We have been helping many SMEs with their social media strategy, aiming to boost their cross-border e-commerce sales. The problems we encountered are so common, despite of the country and sector differences, that we decided to list here the key tips based on our experience.
#1 Don’t stay behind. Lead your social media, internationally!
Social media have become a primary information source for approx. 60% buyers searching for products and services online, all over the world (according to Business Insider, 2018).
However, social media are beyond Small and Medium Enterprises’ full control. The result is that user-generated contents get more visible than the brand’s own contents during the buyer’s decision process. And that happens anywhere.
If you don’t take full control of your company’s international social media, you’ll have to spend more money to be competitive and remain visible to prospective clients in your export markets.
After a long research, have you started exporting?
Don’t be left behind by your competitors in spreading your offer out in the new markets.
Social media are among the fastest and most powerful ways to raise sales and brand awareness anywhere in the world.
#2 Grow local if you want to grow global.
International success requires global scaling by being local in many countries at the same time. That is the concept of “glocalization”.
Why social media are important for a cross-border e-commerce? This is because they allow it to:
- – Make 20-40% additional sales (according to Bain & Company, 2018),
- – Interact with larger audiences in different countries and globally,
- – Increase brand awareness, nationally and overseas,
- – Build relationships with foreign customers, KOL and influencers,
- – Differentiate from international and local competitors.
To each country, its own social networks!
For international popularity, you must know and adapt to the specifics of each market.
Context is king and content must fall in what your local customers want in each country. This is what wins in the long haul.
#3 Social networks: the hottest media.
Social networks have been the hottest marketing channels for more than a decade. Why? Because:
- – They’re (almost) free,
- – They’re the most cost-effective marketing tools to help SMEs grow sales,
- – They’re used globally, by more than 3,4 billion people, +65% in 5 years,
- – They’re multipurpose, on either one-to-many or one-to-one basis,
- – They’re trackable and instantly measurable.
Don’t miss these advantages. Your competitors, local and international, are not!
Social networks are the marketing tools SMEs use most, locally and internationally.
With thousands of social networks in the world, make sure you’re on the right ones in the right way.
Be where your clients want you to be.
#4 International social media: steer clear of clichés!
Many SMEs get it wrong when it comes to developing a sound international social media strategy. The most common mistakes are thinking that:
- – English is enough for international social media,
- – First the domestic market, then the rest,
- – We must join as many social networks as possible,
- – We must have a specific page per each country,
- – No need for additional resources to manage international social networks,
- – Our clients don’t use social networks …
Avoid that; use the same approach you did for the social media in your country.
The goal isn’t to be good at social networking.
The goal is to achieve better business results on the national and international scale.
Thanks to social networks.
#5 Start your international social media strategy on the right foot.
As for any other strategies, some preliminaries need to be checked: where, why, what, when, how, how much!
For an international social media strategy, make sure to:
- – Prioritize the countries to focus on,
- – Set your goals and keywords for each country,
- – Check on your digital assets; brand, logo, domains, colors, pictures, etc.,
- – Understand your foreign customers; which social networks do they use? in which language? for which purpose? when? …
- – Benchmark your competitors and find your differentiation drivers,
- – Decide your budget for organic and paid acquisition campaigns in each country.
There are questions to answer in order to prepare the ground of an effective international social media strategy. You will need to audit your:
- – Organization
- – Global brand identity & strength
- – Business model & plan
- – Sector & competitors
- – Direct & indirect resources
- – Working capital
#6 Execute your international social media strategy using effective local plans.
After having found the answers, you can start executing your international social media strategy in each foreign market.
For that, we recommend you to:
- – Be able to set up and manage a company page/account/channel on the selected foreign networks,
- – Understand how to create, localize and publish content on each foreign network,
- – Define, localize and manage the content in the style your target audience want,
- – Optimize the interactions between your national and international social media,
- – Link your websites to your international social networks,
- – Keep your international social media activity as frequent as needed,
- – Measure, adjust and compare your social networks results in all markets.
What’s the secret of an effective social media strategy to grow exports?
It’s the understanding of how people use social networks in each country.
No need for secret weapons. Simply common sense!
#7 Boost the social media effects with inbound and content marketing.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, but also TikTok, WeChat, Weibo, Youku, QQ, etc. They all require specific content format, yet they serve the same purpose; reach people and sell more!
Their sales power can be improved by Inbound Marketing, which is using key content to attract the right people, at the right time, in the right place, for the right action. International inbound marketing can create more opportunities for your exports by:
- – Adapting content or creating new content for each foreign country,
- – Deciding the keywords to use, where, how and how often,
- – Translating all contents in the local language, or languages, for each country,
- – Developing content about topics that are relevant to your target export markets,
- – Creating interactions among channels by posting and reposting optimized contents.
Monitor international social networks consistently. This will keep you up to date on specific local topics.
And providing local up-to-date content is the core of any effective international inbound marketing strategy.
#8 Keep up with online trends globally.
The dynamism of social networks differs according to country, which means there is a constant need to track every change that takes place on these social networks.
Staying connected and current can be achieved by:
- – Following social network statistics and market analysis,
- – Comparing and contrasting your country’s market potential and that of your target country by monitoring social media activity,
- – Creating foreign social network accounts and synchronising them, to receive possible alerts when updates and new trends are available.
Avoid getting “lost in Google translation”:
- Hire someone fluent in the target language or use skilled translation services,
- Get familiar with various countries’ cultural net-speak.
When it comes to managing international social media, matching the local culture is key!
CONCLUSIONS: The social media checklist for your cross-border e-commerce
As you can see, a good social media strategy for cross-border e-commerce requires a well-rounded approach that ties in a lot of factors.
What follows is the checklist that we recommend most to our clients:
- Research your export markets; local social networks, customer online behaviour, competitors’ social media activity/strategy, etc.
- Set your goals and design the social media strategy for each one of your target oversea markets,
- Evaluate the internal and external resources you need for your international social media strategy and validate the budget to allocate to it,
- Set one social media plan per each country,
- Use international social media experts to pick up the pace,
- Do a social-media trial in one foreign market before international deployment to test your strategy and to avoid investment failure,
- Regularly measure the results, compare them and take corrections if needed.
Do you want to know more about international social media? Or would you like ToWebOrNotToWeb to run a workshop about it on site at your company? Contact us now or browse our website to see all our services.