At FreshNetworks we work with many clients to develop and implement their European social media strategy – either for US companies who want to translate the work they do in their domestic market for their European brands, or for multinationals who are looking to develop a social media strategy that they can use across their European markets. For many brands who are developing how they are using social media this will be a common need. They want to understand where social media fits internally, how to manage it across their markets and how to measure and evaluate the success you are having. For many multinationals, these decisions might be made across markets. Or at least a series of guidelines and processes need to be defined that are then interpreted in each market.
A common mistake that multinational brands risk making is to build a European approach to social media by taking a tactic that has worked in one country and trying to implement this in other markets. For example, taking a campaign that might have been run on Facebook in Italy and trying to implement similar campaigns across all their European markets. Such approaches – socialising tactics across Europe – tend to be very difficult to make a success. For the simple reason that a tactic that works in Italy may not work in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain or other European countries. In these different markets, different consumers use social media in different ways; and different consumers want different relationships with brands. You cannot just take a tactic that works in one country and apply it across Europe. When you are developing a European social media strategy for a brand you should develop just that – a strategy, not a set of tactics that you hope to use in each market.
The ideal European social media strategy will provide a framework in which each market can operate. Ensuring that all markets are contributing towards the same overall aims, although they may do this in different ways. You should be able to measure and control each market according to the same set of metrics (although individual markets may add their own measures to these). And you should be able explain and understand why each market is doing what they are doing according to a common set of goals and direction.
A successful European social media strategy for a brand is not a set of tactics to implement across all markets. This never brings as much success as a brand might realise. Rather it is a framework and common approach. A strategy that each market can adopt and work within. Developing their own tactics and creative solutions that all contribute towards the same end goals and the same measures. You may find great insight and innovation from sharing these tactics, and you may find that some do translate between certain markets. But your strategy should not be based on these.
Over the coming fortnight we are going to be looking at a set of issues that brands face when developing a European social media strategy – from sharing best practice and the need to produce a common set of measures and reporting, to the challenges of working across languages and how to implement social media monitoring across markets.