Social Media and the Whole Wide World


One of the coolest things about the internet is its ability to close the gap between us and the rest of the world. By allowing us to communicate with people on the other side of the world with the click of a button, the internet has made our global community seem a whole lot smaller. That’s great and all, but it can get pretty tricky when it comes to communicating on a global scale.

As a business, it’s important to recognize that your target audiences understand things differently. An audience in China, for example, would without a doubt require a message that is different than the ones an audience in the U.S. might receive. Things like U.S. pop culture references and cliches might not translate to an audience in the Middle East.

The rules of engagement regarding social media can be tricky. However, they get a whole lot more complex the second a business decided to take the social media content global. Social media specialists have listed the following six common mistakes that businesses often make when taking their brand global.

1.  Failure to adapt to local markets 

Being relevant to your local markets is imperative. Using the same methods to appeal to different cultures is an excellent way for a global social media campaign to crash and burn.

2. Brand names that don’t translate

Mr. Heapes gave an excellent example of this in one of the billion classes I’ve taken with him. Chevy experienced some difficulty when trying to market the Chevy Nova in Spanish-speaking countries. Why? In Spanish, “nova” translates to “doesn’t go.” I mean, I don’t know about you but the Chevy “Doesn’t Go” sounds like an awfully unreliable car to me. The lesson to learn: don’t pick brand names that translate into something embarrassing.

3. Keyword translation issues 

SEO is a cool thing. (I believe I’ve said that exact phrase in a previous post.) However, you can very easily run into translation issues here as well. Keywords that are used to describe a product here might not translate in other countries. As a business, it’d be wise to get the help of someone who speaks the native language of the audience you are marketing to. This can ensure that SEO can be just as effective abroad as it is here.

4. Not treating local markets as separate campaigns 

If you want to take a social media campaign global, it’s important to remember that you are now marketing to a complete different audience. Create separate social media accounts and tailor your content to things that will be relevant to that particular audience. Trying to market on a global scale using a one-size-fits-all strategy is a terrible idea.

5. Insufficient research into local culture 

Does your audience prefer to use cash or credit cards? Would they rather buy online or in a brick-and-mortar store? Do they prefer bright, vibrant, visually stimulating advertisements or simple, toned down ads? These are questions you must ask when marketing to different global audiences.

6. Failure to adapt for mobile 

Accessibility via mobile phones is a big deal. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re likely to miss out on reaching an entire population of your audience that accesses the internet primarily through a phone or tablet.



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