If you want to deliver your company’s message across multiple nations and cultures, you must build a global social media campaign that will take your brand here, there, and everywhere. By ‘global’ I mean that it has to be tailored to suit the cultural differences and preferences of your regional audiences.
Like any other marketing manager for a big international company, I am well aware of what it takes to run international marketing campaigns. SEMrush’s products are targeted at multiple markets, including both English and non-English speaking countries.
In this guide, I will share our best practices in running global social media campaigns and suggest some of the handiest tools from my arsenal to help you throughout.
Step 1: Tailor Your Campaign to Your Target Regions
A cut and paste approach doesn’t work when it comes to global marketing: your campaign’s goals, metrics, and your message must be tailored to suit your regional audience. I asked our social media managers at SEMrush to share some real-life examples of how they do this.
Tailor Your Goals
This one is pretty obvious: different regions, different campaign goals. If you are only starting to enter the new market, increasing your brand awareness is what you should worry about; the number of purchases will mean absolutely nothing at this stage.
Tailor Your Metrics
Your metrics of success will, therefore, differ too. Sometimes, a thumbs up from a German reader feels as rewarding as a ‘Woooooooow this is amazing!’ from an Italian reader. Some nations are more reserved than others, and this shows in the way they react to our posts:
So make sure you know what kind of reaction to expect from your audience, and measure your campaign's performance based on that.
Tailor Your Message
This is where you need to take into account the cultural differences of each region.
As our social media managers have found from years of experience, the German audience tends to like and react to short, concise messages, so an attempt to win their hearts with pretty pictures of your product will probably fail. Quotes, links, numbers -- aim for this type of format.
Italians, on the other hand, appear to react more to visual presentation (graphs, infographics, pictures.)
As our Italian social media team claims, if you are targeting the Italian market, your offer needs to be written in Italian ONLY! While some regions wouldn’t bother learning a new language to be able to read your posts, some (like Germans) are generally OK with and even happy to read posts written in English. As our German regional team says, don’t be surprised to find out that your German audience is following your main English account, rather than the German regional one.
As silly as this may sound, I once faced a situation whereby a Santa Claus, drawn by our designers for the global Christmas campaign, didn’t seem fat enough for the German audience, a concern flagged by our German social media managers. Apparently, a German Santa is supposed to be fatter and have shorter legs. See what I came up with in the end:
Not a huge difference, but what I learned from this is that in the future, I must consult our regional specialists before sending any drawings to production.
To find relevant visual content in a particular region, consider using this lifehack discovered by one of our users, @dan_shure:
Keep in Mind the Local Social Networks
You must remember that particular regions have their own social platforms. If your product is relevant in Eastern Europe, it may be worth setting up an account with VK. In Germany, for instance, they have XING - a social network for business professionals (similar to LinkedIn). Here is our official XING account -- consider creating one too if you are targeting the German market:
What is next?
To help our regional social media managers in running global campaigns, our team designed a number of handy tools. Our staff uses these tools to manage and coordinate their campaign activities, schedule and post content across major social networks, and monitor their progress.
For this article, I have put them all together in one workflow and suggest you give it a try.
Step 2: Manage Your Campaign Activities
Planning a global social media campaign is a labor-intensive and time-consuming job. You have got to write your message, translate it into other languages, validate the translation, get the pictures and videos ready, schedule your content, track its performance and so on. You will probably have several people working on one campaign, and without a marketing calendar, you will struggle to coordinate all these activities.
SEMrush’s Marketing Calendar will help you solve this problem: the tool will take the guesswork out of who is doing what and where they are at with the assigned tasks.
Start by creating your campaign, writing a description and attaching your files. In the ‘Description’ field, you can add your goals, budget, target audience, and other important information about the campaign. Share your calendar with all the stakeholders, who will then be able to comment and add their files too.
Next, add your campaign activities. Within each activity, you can:
Create and assign tasks to your team members and set deadlines.
Build a checklist of steps for each activity.
Add all the materials you need to perform the activity.
Track the progress of the assigned tasks.
As you create more activities in your calendar, it may be helpful to use filters to view all the activities associated with your campaign and the team members responsible for them.
