April 4th, 2016

Managing a Global Social Media Presence: What’s a Brand to Do?

Candie Harris


Logically, the growth of social media platforms throughout the world should make marketing a global brand easier. The ability to use various networks to communicate both at scale and one-on-one makes them ideal vehicles for building a global brand presence.

However, many social media agencies and marketers today struggle with determining the best global strategy for their brands. Here are some tips, examples, and resources that can help in both crafting and executing a global approach for your social media.

Getting Started

No one will deny that global marketing for most brands is complicated. The conflict between corporate objectives and messaging, combined with the reality of local implementation, is not new.

Using social media on a global scale can potentially magnify those conflicts if the strategy is not thought through properly. Two tips that Vanessa Sain-Dieguez, leader of social media communications for Hilton Worldwide, shared on Carrie Kerpen’s podcast, All the Social Ladies, are to “keep it simple” and to “stay focused.” Don’t expect a global social media presence to be all things to all people, and to solve all your marketing challenges. Pick one or two key objectives and structure all initiatives around those objectives.

Global vs. Local

Once those objectives are determined, a key consideration is whether to implement a local or global approach. In a global strategy the messaging and content is controlled centrally and translated for local markets, while a local strategy is executed by local teams who create content for their individual geographic areas.

This guide from Simply Measured is a great resource that outlines the pros and cons of each strategy, provides key questions to ask, and offers a third strategy called Global-Local. The Global-Local strategy combines the benefits of both types, allowing for corporate control of messaging and initiatives with the ability to adapt appropriately for local markets. One of the advantages of the Global-Local strategy is that it allows brands to roll out their social media initiatives to match their overall objectives, adding local resources as required while keeping a consistent overall brand message.

Know Your Brand

Of course, a critical piece of your global social media approach depends on your individual brand. If you are lucky enough to manage a brand like Coke and have an iconic product, you have limitless opportunities for global messaging. By using its iconic bottle and picking a universal theme, Coke doesn’t need to be concerned with language and cultural considerations. However, a global brand like Nestle, which also has an iconic product, has found that a local social media approach performs better for them.

Global social media marketing continues to evolve, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. Therefore, the best approach is to continue to test and optimize your content. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches. Regardless of which strategy is selected, it is critical to utilize ongoing data and insights from your consumers and markets to ensure your message is resonating and that your business objectives are being met.

What are your global social media challenges and what strategy are you using? 

Tags: Best Practices, Influencer, Influencer Marketing, Strategy

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