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Going global: Managing social media reputation across continents

Good social media managers are the first line of defence for a brand’s reputation. It is on social media that you will first hear about an issue that could affect your reputation (both positive and negative).

You can listen to what your customers really want from you, and change your service or product strategy accordingly. And you can build relationships directly with your customers that help you to market and sell those services and products.

But how do you ensure that first line of defence is consistent across multiple countries, continents, time zones and languages, and still maintain the values, style, quality and tone of the brand?

Making your social media communication meaningful to customers across the globe is no mean feat. It requires people, planning, preparation and processes. It should be a partnership between the brand, its agencies and its social media teams.

Structure

When managing social media on a global scale, brands need to think about the structure of their teams. The central team, or the hub, is the creative and strategic powerhouse. This is the team that sets social media guidelines and establishes the tone of voice that social media managers will use on a daily basis.

The local teams, or the spokes, are responsible for managing social media in their specific regions. They implement the ideas, escalate the issues and localise campaign content.

This structure is imperative when managing a global campaign, because reputation issues don’t just occur on your home turf. It’s vital that the teams communicate constantly so that they can advise each other on potential issues with a campaign across different markets. A campaign might be received well in one country, but cause consternation in another.

Localisation

While themes and campaign ideas might originate from the central team, they should have enough flexibility to be adapted to each local market, by a team that really understands that market. Consider language nuances, cultural references, and regional sensitivities, and how these could affect your campaign. Only a local team – fluent in both language and culture – will be able to localise content to give it real meaning.

Tools

To manage a global social media campaign effectively, you have to have the right tools and processes in place.

Social media management tools are a must,

of course, but you should also invest in performance management and communication tools, help the global team stay on track and know what to do next. Social listening – listening for what people are saying about your brand on social media – lets you understand what’s working well and what isn’t, and importantly means you can spot potential issues before they become major problems.

But the thing I love about social listening is the ability to go the extra mile for a customer – to surprise and delight them by giving them something they’ll really value.

Resources

Resourcing properly can make the difference between success and failure. How many languages do you need? How many people in each language? Covering which timezones? And what happens when something goes wrong? You need to know that you can deal with an issue that crops up at three in the morning, and have someone equipped to escalate it, to avoid a reputation crisis. If someone is posting

a complaint in Spanish, but both of your Spanish speakers are unavailable, who will respond to that issue?

When you’re considering how many people you need on the team, allow for quality checks, and plan for sickness and holidays. The key to running a successful global social media campaign, one that limits the potential for reputational issues, is a solid partnership between the brand, its social media agencies both centrally and locally, and the people that work for them. Communication is critical.

Managing social media successfully on an international or even a global scale takes planning, resource and commitment. You need a resource that matches your global business model which can cope with working across multiple languages, time zones and continents.

Tamara Littleton, CEO, Emoderation

Tel: +44 (0)20 3178 5050

Email: info@emoderation.com

Web: www.emoderation.com

Twitter: @Emoderation

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