You’ve decided to launch your business internationally but only a small community in your new market knows your brand. Although your priority will be your website, you need to think about how you’re going to build awareness and trust around your brand and a strong international social media strategy will allow you to do both.
Choosing the right channels
The first thing you need to do is identify which channels are popular with your audience in the countries you’re wishing to target. Facebook has the biggest reach in countries like the UK and USA, however, countries like Russia, China, and Japan have their own social media networks where user numbers far surpass those on Facebook. It’s not just the audience size you need to keep in mind, think about who you’re targeting and where your content will look the most natural; if you’re going after professionals in Spain then you’d look to create a business page or showcase page on LinkedIn, whereas if you were going for professionals in Germany you’d need to think about which out of Xing or LinkedIn would be your better option.
When you know which channels you will be using, you then need to create a social media strategy and content calendar to ensure your channels are regularly updated with high-quality content.
Your social media strategy will cover the following:
- All channels your brand is present on.
- The audiences you’re hoping to target.
- How often each channel will be updated.
- Content needed for each channel, e.g. Instagram will be more image and video led then your strategy for Twitter.
Once you have your social media strategy you can begin to create your content calendar as this will give you a structure to work to when posting recurring content, e.g. blog posts and events. It’s at this point where you draw in all the content you’re already creating from activities like your international SEO strategy. This will allow you to answer whether you have enough ‘social media ready’ content to create a strong social media presence, or if you need to be creating additional content.
Just like other international marketing efforts, your social media content needs to be localized. Your copy needs to be written in the language of the country you’re posting in and your media needs to consider things like themes, location, and models. For example, holding a photoshoot using London as a backdrop won’t resonate well with your Dubai audience, or sharing video reviews of your winter wonderland scarves in Australia in December will make you appear out of touch.
After you’ve worked out what high quality recurring content you have, you need to plan on how you are going to be reactive on your social media channels. Reactive content is a huge part of social media so you will need someone with an eye for what’s going on in your industry, and what’s trending in your local area so that they quickly jump on the back of these trends.
Having someone manning your channels as you are breaking into a new territory is crucial; the first thing new potential customers will do is check out your social media channels. If these are littered with unanswered, or poorly answered complaints and questions then you will have a difficult job in building brand trust.
Social media is being used more and more as a customer service tool and people sending you inquiries and complaints on social media expect a quick response. You will need someone who speaks the native language to be ready to respond as and when questions and complaints come in. Not only can native linguists respond in the person’s language quickly, they will also understand how to address the person; for example, in Germany customers expect to be addressed formally, whereas in the UK customers prefer a more personalized approach.
Growing a community
You’ve set up your social media channels, have a strong content strategy, and have a few fans consisting of loyal existing customers from your new territory. You now need to think about how you’re going to grow your community to help generate awareness of your brand. Your first port of call should be to make sure your social media channels can be found easily – look at all the points of contact you have with customers and potential customers to make sure you’re always pushing the channels. A basic checklist would be to have links to your social media channels on:
- Website header or footer.
- Contact page.
- Email signatures.
- Business cards.
You will then need to work on driving new and relevant people to the social media channels. There are lots of tried and tested tactics for doing this, for example:
- You could run a competition on Twitter to give away your product
- Upload an email database of all customers in that area on Facebook and target them with adverts
- Ask Instagram fans to tag in their friends in comments under content they may like, or collaborate with influencers to gain exposure with their fans.
Reporting and analytics
Social media doesn’t serve just one purpose so it’s important to have the right tools to understand the success of your social media activity across all different markets, things you’ll need to track are:
- The reach of your social media posts
- The number of new fans your activities are attracting
- The number of engagements your posts are getting
- Your overall engagement rate
- How much traffic you’re sending from social media to your website
- The quality of your traffic from social media.
If you’re working with influencers, then it’s also important to understand the impact of the work they’re doing so it’s important to measure the reach of their mentions, how many interactions they’ve had with their mentions, and how much traffic they’re sending to your website. There are various social media analytics tools around where you can measure this impact, below is an example from Pulsar which shows the spread of online mentions and conversations containing either a keyword or brand. The bigger the dot the more influence the mention has had.
As your international social media community grows so will the awareness around your brand; you’ll notice more engagements with your content, you’ll receive more traffic from social media, and start to see sales influenced by social media activity. If you have any questions about your international social media strategy, please contact us.