When it comes to social media, the question of who to empower with social media creation and publishing, and why, is a common question among brands. Whether you are a global brand that services a variety of international markets – each with its own language – or a regional brand that has local nuances to the markets you serve, the question of how best to set up your brand’s social media presence across your platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc.) is highly relevant. Recently, we have been asked a number of questions such as this:
- “Should we only have one brand account per platform, or should we have individual accounts per market?”
- “Should all content be published from our headquarters, or should we allow local markets to create and publish their own content?”
- “Who should have editorial publishing permissions on our platforms?”
One “global” account or local accounts? To answer this question, we need to dive into the following key factors:
- Messaging Consistency: How much do you want to control your brand message from the corporate mothership versus empowering local markets to customize messaging? In cases where brands choose to have one central account, it is generally with the aim of: a. ensuring consistency of messaging across markets (control), b. establishing the brand globally and/or c. keeping resource needs to a minimum.
- Customer Need: We always recommend starting with the customer and working outward. Do customers need or expect local content for the brand? Is there a missed opportunity if local content doesn’t exist (note: this is frequently the case). Often, you will find that your customers will best relate to content that is as close to them as possible – local, relevant and personal content that shares the people, events, information and entertainment that is unique to them.
- Resources: Do you have the proper dedicated resources to manage all of the accounts you are considering? At minimum, there needs to be a local community manager for each market (regionally, locally, or in-language/country-based). Beyond this, the opportunity exists to have local markets create and publish their own content.
- Control vs. Empowerment: To some extent, this also comes down to preference. Is your brand culture one focused on empowerment? Are you comfortable letting the local markets create and customize? Or do you work within a culture of centralized control? Ultimately, the culture of your company will most likely drive how you choose to solve this challenge. Coca-Cola and L’Oreal, for example, run local market accounts by country to handle obvious language and customer needs, as well as to improve engagement and response time.
It is important to note that, regardless of which approach you decide to take, there are significant pros and cons to each approach.
“Master” or Global Social Media Accounts
- Pro: Provides more opportunity to control your brand image, content quality and publishing frequency from a single, centralized location, which is much easier than trying to manage multiple local accounts. If you want your centralized marketing team to run all your main channels, this is the approach for you.
- Pro: Allows you to create targeted ads from the primary brand account to target specific markets on most platforms.
- Con: This approach removes the opportunity to connect with your followers on a personal level since they will all see the same content. This becomes a greater issue if they speak different languages or are located in different parts of the world.
Local Social Media Accounts
- Pro: Allows marketers to reach people more effectively and personally, resulting in greater engagement with your community, driving potential business impact and conversion. The more personal feel of localized accounts can drive greater results.
- Pro: Brands are able to provide better customer service in the customers’ own language(s) and time zone, with faster response times, improving overall brand perceptions.
- Con: This approach requires you to staff a dedicated team of local social media managers and/or translators who you can trust in representing your brand.
- Con: Once again, the resource requirement is a downside—local accounts require a lot of time, budget and effort to keep up. Is it worth it for you to invest in results?
An Alternative Option
- Some brands choose to employ a hybrid model whereby the corporate brand team provides approved posts to the local/global teams on a regular publishing cadence (the more in advance, the better). This works best with evergreen posts. However, these brands also allow the local accounts to create their own, local-specific custom content. This works best if the local markets are empowered to post without having to go through lengthy approval processes so that they do not miss timely opportunities (sharing customer posts, jumping on newsworthy items, etc.).
There are also a couple of specific nuances worth noting regarding platforms:
- Facebook allows for global companies to leverage multilingual functionality on “global pages,” if you desire. The key to doing this properly is that your company will need local community managers to run each page and adapt content properly every time that you post.
- Despite also being part of the “Meta” brand portfolio, Instagram does not offer the same multilingual functionality as Facebook and thus may warrant creating global and individual in-market accounts, depending on your desires.
Overall, this decision can be a difficult one, and one that requires a deep understanding of your brand’s culture and internal infrastructure. If you have further questions as to how best to set up your social media presence, we are here to help. Visit https://wildfireideas.com/contact/ to ask us your questions.
About The Author: Jeff O’Sullivan is a Director of Strategy on our Wildfire team. His experience in communications planning, content marketing and social media includes working with global, national, regional and local brands such as Verizon, Samuel Adams, CVS/Pharmacy, Sprint, Lycra, Stainmaster, and CSX rail transportation. When not at Wildfire, Jeff navigates the fun challenge of raising two wonderful middle school girls and enjoys spending time with his wife and friends in Winston-Salem.