Anyone who’s entered a new international market knows how difficult it is to plan such a substantial move.
When penetrating a new market, it is important to:
- Define specific business goals
- Learn cultural nuances
- Build new marketing strategies
- Put thorough risk mitigation systems in place
The smallest mistake in your market penetration endeavor could ruin your company’s reputation and leave you financially burdened (but, no pressure or anything).
Unsurprisingly, it’s common to see companies struggle with social media when designing their marketing plans, as well as dealing with the challenges of entering a new market.
Social media is constantly evolving, so enterprises struggle to fully understand how it works as a marketing tool and how to optimize its multiple functionalities.
Here are a few social media tips for your foreign market entry strategy, along with a few other things to consider when entering a new market:
Only Utilize The Most Relevant Social Media Platforms
Many brands believe that they need to use every social media platform in order to “use social media right”, when in fact, this is a huge mistake.
Instead of creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Musicly and Vine, you should solely identify and focus on the platforms that your target audience engages with.
There are multiple ways that you can discover where your potential customers are focusing their attention.
- Take a look at your competitors and examine what they’re doing on social media. What’s working for them?
- Search on Twitter for relevant hashtags and see how many people are using them.
- Use content aggregation tools like Buzzsumo to see what relevant topics are being discussed on social media.
- Use paid media tools such as LinkedIn Ads to target specific demographics within those platforms.
There are plenty of sources to identify and target your ideal customers. Make sure that you’re focusing your attention on the right platforms—otherwise, you could be wasting a tremendous amount of time and resources.
Identify International Users Who Are Already A Fan Of Your Business On Social Media
Twitter is a fantastic tool for multiple reasons, but one of its strongest assets is its ability to identify users by region. This feature will allow you to segment your international users who already follow you on your other social accounts, making it easy to retarget them via email marketing and other social campaigns.
You can also separate those users into a Tailored Audience Twitter list and Tweet or DM them with your new, rebranded international profile (if you have one). This is a great way to deepen relationships with your existing international customers and begin to grow a solid following on your new profiles.
Determine If Any Current Strategies Can Be Applied To The New Market
Why reinvent the wheel when you have successful social media strategies right in front of you?
While not every activity can always be included in a new market entry strategy, some can be. Instead of starting from scratch and looking for new solutions for your marketing, it is an efficient practice to check the strategies you are already using and familiar with to see what can be transferred:
Look at what your successful competitors are already doing well on social media in the new market. Does it resemble any activities you are already doing?
Research what types of content people engage with most in your new market. In some markets, people might engage more with video content, while in other markets, people might engage more with interactive content, like competitions. Do you already produce types of content that suit your new market?
Find out when people are most active on social media in your new market. Is it similar to the trends in your current market?
Turn to strategies that have already produced high-quality results and identify the aspects you can emulate.
Learn Local Nuances
Many companies simply use social media channels as amplification tools, when they actually need to develop specific social media content that resonates with their new audience. This includes cultural nuances that you might be unaware of.
In order to gain a deep understanding of your new target audience, do thorough research on their culture, from language and linguistic differences, to religious identity, to history. This knowledge will help you form a brand voice and message that resonates with your new audience and speaks to their same values.
Without understanding their culture, it will be difficult for you to get their attention, gain their trust, and convert them into life-long customers.
Build relationships with local influencers
Influencers already have the trust and attention of locals which makes them great assets for developing your brand name. So, identify three to five major influencers who share your same target audience and reach out to them.
But, here’s the trick — don’t ask them to do something for you. They don’t know you, so at this point in the relationship, they have no reason to help you and your brand flourish. Instead, ask what you can do to help their personal brand or business. Offer them free assistance in some way and allow the relationship to develop in an authentic way. Then, they’ll happily promote your brand over and over again.
A great way to identify local influencers is through Buzzstream, a platform that allows you to discover major thought leaders within any industry.
Examples of Companies Using Social Media in a Successful Market Entry Strategy:
To illustrate our points, here are three companies who have successfully used social media to enter a new market:
At this point, everyone recognizes AirBnB as a leader in the sharing economy. AirBnB is a community marketplace where anyone can list and book accomodations around the world.
When they were first attempting to enter new markets around the world, AirBnB turned to social media to help them. In January 2015 they launched a campaign where they asked their community to perform random acts of hospitality for strangers, take a photo or video and upload it using the hashtag #OneLessStranger.
Only three weeks after launching, over 3 million people worldwide had created user-generated content and engaged with the campaign.
Pearse Trust is an international authority on corporate and trust structures. In order to reach additional audiences and penetrate new markets, Pearse Trust leverages Facebook as a platform to create specific content that engages various markets.
In the screenshot above you can see an example of how they use Facebook campaigns to engage their target audience around international affairs related to their company’s practice. In addition, they share external articles that are common interest to all their markets.
Direct Pay Online
Direct Pay Online is a secure Payment Service Provider that provides a wide variety of payment solutions for the travel, ecommerce and hospitality industries. They mainly operate within Africa and are continually reaching new markets using social media.
Direct Pay Online penetrates new markets using social media by creating content that is specific to the different regions they wish to engage. For example, in the post above, they produced and shared an article specifically about the ecommerce and digital payments landscape in Mozambique, one of the more recent markets they have begun operating in.
It can be daunting developing a market entry strategy, and there are a lot at risks when entering a new market. However, carefully executing your plan along with its social media components is more important than wishing to achieve perfection. If you hesitate to launch your social media campaign and never take that first step, you won’t realize the greatness your company is capable of.
So, once you’ve taken into account the above mentioned tips and have planned your social media market entry strategy, don’t back out. Press the “launch campaign” button and see what you can achieve.
Do you want more details about how to market your business on social media in a new market? Download our free ebook “A 4-Step Growth Strategy for Entering a New Market” to get the inside scoop on marketing tips for success.