Social networks have grown considerably in recent years and have become an indispensable communication tool for companies and brands. But how do we manage social networks internationally? In this article, we will give you some guidelines to follow in order to develop an effective social media strategy on the international scene.

Determine your goals

First, you must define the reason why you want to be present on social networks. What goals do you want to achieve through social networks? Do you want to win your clients’  loyalty? Boost your sales? Develop a community? Here are some examples of goals that companies and brands try to achieve through social media:

  • Use these rapid and effective communication tools to increase their visibility and increase their company’s reputation
  • Attract new customers and encourage them to visit their website
  • Develop direct contact with their clients and build a trusting relationship via social networks
  • Build customer loyalty

Define your social media targets

The second step is to determine who your targets are. Your social media strategy will be totally ineffective if you do not know who it is  aimed at. Define the type of people you want to target: How old are they? Where do they live? Also consider analyzing your targets’ user habits on social networks: the frequency with which they post, the time they spend on social networks or the time of day they tend to be connected.

Select the right social media network

As the number of social networks increases, it is necessary to carefully select those that really correspond to your target. Once this choice has been made, do not duplicate your own strategy and apply it to other countries. It is of utmost importance to have an editorial line and to adapt to the social media of each country. In fact, some countries like Vietnam, Pakistan or North Korea forbid the use of Facebook. Moreover, in China, Weibo and Qzone are the most popular. So you have to be well aware of your users’ social network preferences.

Be sensitive to cultural differences

It is imperative to adapt your strategy to the culture of the country in which you wish to implant your brand. Otherwise, you risk being be misunderstood by your Internet users. We therefore recommend you to do good research and understand each culture’s sensitivities. A common mistake is to think that what works in one country can be applied, as is, to another country with  the same level of success. Unfortunately, a publication that works in Argentina will not necessarily work in Japan. It is essential to adapt your strategy to the culture of the country where you want to develop your brand, as much through the images as through the text and the language chosen for your publications.

Beware of time on social networks

The element of time on social networks also plays an important role. If your target audience only logs on at the weekend, you will need to post your main information at that time and not during the week. Be aware of time zones that can be tricky, especially if you are not in the target country.

To conclude, an international social media strategy cannot be built without taking into account existing cultural differences. It is necessary to be observant, to listen and adapt your strategy to the Internet users whom you want to address.