Most social media marketers and companies stick to Facebook and Twitter for all their social media and content marketing campaigns. In this global economy where valuable customers and leads need to be found from all countries to expand companies, these social media channels are not enough. With over a billion active users and because it is the top social networking platform in many countries, Facebook is the safe choice but there are many other social networks that you have probably never heard of that are more popular than Facebook in quite a few countries.
The social media world consists of so many social media platforms that your social media strategy needs to be international. To improve brand exposure and profit margins, you need to choose the right social media platforms in different countries. Also, you need to take into consideration the culture and languages in other countries before using their popular social media platforms.
Immensely popular social media networks that you have never heard of
In the last few years, Facebook has managed to become the most popular social media network in most countries. Nevertheless, it has not achieved complete monopoly yet. In 2009, other popular networks like Orkut were very popular in countries like Brazil and India. In a few short years, Facebook has become the most preferred social networking platform in all North and South American countries. It also dominates in Japan, India, Portugal and many other European and African countries.
However, it still does not enjoy the same popularity in some major countries. The most popular social networks in Russia are Odnoklassniki and VKontakte and in China it is Qzone. Also in most Islamic Gulf countries, Cloob is the top social media platform. Although Facebook is very popular in most countries, it faces stiff competition from other local social networks. For example in Italy and Austria, Badoo is almost as popular as Facebook and Hyves is becoming a serious threat in Netherlands.
Other social networks that brands need to be aware of have been listed in the Brand Report 1 by the Brand Value Rating Agency and the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich. Not surprisingly; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter claim the top spots as the most popular social networking platforms in the world. However, within the top 30 itself there are some unfamiliar names of social media platforms that are very important in some countries. For a truly international and successful social media campaign, you need to use these social media channels too. Think of Renren in China, Habbo in Finland and Pandora in America when you are coming up with an international social media marketing strategy.
Critical decisions for targeting an international audience
• Countries to consider
The moment you decide to have an international social media marketing campaign, you need to choose the countries you want to target. It is impossible to target users in all countries as there are so many different social media networks and your campaigns could become unmanageable. Also, you cannot possibly learn the cultures, languages and societal nuances of every country. So choose a few countries that matter the most, become knowledgeable about these countries and target their people with your campaigns. Most companies choose growing economies and countries where their services and products have a great demand. Surveys show that people in Russia, China and Brazil are most active on social networks and these countries are also growing rapidly. So it is a wise choice to target these countries.
• Choice of social media channels
Facebook and Twitter are the obvious choices as they are very popular in most countries and have vast user bases. Still, companies should not limit their campaigns to these channels only. Pinterest, Instagram and other image sharing social media platforms are excellent for showcasing products and services and both these channels have user bases that rival that of Twitter and Facebook.
Visual content is always more appealing than textual content so create videos, Infographics and images and market them through platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. Also, after you have chosen the countries you want to target your campaigns at, use the most popular social networking platforms for your campaigns – preferably in appropriate local languages.
• Type of content
No matter what language you are creating your content in, it needs to be relevant, original and valuable to customers. You need to be very careful about the culture, laws and acceptable norms of a country before creating content that is going to be read by its people. Provocative and erotic content can land you in a lot of trouble in certain countries and your content could get banned or censored.