Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Non-US Social Media Platforms

Posted on January 21st 2014

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Non-US Social Media Platforms

Most large companies today operate globally with operations and employees in multiple continents. To be effective globally they need to present on regional social media networks as many countries still have a higher user penetration on these platforms than on mainstream western social media networks. However, their social media presence is often misaligned and restricted due to a lack of universal management tools as most social media management platforms only support mainstream western social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

weibo iconAlthough Weibo (China) is one of the most used social media platforms in the world with 281 million users, it is largely ignored by providers of social media tools (with the exception of HootSuite, which recently added Weibo support). As LinkedIn is the only western social media allowed in China, the importance of using local networks in this market is even greater. Other examples include VK (Russian speaking countries) as well as Xing (German speaking countries). If you want to reach a global audience, you need to go where the users are – not expect them to come to you. Just take a look at the user numbers of some regional social networks:

Most global corporations do have a strategy and local presence on these networks but lack the ability to coordinate that presence with other social media. The result is that communications in these networks are not aligned with and disconnected from the global brand.

With a global workforce present on multiple social media platforms, it is important to also provide employees with guidance and tools for effective utilization of these networks. Some forward-thinking companies are already providing employees with tools to encourage the use of personal social media networks for business benefit, but lacking support for non-US networks, which is foolish considering what amazing resource employees are in terms of understanding the prevalent culture and consumers.

Global companies need tools that can provide them with global reach. Unfortunately, most social media tools providers are small companies with operations only in one region, which limits their understanding of the global challenges large organizations face in all sorts of communications. Reluctance to look beyond their own market will likely hurt their capability of understanding their clients’ needs and cater to them.

There are still huge untapped opportunities for companies to increase their social media reach by incorporating regional social networks while keeping publishing and content distribution time and cost efficient for their social media managers. It is time companies providing tools for social media managers start embracing these networks or risk falling behind as they are not able to tap into local markets. After all, not everyone is on Facebook!

Roope Heinilä

Roope Heinilä

CEO, Smarp Oy

Roope Heinilä is a co-founder and CEO of Smarp which is a provider of Employee Advocacy Software-as-a-Service platform SmarpShare. Smarp's core business is helping businesses harness the combined power of their employees on social media allow our client organizations to leverage collective power of their employees and their networks for functions such as communications, sales, recruitment and employer branding.

See Full Profile >

Comments

hailley
Posted on January 21st 2014 at 11:49AM

This is a very good point! Although it might be a little bit too much of a hassle for smaller brands, for large international brands they should absolutely be targetting more than just the US based social networks. Thanks for the list of popular platforms, this was great information! 

Roope Heinilä
Posted on January 22nd 2014 at 2:15AM

Thanks for the comment Hailley! I agree that it is not for worth the time/effort for smaller brands but I have actually been asked by multiple western companies (mostly ones with 10 000+ employees) who operate in these markets about support for alternitive platforms. It seems these non-english markets possess a added challenge for them in communications and the inability to use the same tools that the use in other markets adds to these challenges.

Andrew Stivelman
Posted on January 23rd 2014 at 3:36PM

This is so true, and very timely for me in particular, as I posted a blog article about how companies should use social media other than the 'big 3' throughout the world to reach potential new customers (and existing ones as well).  I'd love to know what you think about my article: http://blog.eloqua.com/social-media-networks-by-followers/