Step 3: Schedule & Post
Ideally, you will want to have a separate social media account for each region you are targeting in their local language. Running all those accounts at once will be tough, so we suggest you add them all to SEMrush’s Social Media Poster and manage them from one place.
Start by setting up a project with the Social Media Poster and connecting all of your regional social media accounts that you want to post to.
Figure Out the Best Time for Posting
To create the most effective posting schedule for each country you are targeting, you must take into account the best time to post in that particular region. The quickest way to figure this out is with our new feature that shows you the best posting times on Facebook, depending on when your audience is most active.
Should you wish to dig a little deeper into this, you can analyze your competitors’ social media activity (posting times and frequency), see what works best for them and borrow their best practices. This article dedicated to SEMrush’s Social Media Tracker will guide you step-by-step on how to do this. After that, you will have more clarity as to how often, how much content, and what type of content you should be posting to stay ahead of your competition.
Next, go to the tool’s settings and create a posting schedule. This will make your posts go live at preset times (which may vary depending on whether it is a weekend or a weekday).
Obviously, if your audience spans across different time zones and locations, you should always keep in mind their local time when organizing your posting schedule. In SEMrush’s Social Media Poster you can set your preferred time zone in the tool’s settings:
Schedule Your Content
To schedule your first post, click on any time slot in the calendar and complete the following wizard with information about your post. If you enter the post’s URL, the tool will automatically pull pictures from it.
The tool is great in that it provides you with four different options for scheduling your content:
You can add your post to the queue, in which case it will be scheduled for the next available time slot per your schedule settings.
You can schedule the same post for multiple dates/times (especially those that perform well).
You can choose ‘Post now’ for your article to go live within the next few seconds.
You can also save posts as drafts to edit and publish them later.
Diversify Your Content Feed
You should always remember to add external content to your feed (not written by you) to keep your audience entertained. This will, of course, depend on the community you are targeting: the more diverse the community, the more external content you should include in your publications.
So, a good idea would be to find reputable media sources in your target region (otherwise, how would you know what people are up to in Germany?!) To identify these, use the Brand Monitoring tool. Here is what you do:
Set up a campaign with your target keyword. (Say you are launching a new product that does natural language processing, your keyword should be ‘natural language processing’)
Set your target country (the tool will help you find media sources in that country).
The tool will suggest a comprehensive list of mentions, which you should filter by the type of source (news, blogs or the entire Web) and the source’s authority score (or ‘BM score’ - set it to the minimum of 50):
And bingo - you now have a list of the most popular and trustworthy news sources that speak about your topic in your target country!
Next thing, add these sources to your content feed - this can be done with the help of ‘Content ideas’ in the Social Media Poster:
Step 4: Analyze Your Performance
While your content is on its way to conquering the social marketing space, you should begin by evaluating your progress to see what is generating the greatest impact and response. This can be done with the Social Media Tracker, and the earlier you start tracking, the better insights you will get.
Your Content Performance
First, find out which posts resonated best with your audience and caused spikes in engagement. You can either check your performance across different social media platforms you use or in a particular social network:
You can reschedule your most successful posts in the Social Media Poster. Be sure to look at the ones that aren’t doing so well and try to understand what may be wrong with them.
Your Performance vs. Your Competitors’
How will you know whether you are doing well in a particular region, other than comparing your content to your local competitors? To view your rival brands’ most engaging posts, add their domains to your project in the Social Media Tracker. Discover which companies take the lead in providing the most effective content and know who to look up to.
Whether it is a positive tweet or an angry comment, you should always track any important discussions around your business and your product. Discover your users and their mentions of your brand through the ‘Mentioners’ and ‘Mentions’ reports in the Social Media Tracker.
If you don’t know who you are marketing to, targeting your local audience can be extremely difficult. That is why social listening is incredibly important. Be sure to monitor your users’ conversations to better understand the impact your campaign has had on your target audience. Use this information to improve your strategy and get fresh ideas for your next social media campaign.
More detailed information on how to perform a social media analysis can be obtained in our in-depth guide.
A Checklist for Your Global Social Media Campaign
When planning your next global social media campaign, be sure to follow these key steps:
Follow these easy steps and let me know what you think about the suggested workflow and the tools in the comments below!