Thinking Global Acting Local in Social Media Management

It’s a big old world out there and as Social Media Managers we should never forget it. We want our brand to connect with individuals worldwide but everyone is different so let’s talk about localization or as I like to call it thinking global acting local!

Take a look at the big brands and how they market their products… would you see the same soft drinks commercial in South America as you would in the UK? It’s unlikely because the brand knows that to sell its product it needs to meet the desires of its target market. Playing the same commercial around the world just wouldn’t work… for a start most of your viewers won’t understand it and then there’s the relevance! In the realm of social media the world is your oyster… you just need to know how to open it up to get the pearl!

Even big brands don’t always get it right first time…

  • UPS had to repaint its brown trucks for the Spanish market when the discovered they resembled funeral hearses.
  • Coca Cola had to adapt its message for India when it learnt that soft drinks were reserved locally for special occasions and local residents predominantly drank water at mealtimes.
  • IKEA the Swedish furniture giants managed to name a desk set “Fartfull” before the error was pointed out.
  • Pepsi ads in Taiwan stated “Come Alive With Pepsi” not realising that the message translated into Chinese as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead.”

3 Tips for Social Media Localization

LANGUAGE LOCALIZATION – Alright so starting out you won’t be able to target every single language on the planet but you don’t necessarily want to. Your marketing plans should include a detailed specification of the regions you need to be targeting and from that you can work out which languages you need. At this point you can decide whether to have separate social media accounts for each language or whether to utilise a targeting system via one single social media account. The key to language localization is to convey the message of your brand but not to translate each sentence word for word- trust me that definitely won’t work!

TIP – remember if your customer support team, landing pages and website cannot support the languages you are using on social media your efforts will probably produce a high bounce rate.

CULTURE– This one is trickier because it requires researching and understanding the cultures of your target regions which is where many brands come unstuck. What holidays do they celebrate? What engages them in discussion? What subjects should you avoid? What will make potential clients connect with your brand or buy your product? Taking the time to congratulate a region on a sporting win, wishing them a happy holiday, understanding the local news and political events will help you to tailor your posts in a sensitive and engaging manner. Also consider your branding and don’t be afraid to adapt it to meet the needs of the local market… your core message will remain the same but your appeal will increase by connecting with your local audience.

TIP – Survey your potential region to learn what makes its people tick.

HOURS – You’re in London but the region you are targeting is 8 hours ahead so if you don’t have a local team operating your social media you will need to give it some thought. If you are using geographical targeting to place posts on Facebook then make sure you also consider what time they are going out. If you post your messages in the middle of the night (local time) then they will be buried half way down the newsfeed by the time your target region has finished eating its breakfast cereal!

TIP – Use post scheduling software to ensure that your messages are hitting your regions at the right times and keep a timetable on your desk to remind you!

 Trust me, Thinking Global Acting Local is a constant learning curve but don’t worry … it’s fun too!