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Jessica is in charge of managing social media for a UK-based company that targets international audiences across a range of markets. Jessica is enthusiastic as well and sees great potential in localising the company’s social media presence, which at present is in English-only. Without full support and participation from those holding the purse strings, your enthusiasm for expanding the company’s social footprint will only take you so far. While you would have thought that gaining executive buy-in 1.3 billion Facebook users down the road would be as easy as pie, this remains a significant hindering block to expanding social programs in many organisations today. A successful global social media deployment is a huge task, one that requires immense planning, long-term dedication, and collaboration across the entire organisation – including, in many cases, collaboration with agencies outside of the organisation.
So make it a priority from the outset to convince these decision-makers of how an organised, coordinated and localised effort into social is likely to greatly enhance the company’s performance in international markets. Since the topic of transitioning a single-language social presence into one that accounts for multiple languages typically only arises once international market have begun to generate a somewhat considerable portion of a company’s revenues, it gets easier to choose which markets to localise for.
Expanding your social footprint into new markets and languages necessitates expanding your team too (or teaming up with agencies).
Now that this is clear (yes, I just needed to get it off my chest), it’s worth stressing that appointing local social media managers goes beyond merely being able to speak the language of your target market. Another critical skill that any member working on your social programs in international markets must possess is brand immersion – in other words, these people need to know your brand inside out.
It’s your responsibility nonetheless to ensure that each team member is able to communicate in a way that always supports and is consistent with the global brand, irrespective of where in the world or in which language that tweet or Facebook update is being posted. Defining your social media objectives gets a whole lot easier when you’ve put in the time to get to know your audience first.
If you’re able to answer the following question in a comprehensive, well-argued manner for each of the markets for which you plan to expand your social presence, please proceed.
Social Media AuditHaving a presence on social networking sites is an essential part of any online strategy.
It’s imperative that you’re able to answer the ‘why’ because it will avoid you from falling into the trap of selecting all the big global networks by default.

While there are numerous reasons as to why it makes good sense to turn an owned platform into the hub for your social efforts, the model is not without its challenges from an international perspective. In a marvellous, (for most companies) rather utopic world with unlimited resources, you’d have a blog or other owned social asset as the hub for each and every country you’re targeting; then on top of that, full localisation for all your social networks in each market. Since in this specific case you don’t have owned social hubs that cater specifically to French and Italian speakers, more of the content on Facebook and Twitter will be geared towards driving traffic to the websites for these countries (e.g.
By now you’ve selected your troops, defined your global and local social media objectives, chosen your social channels and organised them in a way that maps onto your organisation. Before you unleash your teams onto your social channels, you need a plan to operate in order for things to run smoothly. Because you’ve set specific targets for social in each of your markets as part of your objective setting, you will know precisely what Key Performance Indicators to measure against to show progress. At the global level, be careful with quantitative like-for-like comparisons between markets.
As the Research Manager of multilingual web marketing agency Webcertain, Immanuel heads up the company’s global market research activities and large content marketing projects. In fact, they‘ve made further expansion into international markets a top strategic priority. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by setting out on quest to conquer and stun the world’s social media users all at once. And being completely immersed in that culture is an absolute necessity for building a credible, authentic social media presence.
But it doesn’t change the fact that putting tactics before listening, goal-setting and strategy is like putting the cart before the horse: It won’t take you very far. Tying these insights into overall business goals will help you set objectives more accurately, and most importantly, in a way that aligns with your company’s broader business strategy – globally and locally.
This service will give you an insight into the performance of your social media profile and help you gain a better understanding of how users interact with your brand.
This setup is often referred to as a ‘Glocal’ approach because it combines global elements (the company profile will be in English) and local elements (it targets posts in the local language of specific countries or regions).

The net result is that you won’t have to create as much local content because it’s supported by global content in English.
Your brand can quickly get out of hand if social becomes a free-for-all activity, whereas really strict corporate approval processes and social media policies are likely to paralyse local teams in a way that sees them unable to leverage the real-time nature of social. As your social teams grows bigger and gets more distributed, this bit gets more important but also more difficult to implement.
He is the author of several reports and guides, including ‘The Essential Guide to Rel-Alternate-Hreflang’ and ‘The Webcertain Global Search and Social Report 2013’. It helped us to think about how to combine marketing and social media for local and global objectives. In fact, so much so that we’ve put together a comprehensive 30+ pages guide that will provide you with a step-by-step framework for planning a global social media strategy that is destined to pack a punch once it goes live – globally and locally.
Well, you’d be amazed just how many companies have attempted to pull off a social presence in foreign countries by relying on automated translation services such as Google Translate. Training of the teams that run your local social media programs and providing them with easy access to documents such as brand style guides, social media policies and best practices are fundamental here.
Apart from being a tutor at the International Marketing School -- teaching online marketing professionals on business opportunities around the globe -- Immanuel is a regular speaker at the International Search Summit, a leading event series dedicated to multilingual search and social media marketing. There are a lot more insights to be found in there, including hands-on tips, tricks and recommendations that you can start implementing into your global social strategy today.
Bear in mind that it’s also much, much easier to get C-suite buy-in for further expansion once you’re able to prove the positive business outcomes of a localised social media presence. And on a global scale, across time zones, and oftentimes with strict corporate approval processes in place, responsiveness is easily lost.

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