Let’s continue on from last weeks article on social media for international markets.
In international marketing, cultural and market differences mean that there are few certainties.
No one can say for sure what will work and what will not. There is no secret marketing formula to tell you what to do. And you cannot know for sure what type of social media marketing will get you international sales in a foreign market.
This uncertainty means that you need to:
- Have a process to identify and qualify the right cross-cultural marketing for your business.
- Also be prepared to make educated guesses to get started and find out what works for you.
Let’s look at where you start to make educated guesses.
Well, you first need to look at the communication channel.
Blogs have been around for for some time now in most countries. It is easier to make an educated guess about where a foreign blog could be part of your international marketing plan.
But do companies take the time to invest in a blog with content customized for a foreign audience?
- Early last year I wrote about Abercrombie & Fitch’s French blog to penetrate the French market without any retail outlets.
Many non-native English speaking businesses need to have to an online presence in English and choose blogs as a marketing tool.
The problem here is that this is usually simply a translation of their original content…
And the blog content is often:
- Not customized for one specific culture
- Not customized for one broad international audience
The other social media seem to be different.
Yes, businesses are making money from Facebook. But this currently appears to only be businesses targeting specific North American markets:
- The same profile of Americans that also spend their time reading and forwarding “cutesy” emails. You know, these emails are usually full of angels and you have to forward them to at least 20 other people, otherwise your sender wishes you dire circumstance or, even worse, throws you curses. If you don’t know what I mean, it is probably because those types of emails are not popular in your culture.
North Americans have been on Facebook for a while.
But Facebook is still going through rapid development in some other countries. It will be interesting to follow how businesses use Facebook in these countries.
Business Networking Websites
Culture definitely impacts your choice of business networking website. There are different ones for different regions:
- LinkedIn – predominantly North American
- Xing – European
- Viadeo – French
Obviously cultural differences in business communication influences the type of social media marketing you use on these networking websites.
- Sign up in the one used in your foreign markets
- Hang around for a while and observe
- Slowly start interacting with others
There is quite a buzz about how businesses are using Twitter.
What about using Twitter for international marketing?
Even though Twitter is dominated with a North American presence there are quite of few countries with large Twitter users, both in English and their native language.
This is well worth researching. There are now quite a few ways you can find country-specific Twitter users. And the very nature of Twitter makes it easy to do your international research live using Twitter.
Companies outside of North America
Clearly all non-American companies should consider Twitter as a valid marketing tool to reach North American markets.
Of all the social media international marketing scenarios, this is the one with the most likely to succeed. Simply because…
- Twitter is proving itself now in the North American market.
For my business, based in France, Twitter was a no-brainer.
And the results have been fast and much better than I had hoped for.
North American companies targeting international audiences -
I would still advise getting a good overview of social media in your foreign market and evaluate opportunities.
One thing you should know…
In comparison to North Americans, I am a social media novice… and yet I am already rated as the 3rd highest ranking Twitter user in France.
It is sometimes easy to become the biggest fish in a smaller pond.
International Marketing With Social Media
Is it worth your time using social media today to develop international markets?
Well, it really depends on where you are and where you want to go. It depends on the cultural mix and a variety of factors, including your future clients and how they use social media. And the current social media trendy in their country.
Today you need to be prepared to spend more time evaluating, learning and testing different social media to find out whether you can use any social media to build your international business.
Interesting, but premature?
You still might think that it is premature for your business to use social media in your international marketing.
But it is obvious that all businesses with any sort of online presence need to get comfortable with social media marketing.
Social media marketing requires different communication skills.
And if you want to use social media for your international business development some time in the future, it is much easier when you already have the basic skills. Good international marketing always starts with good marketing practices.
…A good reason to create a social media marketing plan for 2009.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: cross cultural social media
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