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Managing Global Brand Communications on Social Media

Managing a global social media is an increasingly relevant challenge for both emerging and established global brands, especially in lifestyle, tech and travel tourism. While it’s easier to have a global brand social media presence today than ever before, managing international brands in social media have some distinct considerations. Like ballet, managing global brand social media is a dance requiring discipline, practice and an appreciation for the art.

There are numerous ways to structure global brand social media output. Whether the brand has local agency representation or utilizes expats as part of the brand communication process, there is always room for pause. There’s always a need to have multiple sets of eyes bringing multiple perspectives. That said, there are several key elements in which our team as assisted both emerging and established global brands in social and PR, so we’ve learned a few things along the way.

Key Messaging Designed for Global Social Media

Global brands need incredibly simple key messaging that can be overlayed with local flavor and sub-brand perspective without losing the essence of the brand promise.  You probably know simple key messaging is the hardest to attain. But global brands like Disney (“Creating Happiness,” “Magical Moments”), Suburu (Love, it’s what makes a Suburu) and even Toyota’s new mobility campaign (“Movement, better for everyone”), and Marriott’ (“Quiet luxury. Crafted experiences. Intuitive service.”) are all broad enough and inspired enough to have global perspectives.

The trick to this key messaging is ensuring decisions and global social media output are made consistent with this key messaging. For example, in Disney’s case, how does one bring magic to social media community management? How does Marriott underscore intuitive service in social? These are very real considerations for brand managers and it’s our job to stay on top of the very best in practices and technology to make recommendations consistent with these brands. It’s also our job to put every single piece of social content, comments, and community through a structured process that ensures the brand’s representation around the world creates the same emotional connection. Whether we’re offering oversight or implementing the global social media, our perspective is to review everything through the brand promise lens.

Quality Over Quantity

In the fast-paced world of global brand social media, it’s easy to get caught up with metrics about quantity. But our perspective is generally that well-considered content is more effective. So rather than posting 7X per week, why not make 4 spectacular posts?

Another part of this perspective is the emphasis on quality content. Creating quality content takes time and effort. There are best practices that can help save time, but it’s better to create quality content with a very clear vision of how it will be used in social media than to use sub-par uninspired content. Think about ways you can incorporate the global social media presence into your content rather than the other way around.

Social Platforms in Global Markets and KPIs

While platforms like Facebook and Twitter are near ubiquitous globally, who uses them and how has nuance around the globe.  There are also platforms like Weibo and WeChat that are used far less frequently in the US than abroad and content planning and KPIs must acknowledge those distinctions for global social media.

Social Advertising That Follows A Journey

The customer journey is always the same, awareness, consideration and purchase. For lifestyle and tourism brands, this can be a very long process. But a clear line of the social experience and how to maximize it for the user helps brands create global social media advertising that stands out. Our global social media ad campaigns take that journey in mind, along with the strategies of the brand and the desired outcomes. Customer journeys and perspectives vary in different parts of the world, taking into account the cultural perceptions of a brand is something not all social media marketers take the time to do, but our perspective is if we can add something to the advertising experience and make the brand manager’s job easier, we’ll do it.

Whose Laws Apply Where?

For our global clients, it isn’t our job to answer this question (the legal team does that), it’s our job to ASK the question. This is particularly important with respect to copyrights on content, especially User Generated Content (UGC), FCC disclosure, and privacy laws.  Having a handle on the basic concepts of these laws saves time and heartache down the line.

An Eye On Tomorrow, Today

Social media is even more fickle than consumers. Algorithms change, UX changes, all these things can impact the planned content, placement and format for platforms. Not to mention, keeping an eye on upcoming global macro and digital trends. For example, China is moving to a cashless society, mobile phones (and social platforms like WeChat) are fueling that cultural change. Watch for Western platforms to really start to push paying through their platforms. Facebook introduced this in the US years ago, to very little fanfare, but I expect in the next 2 years, their experiment will inform some other type of integrated in-platform payment (already started with non-profit giving), planning starts now for those kinds of sea changes. If the brand has customers in China, NOW is the time.

Cultural Sensitivity + Crisis Management 

Most social media providers don’t consider global politics part of their day-to-day jobs and that’s a shame because global social media requires interest, understanding, and attention to the news and global issues. It’s especially important for travel/tourism, tech, and lifestyle brands because it can change so much, so fast. Understanding these day-to-day implications and the impact of the brand’s social presence, matters. We have a clear process for global and in-market decisions as they relate to global social media posting. It’s incredibly simple and designed to work with each brand’s larger crisis communication plan.

Then, of course, is the management of in-market teams (and cultural considerations of that) and finding ways (tools, processes) to consolidate efforts, ideas, and expenses for the global social media team. Then there’s the day-to-day communication and work styles of the global team, including and especially, deadlines.

Flexibility and Creativity

All these structures in place actually empower a global brand in social. While it takes time to manage a brand on a day-to-day basis, for those brands who take the time, the results speak for themselves.

If you have questions about this post or global social media, please do send us an email or comment below.