural factors in the market
  • Online strategy is not centralised but instead outsourced to multiple in-country agencies
  • 23% still only use an English-language website and social media profiles

So how does this reflect on your business’ social media strategy? Well, it affects how well your international consumers respond to your brand, share your brand with friends and family, and ultimately, convert into sales. Communicating your message across to consumers successfully and establishing brand trust in a new market is instrumental for a successful campaign.


Five tips to optimise social media internationally


1. Research the market

Businesses must have an in-depth understanding of the markets they’re expanding into. Consumer behaviour and decision-making processes will vary for each market, and brands need to not only find the right linguistic translation but also be conscious of the native cultural differences that may exist.

Make sure you review your social media accounts’ page insights, as this is a clear indicator as to when your audience is online and whether you are connecting on the right platform.

Strategies that have delivered great results domestically are not necessarily directly transferrable to other markets. For example, Twitter is a very popular social media site in the UK and US. Conversely in Germany it has been widely ignored. In order to gain a “like” from a German, you really have to impress with bespoke content. In China, however, social media users are highly engaged with the brands they like on popular social media platforms such as Weibo and QZone.

                                                                    Sina WieboQZone


2. Adopt the language

It is important to localise your social media accounts to the language-specific criteria in each market. Consumers will naturally have more trust in your brand if you deliver messages in their native language.

Seek linguistic help when setting up pages and accounts. It’s important that companies employ native linguists who understand the idiosyncrasies of their languages and can provide bespoke translations that are culturally sensitive, rather than just large-scale translations of your domestic social media account. This will ensure you deliver a more unified customer experience.

Starbucks Brasil Facebook page

Starbucks Korea Facebook page

Starbucks UK Facebook page

3. Create country-specific content

One of the first things on your social media agenda is determining high-level strategic social media goals, timelines, and marketing ROI measurements. Create an abstract that you can easily share with the social media teams and agencies.

In any social media campaign, it’s imperative to communicate and engage with your audience. Creating and maintaining pages for each location on top social media sites will enable you to talk to the right people at the right time.

SuperDry Spain Twitter page

SuperDry USA Twitter page

4. Centralise your efforts

Many companies still don’t have a strategic approach to social media. It is imperative for a brand to establish its social media presence in the markets in which it operates.

Bring your strategy into one place

Centralising your social media efforts will make real-time social media engagement less of a daunting chore. Messages can be pulled into one place, with only one tool fuelled by a central inbox to leave no customer unattended. Monitor your social media presence for the international divisions to make sure every department replies to the right messages, and ultimately, cuts down on inefficiencies.

If employing an external agency, choose one that has the resources to deal with all of your social media accounts across markets. This will allow you to communicate the same brand message and integrate marketing and PR activities across platforms, while lowering operating costs, simplify knowledge sharing and optimising processes.


5. Geo-targeting

Both Twitter and Facebook enable advertisers to target users based on location, interests and demographics. Multi-location brands can use these targeting capabilities to serve localised ad content to relevant postcodes or regions for each location, driving traffic and leads to location websites.

When you post to your Page, you are able to target the post to specific audiences by enabling the post privacy gating setting:

  1. From the top of your Page, click Edit Page
  2. Select Edit Settings, then the Post Privacy Gating section
  3. Check the box that says “Allow me to control the privacy of new posts I make on my Page” and click Save Changes

With post privacy gating turned on, begin creating your post. To make sure only certain people will be able to see your post, click the drop-down ‘Public’ menu next to the ‘Share’ button and select ‘Location/Language’. Then you can type in the countries or languages of the people you’re targeting. Find out more on how to do this here.

Geotargeting Facebook page settings

Fierce global competition means that the concept of social media and local adaption is crucial. Ultimately, think global but act local.  


Four considerations to help determine which international market is right for your organisation

Read article