All international companies eventually come across one question: should I localize efforts or have a global strategy? Many of these companies opt for having a different social media account for each of the major countries or regions in which they are present, each with its own local news or promotions. Others choose to have a global account with general information. The first step in deciding which path to take and how to create the proper mix is to define your company’s goals. Both scenarios offer different benefits for organizations; a localized approach can provide a deeper relationship with customers as you understand their specific needs, while a general approach shows brand unity and consistency, elevating trust in consumer minds.
Not only are sales affected, but engagement too. Usually regional or local accounts have a smaller number of followers, yet the community has higher levels of engagement. Global accounts are easier to find by people than regional ones and carry a lot more subscribers. True, given the vast amount of followers, there will always be conversations happening and the account will look very active, however, proportionately they usually don’t have as much engagement as local ones and conversations focus on very generic topics, sometimes even unrelated to the brand. So should the company build on a smaller community with a higher engagement or go for the big numbers? We have analyzed different products and services from a variety of industries to gain some insights on the subject.
Greenpeace International has an eValue score of 49 on its Facebook page, while eight of its regional pages have an average score of 85. At a first glance the decision seems clear: let’s close the global one and open a couple regionals instead. Well, the Greenpeace International page has 1.1million subscribers, while the Greenpeace Deutschland page (with an eValue score of 95) has little over 60 thousand; not such a simple choice now. Without a doubt the final decision should be based on the company’s specific goals. A higher number of fans or followers will certainly boost awareness scores, and that is always the place to start, but what will you do once they’re aware of your existence?
Greenpeace proved local accounts drive more engagement. Now let’s take an example from the auto industry, which is extremely active on social media: Honda. Out of 19 regional Facebook accounts studied, the lowest eValue score registered is 51 for Honda Turkey. The generic Honda page has a very low eValue score of only 9, still consistent with our theory of local accounts being more efficient engagementwise. Why is this happening? First we have to keep in mind that having both regional and global pages actually creates competition for yourself, especially when having that many different ones. A lot of people won’t follow your brand on 5 different places, and more importantly, they won’t comment 5 times. They’ll choose the one that is closest to their interests and focus their attention on it. It’s general reasoning that if you follow the same brand at different places, you’ll get similar posts from it and you don’t want to clog your timeline with repeated content. Sadly this came to be after a lot of brands actually practiced, and still do, this huge mistake. Having regional accounts might backfire on your global account and steal fans and interaction from it. If your company has both types of pages make sure there’s a very notorious distinction between their content.
Regional accounts might seem to be a better investment since they result in higher engagement, but it’s not always the case. Brands need to consider which regions actually have a market interested in their products. Take Nike Football for example, their India Facebook page only scores an 18 on eValue. This proves either poor community management or a lack of regional interest. On the other hand, Nike Football Turkey or Israel both have scores above the 80’s. People from India who are actually interested in the subject and are looking for a more engaging community are most probably not going to look into Turkey’s page though, and here’s also where the global page comes into action: to provide a space for those who don’t fit into a region or look for more than what their regional page offers.
In summary, both regional and global accounts serve their unique purpose and a perfect scenario involves a balance between them. The crucial point for deciding on how much effort to put towards each path, is to review your company’s goals and current situation. Regional accounts will help deepen consumer relationships and therefore increase brand loyalty. Global accounts will boost brand awareness, and have a wider reach, providing a space for consumers who don’t fit in regional divisions.