How to get international social media right

International social media
Unlike beer, social media is not
always international
If your company deals with international clients and would like to improve its communications, then social media is one of your best and cheapest bets. Open and creative, social outlets differ greatly from one country to the other. Etiquette is an important thing to bear in mind when embarking on this type of communications campaign. 

The first thing to look at is the way different outlets are perceived by the locals. For instance, did you know Twitter is really big in Brazil? In fact, it is so big that Brazilians are in the top five most prolific Twitter using countries.

If you’re talking Facebook, the countries that are showing most interest in this platform are Turkey, Venezuela, Tunisia, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

But if professional networks are your cup of tea, then the Dutch, the Indians, the Brits, the Singaporeans and the Americans are amongst the most avid users. If you’re targeting Germany and Austria for instance, you could opt for Xing, rather than LinkedIn.

And just when you thought Google is at its apex for word domination (at least from what we've seen here in the UK), it transpires that abroad the most fervent Google+ users come from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Nepal, Finland and Honduras.

So the moral of the story is to make sure that you do you research and look up those stats before creating a full blown strategy.

But what about language barriers I hear you cry? When it comes to making an impact in the target region, Tweeting in the local language will set you apart. However, as recent international events have demonstrated, it is not a prerequisite if you want to make your message heard in the simplest manner.

As the tragic events were unfolding in Ukraine, any keen Twitter user following the revolution will have drawn a couple of sound conclusions.

Ukrainian is a Slavic language, similar to Russian, with a Cyrillic written alphabet, different from the Latin one used by most European languages, including English. That means that on social media many of the communication occurred in Ukrainian, which reduces the number of non-native speaker interactions.

Even so, in order to make their voices heard, dissidents communicated in both Ukrainian and English. When time was of the essence, a hybrid Ukrainian language written with approximate Latin characters also crept up from time to time.

This shows that with regard to international social media, the old adage 'anything is better than nothing' applies. Some degree of communication, even if it’s only in English, is far better than no updates at all.

If you have the time and language expertise in house, you could consider posts in multiple languages. The benefit in having bilingual communication on social media is to create an expectation that interactions can be carried out in both languages.

From a logistics perspective, if your Latvian speaking member of staff is out for the day and somebody sends a message in Latvian, they will not be put off by someone else picking up the task and responding in English.

Here at Stone Junction we have bags of experience with international communications. Our team is fluent in French, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Romanian. So give us a call to see how we could mastermind an international digital and social media campaign for your technical business.

Image courtesy of Danilin on freedigitalphotos.net

Charlie Stroe

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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