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.
Although 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!