Social Media has provided a worldwide phenomenon, otherwise not attainable: the opportunity to connect with people on a global scale and effectively communicate a brand’s message across cultural boundaries. Social means open and public though – and businesses have reputations to withstand. While there is endless opportunity, there is a lot of risk associated with corporate Social Media in terms of customer engagement, company policies and crisis management.
It’s common practice to “fill in the blanks” when you have an incomplete understanding of a subject, but when dealing with cultural issues, a lack of understanding can be disastrous. Avoid relying on stereotypes when developing your campaign. Instead, base your understanding of cultural matters on consumer research, focus groups, and your internal marketing resources.
Research, Research, Research.
The key to starting out your cross-cultural social media campaign is Research. If you don’t have a strategic process planned out, you’re bound to fail. Social Media does have the power to make or break a business, or at least create sufficient damage, when used improperly. Always holding onto the knowledge that a company’s message is public is vital. Careful research of your audience is required, in addition to creating the specific message that needs to be conveyed. Depending on the level of diversity a company is trying to reach, cross-cultural research could be a massive assignment. Also, testing the theories using small test groups throughout the research process can be a lot more beneficial than creating errors publicly.
Jessica Faye Carter wrote:
“Cultural relevancy goes beyond language,” noted Sorrosa. “To be effective in reaching your target, you need to first understand who you are trying to reach, their wants and needs, their social environment, and their consumption patterns. Understanding the cultural landscape will allow you to better define what your brand or product needs to look like to appeal to your target.”
Where to start? With a plethora of information available (since, hello, it’s the World Wide Web), it’s almost overwhelming to begin the process. Whether a company has had experience in global marketing in the past or is just beginning, times are changing, constantly. Research and examination of strategies should be a constant effort. For this reason and others, companies have started hiring Community Managers to tend to their Social Media accounts.
The Solution? Educated Community Managers
It’s no secret anymore that involvement in Social Media is essential to the success of a business, but there is no rule book about how to use it properly in a corporate setting and there is a lot of ambiguity associated with it. There are three simple factors to consider when managing a company’s Social Media: Consistency, Transparency and the Ability to share Knowledge – which helps to build trust, therefore adding value to a company. It is imperative for a Corporate Community Manager to have a deep understanding of a company’s policies combined with the knowledge of effective communication through Social Media, and this can only take place after Community Managers have gone through the proper training.