Key Points for Local Market Activation on Social Media for International Brands

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.


Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.