The following post is part of the Mindjumpers Network series and written by our Community Manager, Sara Hansson. Mindjumpers Network is a global network of local country community managers enabling international companies to execute and maintain brand communities in a structured, quality assured and cost effective way across markets with the aim of creating effect and value.
Social media has opened up for the possibility to easily connect people across countries, which further provides a great possibility for international brands to penetrate new markets. This opportunity also brings a big challenge to the table; the challenge of controlling and maintaining product perception worldwide across new social media marketing channels. As Mindjumpers CEO Jonas Klit Nielsen says in his article for IABC, an issue for global brands is found in whether to centralize communication into one brand channel such as a global brand Facebook page, or to have pages for each local market. There is a wish to convey a global communication across markets and at the same time have the possibility to do marketing initiatives on a local level.
Local vs. global
Having one centralized global brand page makes it easier to secure that social media initiatives are in line with global social media strategies and that the right tone of voice and visual appearance are in control. However, according to the Facebook IQ 2012 report, 41% of brands maintain at least one local country page. These local Facebook pages have grown at twice the rate of global communities and register 50% higher engagement. Whether an international brand decides to have a global Facebook page or pages for each local market, there are considerations to take into perspective and solutions to put into practice in order to optimize the engagement and to secure an aligned global communication.
Not only about translation
A result of lacking unified social media marketing guidelines and local markets managing their own pages after their own preferences can be a fragmented brand and less efficient use of resources. On the other hand, having a global page with geo-targeted posts controlled by one unit is also a challenge. Not only do community managers have to consider the local languages, there is so much more than that.
- Language – When communicating in local language, the message you want to convey is easier seen and understood by users and proven to gain more engagement. The community manager has to manage the local language and it’s a core ability to know how to communicate social content on a local level.
- Culture – Culture is one of the largest components of how we communicate. Even though you have people mastering the local language at your head office, they can never leverage the communication with the authenticity as a person living in the given country is able to do. The local community manager should thereby be positioned in the local country.
- Real time – Another key element is real time. What goes on in the country right now? What are the trends and how can we relate or implement this to the conversations or stories we want to create? The community manager needs to be living in the local country to perform excellent on this.
Local management by local community managers
It‘s of great value to have the local page monitoring made by a local community manager who has an understanding and living by the local culture and who is staying updated on local happenings and events that may affect how people perceive your message. Some subjects are more or less sensitive to speak about depending on which country you target. Local social and cultural norms and happenings should be taken into consideration when you want to engage different markets.
Practical things such as knowing which devices are most dominated to get people to access Internet as well as laws on how to legally do business online are also essential to have an understanding of when activating local markets.
A central hub for aligned guidelines and structure
For international brands, tactics should include to leverage local community management in order to connect and engage local markets with authenticity. Concentrating social media strategies and guidelines to one common hub where the local markets can gather and find support can secure an aligned global communication and enable best practice across local markets. Try to create a hub where you can share knowledge, best practice cases and processes such as editorial planning helping local managers follow the global social media marketing plan. A central hub is also a cost efficient way to use your recourses.
Are you interested in learning more about the processes and values of local market activation for global brands? Feel free to leave a comment or click here to read about Mindjumpers Network.