International social media Q&A

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social-media-q-and-aRecently, we presented Global Reach, Local Flavor, a free Cision webinar in which we discussed social media engagement from an international perspective. As always, we received a lot of great questions, some of which we didn’t get a chance to answer during the presentation. We’ve tackled a couple of them here instead.  

Hugh: What kind of response time is expected when someone direct messages you on a social network? It seems in the US, an almost immediate response is expected. I guess this kind of gets to a question of etiquette too.

Jay: We’ve discussed here before that a quick response to a public mention of your brand on a blog or social site, even if just to establish that you’re listening, is crucial to diffusing a potential storm of criticism. But with respect to punctuality, I think most people are treating the private messaging functions of social sites, such as direct messages on Twitter or private messages on Facebook, much like email. A response within a day or so is perfectly acceptable, though a faster response always makes a better impression.

From an international perspective, I think the expectation is more personal than cultural. If you’ve established a pattern of immediate responses with someone, a long delay can cause concern. Conversely though, I don’t think many people on the social Web anywhere are delaying their response times to make themselves seem busier. The immediate nature of online communication discourages that kind of behavior, and that’s a good thing.

Natalie: What’s your opinion on FB ‘Fan’ pages vs FB Groups?

Jean: Do you recommend one Facebook page (or Twitter account)  for an international company to reach consumers from all over the world – or separate accounts for each region?

Paul: While Facebook is now undoubtedly an established part of the communications arsenal, the range of opportunities on offer can sometimes seem bewildering. And few of Facebook’s services cause as much confusion that between “Fan Pages” and “Groups” – both of which are promoted as potential avenues for corporate activity.

While there are some clear differences between the two, the recommended approach –like most examples of social media communications, and like most communications activity – depends on what, exactly, you are trying to achieve.

Fan Pages appear to offer a number of benefits for companies. They are designed to mirror Profile pages, plugging your content straight into the network via the your fans’ NewsFeeds.  These pages are also designed to be found beyond the Facebook network, being indexed by search engines with Google-friendly URLs. Overall, Fan Pages are geared for longer term relationship building – think of them like your homepage on Facebook…
… whereas Groups resemble traditional landing pages – built for purpose, geared for specific campaigns with a defined lifespan. The key advantage that Group pages offer is bulk invites at a single click – the sort of feature that appeals for one-off events.

You can extend the analogy to answer Jean’s question, about multiple touchpoints for different regions. As is the case for corporate websites, it will be worth considering distinct Facebook presences (as well as presences on other global platforms, such as Twitter) for different markets if you have the resource to sustain regionally-specific content. This usually means having troops on the ground in the territories in question. If that’s not the case, you can still look at communicating in different languages at a campaign level – perhaps with multi-language Facebook Groups pointing back to an English-language Fan Page.

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