Social Media has become a popular way to connect and to create direct relationships between brands and consumers around the world. Social Media strategy is now a very important part of the Marketing Plan for some businesses, and more brands across the world are taking advantage of them to connect with their target. However, the dilemma that some companies are facing starts when they need to define how to manage their social media strategy.

Developing a social media strategy is not easy, it is like walking the tightrope; you need to find the right balance in order to avoid falling. For instance, global brands with international presence will have to choose whether to implement a local social media strategy or to have an international standardized strategy.

Even though some marketers and social media managers may recommend having a local strategy and generating local content, there are some examples of International brands that have done a great job creating international content.

These campaigns aren’t easy to implement since brands need to be able to understand different cultures and cross cultural issues or relevant subjects, and they need to know how to preserve the international guidelines but still impact and engage local audience in order to succeed. Airbnb took the risk of implementing a global strategy in which they use a multinational content marketing approach and it worked out for them, as different customers around the world were able to connect with the campaign.

Other international brands have tried to involve local communities in order to have a local approach but some of them haven’t succeeded; let’s take the example of Coca Cola, they are usually known for doing great marketing and engaging marketing ads, but a few months ago they had some problems when they launched a video in Mexico featuring a local small rural community in which Coca Cola was bringing happiness to them during Christmas. (Click below at BBC link for more info related to this case) [i]

There are many different cases of different strategies with different approaches done by international brands, some of them have been very effective but also there are some others that have been unsuccessful.

And at the end, it really doesn’t matter if it is an international or a local strategy; this decision really depends on how flexible the organization or the brand is, the global guidelines they need to follow, their world presence and their performance in each country or territory.

But instead, what really matters is that brands need to choose the best strategy for them and implemented it in a proper way. In order to do that, they need to understand and analyze themselves and the market. In addition to that, brands need to analyze deeply cultural behaviors and choose the right social network to post their content and reach the right consumers at the right time. People behave and react very differently in each country and of course on each social network. There are several theories and studies that explain more about cultural differences as the Hofstede’s Dimensions for example, but it is very important to consider them before launching any social media strategy even if it is global or local.

It’s not hard to understand why international brands want to preserve just one Facebook or Twitter account; it is easier to send one standardized communication and it requires less people and resources, however, it might be sometimes dangerous if brands don’t make a full analysis before doing it.

Companies need to understand that a global strategy goes far beyond simply translating content or putting subtitles. In order to have and implement a good and effective social media strategy, just like successful international campaigns, local campaigns also need to be evaluated and planned taking in considerations all the cultural behaviors, local events and community approaches. This explains why some business can’t take advantage of the real social media power, as they don’t feel the need to invest in research and planning before posting.

Once a business has made its decision as to what strategy to implement, they will then need to invest time and money to connect with the community, which means they will have to talk to their clients directly, and sometimes brands are afraid of that or just not prepare; making huge mistakes like deleting bad comments or not taking customers’ comments seriously.

So please, if you are reading this and you are planning to start or improve any business social strategy take a moment to understand your brand and make some research about your market or audience before you start posting.