How to Plan and Execute a Global Social Media Strategy

Sen Boyaci
April 11, 2022
Last Updated On

Modern-day marketing requires brands to think beyond their local markets. In order to compete, they need to consider how they can connect with audiences overseas as well. After all, in an era of global digital commerce, brands can deliver products worldwide at lightning speed, so borders should no longer be a hindrance to growth. But in reality, it's not as simple as it may sound—just because a brand found success in its local market doesn’t mean it can replicate the same approach and apply it to others. Oftentimes, it falls to the marketing team to create brand awareness and establish connections with new consumers around the world for growth to occur.

With over 4.6 billion users (over half the global population), social media presents a great opportunity for brands to market themselves internationally. It gives them direct access to new customers and allows them to inform their product strategy while considering cultural differences. Through targeted strategies and audience segmentation, brands can easily adapt their content and product in a way that resonates with new consumers.

What is a global social media strategy?

Global marketing social media strategy is the approach of reaching various consumer groups quickly and easily using social media platforms, which is a key reason why brands incorporate social into their marketing mix. In virtually no time, companies can deliver their products to targeted audiences as soon as they launch in new markets. An effective international social media marketing strategy combines coherent research and a clear execution plan that helps brands use social media to engage, educate, entertain, and ultimately convert individuals into customers.

How can social media encourage the growth of a global brand?

Brands now have several tools at their disposal to make their content shoppable and drive sales through social media. Social entertainment is becoming the primary way for brands to reach consumers globally these days, and short-form video is the key to reaching these consumers—providing the most effective way for them to engage with content. Simply put, video content gives marketers the ability to add a personal and authentic touch to the content they create, offering greater possibilities for converting consumers. Those who innovate with the format, stay on top of trends, and break boundaries will thrive during this period of transition.

In the last two years, beauty brand The INKEY List has seen significant success in growing globally due to its willingness to innovate and use short videos as a medium.

"As a knowledge-led brand, long reads and copy-heavy content have always been essential in our content strategy. However, we had to learn how to transition these formats into video, which now accounts for 60-70% of our content. As a result, our IG Reels often outperform our best-performing carousels and stills." Quote from Kasey Ford, social media manager at The INKEY List

The way consumers discover content has changed, and a brand's following no longer determines how many people can see its content. As a result, online reach is no longer capped, and going viral has become a key component of many marketers' global social media strategies. In our latest global digital insights report, we explore the role creator partnerships and social entertainment play in helping your brand grow its engagement rate, e-commerce sales, and international reach.

How should you launch your brand internationally on social media?

Partnerships are an ideal way to introduce your brand to new audiences quickly. For example, The INKEY List partnered with Sephora in over 30 international markets, which gave them a consistent partner who could help them scale in a meaningful way. Beyond retail partners, building brand awareness and social presence internationally is also important. Social media allows brands like The INKEY List to build a community of brand enthusiasts even before expanding to new marketers.

Establish a global communications team

Although many brands seek growth globally without being physically present in other countries, building a local team of experts could undoubtedly unlock faster and more successful growth. By doing so, niche regional teams can have a localized focus while the overall brands can continue planning their global growth strategy.

Executing your global social media strategy

Having established what it takes to create a global media strategy, let's dive into some practical considerations that brands need to keep in mind when communicating with international audiences. Among these, we will explore the importance of time zones, acknowledging cultural context, and cultivating relationships with local creators to raise brand awareness in new markets.

Consider local time zones

Posting to multiple time zones is essential when you have a brand located in one or two geographical regions, while the majority of your social media audience and customers are based all over the world. Some brands tend to post multiple times a day to ensure local times are met, while others find a happy medium where one specific time of the day is suitable for all key markets.

Through Dash Hudson's Scheduler, brands can schedule posts in advance to maximize efficiency. Marketing teams can use the tool to plan and visualize their full content calendar, and schedule in advance to guarantee they don't miss any crucial local posting times.

Consider local vs. global

Many large international brands have local Instagram accounts and Facebook pages, speaking the native language and managed by team members from specialized regional offices. As you consider the best approach for your brand, keep in mind your end goal, which is to increase engagement rates and to ensure your content resonates with your audiences. We’ve written more about local vs. global Instagram handles and global vs. local Facebook pages so you can explore both options and determine which one makes the most sense for your international social media strategy.

Be aware of cultural context

It only takes a trip abroad to see how easily people from different cultures can misunderstand each other. Culture greatly influences how people think, perceive, and react to different situations, so brands should understand the cultural context to create effective content that transcends borders. For brands, emojis are often used for social media posts as a means of social expression, or to engage audiences who use them in their own personal interactions. Brands must be mindful of the cultural context before employing them.

The angel emoji is often associated with innocence or a good deed in western countries, but it is a symbol of death in China. Moreover, in Brazil and Turkey, the "OK" hand gesture is considered an insult, similar to how a middle finger is perceived in other countries. With just one emoji, you can easily cause confusion and alienate customers worldwide.

Social media has also become a prominent part of consumers' awareness of how brands approach diversity and inclusion through their products. While it is now a standard practice for brands to embrace inclusion in their campaigns, those hoping to appeal to broad audiences globally must proactively design narratives and positioning that incorporate the cultures of new target markets.

Adidas ad featuring athlete wearing a hijab
Image credit: Adidas

Work with local creators

A quick and effective way to increase brand awareness among new audiences is to partner with influencers and creators who are reputable and can help translate your brand messaging in a way that resonates with them. This can be accomplished by establishing a dedicated team who are responsible for sourcing and managing these relationships.

Dash Hudson's Relationships feature offers brands a suite of tools for managing and measuring partnerships with creators. A brand can vet influencers before investing in a partnership, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that are more likely to succeed, while also using performance predictions to determine which influencers' content will be most effective for their audience.

The INKEY List's average reach increased by 101.8% in 2021, compared to the previous year, demonstrating that by utilizing insights and a dedicated team, brands can successfully increase their global footprint through social media.

Ensure you’re using the right analytics and insights

Brands need granular insights to measure the impact of these social initiatives and analyze what is and isn't contributing. Modern brands can gain a clear understanding of their social media performance and audience preferences through Dash Hudson's insights, providing the context they'll need to expand successfully and drive results. To learn more about how The INKEY List found +598% growth on Instagram since using Dash Hudson, read our case study.

"Dash Hudson is an invaluable tool when it comes to learning from past content and analyzing growth by region, age, and how it relates to the content we produce. We can integrate these insights into future planning and campaigns." Quote by Kasey Ford, social media manager at The INKEY List.

As social media shifts towards a content-first model, which rewards the most entertaining content, brands are presented with a huge opportunity to hone their social media strategies globally. Embracing this change, and having insights that enable brands to pivot and stay competitive, will allow them to thrive in this new age of entertainment-driven social commerce. Learn how other beauty brands are leveraging the power of entertainment to drive business success by downloading our 2022 Beauty Industry Instagram Benchmarks.

FAQs

What is social media in international marketing?

International social media marketing gives brands a platform to launch their businesses globally and increase their visibility. It can be used to help ensure that products are advertised to global audiences, often with fewer resources in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising. Today's social landscape leaves brands' reach virtually unlimited, which greatly increases their chances of going viral and, therefore, of increasing their awareness and sales internationally.

What is the global reach of social media?

Statista estimates that there will be 3.43 billion monthly active social media users by 2023, about a third of the world's total population.

What is the biggest social media platform globally?

With over 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook is currently the most popular social media platform, followed by Youtube (2.5 billion monthly users) and Whatsapp (2 billion monthly users).

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