Global Social Media and Your Brand – 5 Tips to Get You Out of Your Geographical Box
Share bait, infographics, and research online is awesome. Googling the impact of social media around the world brings a little tear to this social media pro’s eyes – they like it, they really like it! The numbers are astounding and, at least for now, there appears to be no end in sight.
Depending upon who you ask, here are some real eye-opening numbers:
- eMarketer predicts that there will be 1.43 billion social media users worldwide in 2012 (SearchEngineWatch.com)
- Indonesia (not the US…) has the highest percentage of their population on social media, coming in at 83%! (NewMediaRockStars.com)
- 75% of users across 21 surveyed countries say they text (PewGlobal.org – hello, do you even have a SMS strategy?
- Defining users as those who visit a social network at least once a month, 63.2% of the world’s internet audience will use social networks. This number is projected to rise to 67.6% in 2013 and then to 70.7% in 2014. (TheRealTimeReporter.com)
But, what does all the global acceptance of social mean to you and how you talk and interact on social? Let’s dive in to some tips that can help you manage and amplify the positive effect of global social media in your communication strategy.
Tip #1 – Time Zones Change Everything
You don’t necessarily say the same thing to someone in the morning as you do the evening. I don’t mean the niceties, but the topics. You might get by promoting a bar’s activities on Friday night, but not necessarily on Wednesday mid-morning.
If your audience is in a different country and time zone than your social media manager, be sure they accommodate their communications for time appropriateness.
Tip #2 – Culture is Not Just Language
You can learn to speak French and still not understand the French culture and mindset. You won’t be liked, you won’t sell products, you won’t make friends. Don’t be so arrogant as to imagine just learning a language is enough.
How to fix the above problem? Talk to some French people! Do some research. Look for food, travel, education, fashion, music differences and appreciate them. Learn and grow first, then reach out!
Tip #3 – Language Translation Is Not Exact
The Chevy Nova did not do well in Mexico because “no va” basically means doesn’t go. Not exactly what you want from a car, right? The Coca Cola slogan “Coke adds life to everything that needs a little life” translated as something about bringing your dead ancestors back in Chinese. Not a drinkable concept.
If you are going to play on a global stage, get bilinguals who translate by meaning, not exact words. Go easy on the jargon on your web copy and ads so they can be translated more accurately to other languages. You’ll get more understanding if you do.
Tip #4 – Global Teams Rock
Rather than expecting that your native based social media team is going to do well globally, create a satellite team or partner with companies in the destination countries for help. A global team can also help you manage the time zone issue too. No funky crossover because nothing will be out of sync – someone in France will be in alignment with the time topics that are appropriate for a French audience.
By decentralizing your social media management out of the home office, and even outsourcing some parts, you gain global exposure, appropriate timing and topics, and a boots on the ground team that rocks!
Tip #5 – Not Everything Translates
We all pretend that human nature is the same. Problem is, most of us don’t actually know human nature. We make assumptions based on our own limited culture and understanding and believe if it’s our experience, then it must be true. With fewer than 10% of US citizens holding a passport, it’s easy to see that our experience may not be sufficient.
Jokes are hard to do across cultures. Jargon is hard to do. Colloquial phrases are hard to do. Even pictures can be hard to do. Be careful and keep learning. You’ll figure it out – especially if you’re smart enough to realize not everything will work.
Go Forth and Be Social!
It’s a big big world out there and lots of people need and want to meet you. Take a touch of time on the front end to get a better understanding of what the expectations are from country to country and you’ll be more likely to make friends than enemies.
Go forth and be social – they like it, they really do!
Published: August 15, 2012 By: