Digital marketing has overtaken conventional means of marketing due to the digitization of almost all types of business. With the availability of cheap internet and smart devices, the authenticity of any brand is checked by the consumers online before making any significant purchases. Besides, the global pandemic has restricted the access of many entities leading to the users turning to online purchases more frequently. Moreover, with large-scale work from home and selective bans on mass entertainment outlets, people seem to have more time on their hands. So naturally, their time is spent mostly on social media sites. So as a business owner, the best place to target your audience is now online and particularly on social media websites. So now that we have established the importance of social media in the retail business. When looking to expand your business internationally on social media, what should you do first?
With new websites popping up every second, let us define our understanding of social media. Social media primarily refers to those websites which enable individuals to exchange, create, share content and also their opinions about the content, to collectively participate in social networking and interactions with their friends, family and even strangers. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn & Snapchat are a few of the world-famous social media sites. With billions of users online, Social media has become the best and sure-shot medium to reach your customers in order to grow your business. Regardless of whether it is your new start-up, franchisee business or even family business, digital marketing via social media has become inevitable. After a certain point of growth, the international venture becomes a requirement for businesses to increase their customer base. So what should you do first when expanding business internationally?
Analyze the locally popular social media platforms of your target country
Just like any new venture, a detailed analysis of the target market is of paramount importance to gain an entry that guarantees success. Understanding the choice of the people of that country or region can help to modify your marketing strategy to align with their interests. For example, a wide scale promotion of a new brand with internationally recognized baseball players may not be as successful in India as done with our Indian cricketers or Athletes.
Knowing the pulse of the audience is extremely crucial. Similarly, the local interests in social media are also defined in each country and analyzing them with the help of experienced market strategists should definitely be your first step to international exposure. Find out the most used social media in that particular region and invest more in promotions via that particular medium. Some countries see a higher share of their users spending time on Facebook, while others may be hooked on Youtube.
The price of advertising may also vary according to this factor, but the end result will always outweigh the initial costs. For example, Facebook is the most popular social media site in the US, Australia and India. Whereas Youtube holds the number one position in the UK. Spain citizens like WhatsApp the most. It is an entirely different story in China, where WeChat is the social media which is also the official communication channel that is most popular. In fact, WhatsApp & its parent company Facebook is banned in China altogether.
Once you have analyzed and established the most used social media in that country, you can consider the following steps to take your business forward:
Select the most popular social media platform
Once a detailed analysis based on market study and competitor analysis, the next viable thing to do is to select the highest ranking social media platform in that country to proliferate your reach to the maximum number of people. There must be a reason why a particular social media is more famous than the next. Take advantage of the higher exposure among the target audience and invest more in that particular platform, but also maintain sufficient investment in the second-best ones.
The target audience must realise that your business is available to them whenever and wherever they are present. It is a key factor to win their trust and increase brand awareness and ultimately brand loyalty. It will also help in generating more leads and an overall influx of traffic.
Realise the likes and dislikes of the audience
It may seem like a lot of time is spent preparing for the launch, but when new territory is involved, taking chances blindly may not be a wise thing to do. Regardless of your product, searching thoroughly and realizing what people like the most in that region will always give you a competitive edge and in the worst-case scenario, a backup plan. Similarly, a thorough analysis needs to be done on what didn’t work in that region and learn from their failures. You need not make those mistakes to gain those learnings. Collect more information on popular products similar to yours and contemplate how you can launch your product more attractively to the market in order to promote your brand and gain potential customers.
Design careful strategies to localize your product
Develop effective strategies to localize your products, content, or services in that nation. Including local cultural references and values in your business will attract customers because it makes it easier for them to relate quicker. If possible, find common grounds between the country of origin and the foreign country to instantly gain entry and acceptability. Of course, it can backfire quickly too, if the research and analysis are half cooked. You don’t want to pull any sensitive strings to invoke mass emotions of outrage because your analyst did a poor job.
Gradually Increase interaction
Finally, build your new community by gradually increasing the interaction with your foreign customers. Honest and prompt communication is critical here. Gain their trust and beliefs by communicating and interacting more with your foreign customer. Gaining and using their valuable feedback gets the people invested in those businesses. Imposing your brand will not provide them with a feeling of security and togetherness. Once you win their trust and confidence, then increasing the promotions and aggressive market proliferation will yield results. Of course, it goes without saying that the products, customer service and online reputation management need to be top class if you need to beat the already established competitors.
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