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Taking social outreach global

Photo courtesy Mishel Churkin via Flickr

Photo courtesy Mishel Churkin via Flickr

Developing a voice in influential communities online is a big challenge for communications professionals. Once you throw differences in culture and language into the mix, things get really interesting.

There are not a great many case studies out there of global social media outreach campaigns that have been localized and carried out on social networks popular in each target country. (If you know of some, please share them in the comments.) To be sure, blogger Peter Kim’s wiki of social media marketing case studies is a great resource, however many of the campaigns that contributors have submitted there as “worldwide” are global only in the sense that the social Web is accessible from anywhere; few have been truly tailored to local tastes. But online marketing agency Imano made that a focus of its campaign promoting the Sun Microsystems Open Learning Center. I talked recently with Imano Managing Director Chetan Damani about the project.


Imano Managing Director Chetan Damani

Sun wanted to attract students and junior IT professionals in the UK and emerging markets to use the Open Learning Center, an online training resource, to learn its Solaris operating system for workstations and servers. They were interested in four fast-growing markets in particular: Brazil, Russia, India and China (Goldman Sachs first collectively called them the “BRICs“), which together represent an important growth market for the IT sector. While the goal was to establish a presence on social networks, part of the challenge was finding social networks with broad reach in those countries. “Sun realizes the biggest developer pool and training pool is all out in the developing countries,” Damani said. “We wanted to know which social networking sites are talking about development the most.”

Imano analyzed Web reach metrics such as Unique Visitors per Month to determine the top 5 social networks in each country. It found that Google’s Orkut site was key for both India and Brazil, for example. From there, the firm began following IT-related conversation in each community and went about posting information on job boards within each network, along with a Google Adwords campaign targeted toward specific social sites. Imano says the campaign reached more than 50 million people and attracted 25,000 into the Open Learning Center.

My UK colleague Paul Miller (who has blogged here before) and I will be discussing this and other global social media case studies in our free upcoming webinar, Global Reach, Local Flavor, on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Please join us if you’re interested.

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