International social media

Our Guide to Localising your International Social Media Campaign

The world is in the grip of a social media explosion. Just a few years ago, it used to be enough to have a business website to capitalise on those online opportunities, but nowadays, social media is king. Without a Twitter account or a Facebook page, your online business is virtually prehistoric.

The money businesses are spending on social media is on the rise. In 2014, 80 percent of businesses reported increased traffic to their website as a result of their social media efforts, while 66 percent generated additional leads. This shows how effective a well-run social media campaign can be at tapping into audiences that were previously off limits, and helping to create a recognisable international brand.

Navigating the minefield of localising your social media campaign for each market can be daunting, particularly on a limited budget, but there are a few a steps you can take to create international social media campaigns that support your expansion plans.

1. Define the market

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube might be all the rage in the UK and across much of the western world, but if you’re planning to expand into Asia, particularly China, then it’s Qzone and Renren that you’ll have to get to grips with.

Not every social media channel will be the right fit for your brand. While LinkedIn is great for reaching out to a corporate audience, visual sharing platforms like Instagram or Pinterest are more effective for lifestyle businesses like fashion, food and interior design.

Once you’ve decided which social media platforms will appeal to your target country and market, you need to understand exactly what that market are using the platform for. Are they watching videos, reading articles or private messaging? Ask yourself what makes a particular channel popular; once you have the answer, you can start creating your localised content.

2. Consider the culture

To travel effectively across international borders, it’s essential your content is culturally relevant and native to each target market. The best way to create culturally relevant content is to use a mother tongue linguist who lives and works in the target country. Their innate understanding of societal norms and cultural conventions will help to create content that introduces your brand to a new market in an appealing way.

3. Create assets that can be easily localised

Creating assets that appeal to your target market can be a time consuming and sometimes expensive business, but creating infographics, videos and original articles with localisation in mind can help to reduce the costs and increase the return on your investment.

Something as simple as sending infographics as .psd files rather than .jpgs, which will have to be edited all over again, can help to save a huge amount of time and expense.

4. Stay up to date

When it comes to social media assets created for multiple markets, some social media platforms are real stickers for the rules. YouTube, for instance, has strict rules in place that international marketers must adhere to, and simply putting different subtitles in place usually won’t do. Meanwhile, in China, there are certain words you are simply not allowed to use. Failure to adhere to the rules could lead to a ban from all social networks.

How are you localising your international social media campaigns? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your two cents’ worth in the comments section below, or drop us a line on Twitter.