Seven important points for harmonious European relations

Hello Social Media 2016. Finally, the B2B marketing world has cottoned on to the power of LinkedIn and the world of social media in general. (Clue: it’s not all about ‘amplifying messages’.) At last, the lead-generation lightbulbs around social selling have switched on and budget is being released to ‘do social media properly’ in the UK and in the (M)EMEA(R ) region.

It’s actually therefore a great time to get serious with social as we learn from the lessons of those early adopters. Brands now looking to engage in the UK and across Europe can avoid a few pitfalls by thinking through some of our top considerations for building a strategy.

Here are seven tips for international social success that we give the [Facebook] thumbs up to:

Understand what your audience expects. This is a somewhat general, but nonetheless hugely important consideration. You need to get under the skin of the business environment in each individual country and get to know the right language and tone, transparency and frequency that business professionals in each market expect. Checking the national news channels for cues and keeping abreast of what's going on are all simple but effective.

Read the case study for how Equinix engaged the C-suite in our ‘Best Social Media’ award shortlisted campaign.

Centralise AND localise your content. Success across multiple markets is a matter of coordination, particularly when it comes to content. We recommend creating a policy or content guidelines that inform local teams what treatment they should give to certain ‘classifications’ of content – for instance, press releases could be mandatory for social sharing in every market, C-level bloggers could be recommended for local sharing and other campaign level content could be optional according to market suitability. Clear and simple rules can save time and avoid mistakes.

Local language or English only? The best approach here often comes down to strategy and available resource. It’s always possible to rationalize the logic for building a country specific social community in local language, but it takes commitment, on the ground dedication and it needs to scale up and out if your business expands. Clearly there are pros and cons to either strategy here, but if you’re unsure, we’d suggest testing the water with local landing pages, local paid social executions and learning whether translated content has a big impact (or not) on your social performance. It's also important perhaps to understand what the competition is doing and how they tackle the issue.

Get context into your content. If you operate a centralised model, partnering with guest bloggers in each market is a fast track way to accelerate your relevance and your reach. Getting a strong handle on curated content for each market is also a good way to engage international audiences quickly and effectively.

Know the key influencers in each market. Quick wins for audience acquisition can be achieved by cosying up with influencers, analysts and journalists in each market. Always check out the competition and get to know who they know – it’s all fair game in social media as individuals choose who to connect with, you’re only extending an invitation!

Speak the language? This is a question point that requires a lot of thought. If you have presence in local countries you could consider using a colleague for translation and local posts, but our advice is to always have a local / born there with mother tongue team if you’re intending to operate local language channels.

Define an international process for posting content. Believe it or not, there are timezone difference of up to 7 hours in the European region – just a reminder to think this through when scheduling certain posts and content through a single of local feeds. Like the majority of the above points, this is worth a mention as it’s necessary to consider timezone factors in the planning phase, and not at the point of scheduling! make sure therefore that its a prerequisite for posting content, and not just an afterthought.

Hopefully these seven starters will get you on the road to an integrated and long-standing love affair with European socialites. There’s a bit more to it of course, but that’s what we’re here for. Get in touch or subscribe to our blog for more from the First Base thought machine.

Social media, big data, Blog, brexit, content, content marketing strategy, data-driven, europe

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