Social Media Regionalization: Pros & Cons

Social Media PrismMany corporations have customers in multiple regions around the world, as well as regional headquarters offices. With social media becoming more and more important to reach customers, a company may want to think about the best way to target and communicate with a global audience.

Regionalized Social Media Pros

Targeted Social Media Platforms

Let’s use an example of a company headquartered in China or one where you are targeting an audience in this country. Social media campaigns centering only around Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will miss the mark as these platforms are blocked in China (unless users have access to a VPN line). According to Mashable’s article on 5 Chinese Social Networks You Need to Watch, there are 513 million users on home grown social networks. There is an equivalent for Facebook; it’s called RenRen. My suggestion is to do your research and make sure the person who manages these platforms is knowledgeable and sensitive to cultural customs. China’s version of Twitter is Sina Weibo where 22% of the Chinese internet population are users (an impressive number based upon their population and the newness of this technology).

Targeted Messaging per Region

Using platforms that utilize the news, regional company releases, contests, etc., will help your company communicate with that market at a local level. Photos or how-to videos of your product is also a great way to show potential (local) buyers what current customers like. Capitalize on third-party posts, photos and videos, as they provide rich opportunities to engage actual satisfied customers to tell their stories.

Dividing the Workload

For a corporation with a global headquarters as well as a regional presence, each area can be tasked with supplying relevant local news, product updates, local contests, local events, etc. Designated staff members can also monitor and react in that region’s timezone to anything posted (positive or negative). Responsiveness and engagement on social media lets people know that your company is actively listening.

And The Cons

Bandwidth

Rubber Band BallIf your company’s social media staff is limited, then it will be difficult to regionalize based on time and resources. If this is the case it might be better to start with one or two of the most popular social media sites in your company’s largest region and do a great job on that. Be sure to set up Google Alerts and other searches to find where your company is being talked about as a good best practice.

Too Many Options

If China, India, Europe, South America and the US are all your top target regions, there may be too many options to post to and provide content. Besides being overwhelming to manage, not all platforms will reach your target market. My suggestion is to research where your efforts can do the most good.

Slow Growth

Even if you post to your Global Facebook page and Twitter account, local followers are slow to “like” and “follow.” Often times, building a steady following on a platform takes time and consistency.

What’s Right for your company?

Setting a strategy

My first suggestion is to determine if there is a dedicated staff person or people in each region that are motivated. It takes focus on regionalizing social media platforms in order to build, grow and respond. Start with a plan, and staff accordingly. If internal staff is unavailable, perhaps outsourcing makes sense. In either case, start simple or delay jumping into social media for now… as unraveling mistakes can be costly in terms of man hours and brand reputation.

Keeping Information Current

Many companies struggle with having enough content or the right content to communicate to its markets. Some content can be re-purposed for multiple region sites. Keep in mind that companies who actively put new content on their social media platforms are the ones that continue to grow their social media reach.

Stay The Course

Once you’ve decided on the frequency of social media posts, be consistent. Your followers expect you to keep them up to speed on the industry trends, your company news and responding to questions, comments, compliments or complaints.

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