Jay Baer recently shared the social media quotes he uses most. Be sure to check out the SlideShare presentation he’s put together. These are some great quotes and I use many of them myself. But I’m based in France and network constantly with a broad international audience for my business. So these quotes don’t always resonate the same with my international audience.
Here are Jay’s favorite social media quotes with some of my own thoughts on how these work within international social media.
Social Media Tips From An International Perspective
#1: “Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.”
This is not always easy for people from different countries to understand because their ideas of “being social” are different. And this means people in different countries observing social media in North America can have a hard time picking up what “being social” means in social media.
For example in many countries “social” has to be in person. Here’s an example of how French people have integrated the French notion of being social in social media.
#2: “Social media doesn’t create negativity, it uncovers it.”
I personally have a hard time with this. One of the culture shocks I had, even after living in France for decades, was the negativity in the French blogosphere. Of course there are many great French bloggers, but every time I dive into this French environment I’m shocked by how negative it is and invariably close all my web browsers.
This makes me a bit wary of what negativity means to different cultures and how this can impact social media in different countries.
#3: “Social media is an ingredient, not an entree.”
Right now in European businesses social media often seems more like the unicorn mentioned below. It’s something you’ve heard about, but don’t really believe the business benefits exist. So it’s hard to create any sort of “social media meal” at all.
But progress is being made and it’ll be interesting to see the differences in how social media is used within different countries. Just like there are different cuisines throughout the world, there’s sure to be “culinary differences” in successful social media in other countries.
#4: “Everyone says social media is a unicorn, but maybe it’s just a horse?”
Or the Lochness Monster? That’s the response most appropriate to what I hear here in Europe.
As North American businesses use social media more in 2010 it’ll be easier for businesses in other countries to come up with a metaphor they can relate to and then learn how to adapt it to their own cultural specifications.
#5: “Social media is the ultimate canary in the coal mine.”
Speaking of metaphors, this is one that doesn’t translate well. Hopefully in years to come we’ll see the cultural differences in social media as a flock of different exotic birds.
#6: “The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army.”
Of course, this is fascinating to observe through a cross-cultural lens to compare cultural differences.
For example, creating a “volunteer marketing army” is different in “highly independent” versus “highly collective” societies. And there will also be differences when comparing results in cultures with “high context communication” versus “low context communication”.
#7: “It’s not viral unless it is.”
I love this one. It’s not always easy for non-native English speakers to understand buzz words. They can often take on new meanings when adopted in different cultures. And this quote reminds everyone to not get carried away in selling social media.
#8: “Linkedin is for people you know. Facebook is for people you used to know. Twitter is for people you want to know.”
Outside of North America this appears to be different. There are cultural differences in how people like to connect with others and there are cultural differences in how different generations use social media.
The younger generations around me here in France definitely use Facebook for the people they know. In international circles LinkedIn is not necessarily for people you know. In fact, I often hear people in the UK say they didn’t feel the need to be on LinkedIn. And there are still too many questions about Twitter outside of North America and it may not be the best place to make specific international connections.
#9: “Facebook Fan Pages are email newsletters with smaller pictures.”
This is a great social media quote, but it doesn’t work in cultures where most businesses don’t use email newsletters.
But it can give forward thinking marketers in those countries a great idea to try out in their market. Many business successes originated from adapting and being an early adopter of what works well in one country to another country.
#10: “Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s different expensive.”
For businesses in countries where social media is still an enigma, it can appear to be very expensive. This is because it takes so much time simply to understand the value and figure out how they can use this to their advantage.
#11: “Social media creates kinship between companies and customers, and kinship equals purchase intent.”
The cultural differences in how people connect with each other and do business impacts how social media can be used for business.
On the one hand social media should prove to be a great tool for some businesses in connecting with potential customers. And on the other hand, there are cultures where social media’s role in getting sales will not be obvious.
#12: “Social media changes the relationship between companies and customers from master and servant, to peer to peer.”
Although I agree 100% with this social media quote, in some cultures it’s very difficult to create “peer to peer” relationships without meeting people in person.
In some international markets, it may be possible to a certain extent and prove to be helpful, but it won’t be easy. And in these cultures social media localization is a necessity.
#13: “Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards.”
As an international marketer this is one of my favorite social media quotes. Social media makes it easy to connect with an international audience, but are you doing anything with these connections?
I meet many business owners who say they want to develop their international business, but don’t know where to start. Social media can be a great starting point to learn more about your international markets. But it involves putting in the effort to take those social media connections further.
#14: “Social media is about people, not logos.”
This social media quote can help all businesses. In countries where social media is not used extensively for businesses it’s easy to miss this. And it’s also why social media can be valuable within an international communication campaign.
#15: “Every company is its own TV station, magazine, and newspaper.”
This is another of my favorite social media quotes because it represents opportunities for businesses interested in reaching international audiences. It’s not easy and there are limitations, but social media gives you platforms to connect with international markets and get feedback. It’s a great international market research tool when used strategically.
All businesses with North American clients or wanting to develop there must use social media… and it’s surprising to see how many of them still not using the fantastic communication tools social media gives them.
#16: “Social media allows big companies to act small again.”
I love international business development tools and this is what social media can be for many companies.
#17: “Passion is the gasoline of social media.”
This quote reminds me of how Clotaire Rapaille refers to the American culture as being adolescent in his book The Culture Code. The capacity of this nation to use passion as a driver is wonderful to watch in action. But it also makes me wonder if something else will fuel social media in other cultures.
#18: “You must fight social media fire with social media water.”
This is a great quote and leads to another one: “You must adapt social media to work well in different cultures.”
Now, It’s Your Turn
- How do you adjust your social media for international audiences?
- What cross-cultural challenges have you encountered using social media?
- What’s your favorite social media quote for international markets?
What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: International Social Media
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