Giving your business international reach via social media

Should your eCommerce business have separate social media accounts for separate languages? And what about other international networks? Get the facts.

Social media is now a key part of many eCommerce businesses’ marketing strategies. “Follow us on Twitter”, “Like us on Facebook”, “Check out our Instagram” – serving up social content your target audience will love is an essential part of making your brand’s voice heard online. But, what happens when it’s time to take your social media presence to an international audience?

Should you have separate accounts for separate regions? Should you look to other international social networks outside of the “Big Three”? This article will answer a few key questions about exporting your business’ social media presence.

Should you have separate accounts for each region?

There are pros and cons to creating separate accounts for each region you serve. On the downside, taking care of and growing multiple social accounts for multiple regions can prove to be a big administrative headache, requiring many more resources compared to just one centralised social presence.

Your social media managers must understand each local audience and create carefully honed content which appeals to your demographic, often translated into multiple languages, all while juggling the administrative headache of managing multiple accounts. The alternative is to give responsibility for each set of accounts to any staff you may have operating locally, which will ensure the tone is appropriate, but will also require careful supervision and management from one central manager to ensure brand messaging remains consistent.

However, it’s worth remembering that the most successful marketing on social media is that which engages users and it’s very difficult to do this with poorly translated content that isn’t relevant to users’ geographical area.

Specific social accounts for specific regions allow online brands to put out content that is relevant to those regions and therefore more likely to encourage greater user engagement. This will help to boost brand awareness, customer loyalty and increase the power of your digital marketing.

Many social networks now have inbuilt translation tools, but these computerised translations are often highly literal and rarely accurate enough. Human translations shared via a dedicated account offer a much more personal way to connect with foreign audiences socially. Bilingual accounts are very rare and widely considered a “bad idea” as, rather than welcoming speakers of multiple tongues, they tend to alienate allcomers, cluttering followers’ feeds with messages they do not understand.

Which networks matter?

Once you’ve decided whether or not you want to create multiple accounts for multiple international audiences, you may also want to consider the specific locations you’re exporting to. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be the Big Three here in the UK and in the States, but other countries have alternative platforms where you may find larger audiences. For example, five of the biggest international social networks are:

  • QZone – China’s biggest social media platform which has 645 million registered users

  • VK – A hugely popular platform in Eastern Europe with 239 million registered users across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

  • Odnoklassniki – Another popular platform among young Russians with over 200 million registered users

  • Badoo – Latin countries make significant use of this site developed to help users meet new people, it has over 301 million users in Latin America, France, Italy and Spain

  • Xing – Like LinkedIn, but used predominantly by German speakers, Xing has 7.9 million users

Consider where your key audiences and markets are located, then invest time in learning about the social platforms which matter to them. To make your global social media a success, take the time to craft a presence and messages that speak directly to your new international demographic. Happy tweeting (or VK-ing)!

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Topics: Advertising, E-commerce, Insights & Statistics, Localisation, Market Research, Promotion, and Sales & Marketing
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