Growing Beyond the Border: How to Utilize Social Media to Reach a Global Market Whether your business offer microfiber towels, handmade lotions or throw pillows, chances are that there is a market for your product anywhere in the world, and that means there will always be room to grow and expand beyond your demographic and into new territories. While it’s perfectly natural to feel a bit nervous about growing beyond your means, or how to collaborate with a completely different culture– at the end of the day, a great product speaks for itself, regardless of where it’s being sold. But before that, there’s the obstacle of determining how you’ll speak for that product in the first place.
Social Media & The Global Economy
You’re likely already familiar with the importance of social media, and by already having an established online presence, it will be that much easier to reach a global audience. Not every social platform will be ideal for the growth of your business, however. In the beginning, it’s recommended to stick with the major players: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Image and video-based platforms are great to use as well, particularly for brands who are innovative and have a creative eye. Social media is probably be the most cost-effective form of online advertising for 2014, especially for businesses that are planning to reach out on a global level.
Use Twitter for Real-Time Marketing
By being able to see real-time “tweets” from anyone in the world, brands using Twitter can develop an effective real-time marketing strategy to reach the global marketplace. Increasing the number of followers to a page will be the foundation of your Twitter marketing efforts, and the platform offers several built-in tools and features to help you reach that following:
● Search for relevant keywords and utilize hashtags that are related to your industry or
niche and find out what is being said on a global level
● Research your competitors to see what is being said about them
● Utilize Trending Topics to join in on the world’s most popular conversations
Finding relevant Twitter followers and staying on top of what is being said about your industry is vital to developing a community, promoting content, and driving traffic.
Use Global Pages on Facebook
While Facebook Global Pages initially launched in 2012, it was not immediately adopted by brands. Many will agree that this function was introduced a little too early, and though the global conversation just started to gain traction, it’s something that should definitely be considered if you’re growing your business. With the ability to optimize multiple country pages, as well as maintain its current geo-targeting model for countries, it makes sense for any global brand to at least consider the benefits of Global Pages:
● Communicate with fans on a global level
● Increase awareness in key markets
● Engage with more relevant conversations with fans
● Improved country-specific metrics
Having a social media marketing strategy for key country pages can be enormously beneficial for a global brand. By combining promoted posts with like-based ads, your brand can build its fan base and increase engagement on a worldwide level. Be sure to treat each page as its own valuable community, and monitor the amount of time and resources you spend to produce content in each region you’re targeting.
Build Your Community on Google Plus
While there are plenty of car companies, news outlets, universities, and nonprofits dominating the top business pages of Google Plus, there are also a growing number of B2B companies that are embracing the platform as well. While it didn’t quite start out at the top of social media, Google Plus is one of the only platforms that was intended to cater to professional users.
For the global brand, Google Plus can serve as the ideal network to connect with the rest of the world on a more professional level. It also serves as an exceptional outlet for creating and sharing content to earn higher rankings in Google search.
Support Over Multiple Channels of Communication
Let’s say your overseas launch is all ready to go. You’ve figured out how to handle all the payments, the distribution and marketing. What about people who want to place orders offline? What if people have trouble using or understanding your product?As part of your customer support strategy, you should try to make getting in touch as convenient for global customers as it is for local users. Having a timely email response team can make a large difference for some problems, but sometimes some verbal communication over the phone can be more effective.
A toll-free number for global clients will take away one of the large worries of working with an international vendor. Toll-free phone support assures them that not only are you willing to communicate and assist your customers, but that you don’t expect them to foot a giant international phone bill in case something doesn’t work right. The very availability of toll-free international support suggests that you are making a commitment to your customers, no matter where they live.
If They Don’t Opt-In, Don’t Reach Out
Think about any reservations you have when an overseas company reaches out unsolicited and contacts you with a sales pitch or a business opportunity. Odds are, your first thoughts are of compromised security, spam flags and unscrupulous scammers trying to fool you into becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.
If you’re buying mailing lists or cold calling people overseas, they probably feel the same way about you. As tempting as it may be to go on the aggressive in attracting international business, let them come to you through advertisements or social media.
Exercising caution will help keep you from generating a bad reputation abroad or having too many suspicious flags raised against your communication– a side-effect that could impact even your domestic business. Demonstrate your brand’s value and let international business interact By demonstrating open lines of communication and a willingness to accommodate any customer’s need, you can attract business from anywhere on Earth.
Hilary Smith is an online business and tech journalist who is striving to become an authoritative voice for business communications, online marketing, and globalization. In addition to researching different trends in social media and global marketing, her writing also covers entrepreneurship, eCommerce, and VoIP technology.