Social media: beyond Twitter and Facebook

If you’re based in the UK you would be forgiven for thinking that social media starts and ends with Facebook and Twitter. Even when we’re not online, these social media channels invade our everyday lives. Whether it’s hashtags on TV shows or ‘Find Us On Facebook’ signs on advertising, you can’t escape them.

Across the globe, these social media giants certainly have a huge reach; but don’t forget that many countries and regions have their own local social media channels and these too have a large following – in fact, exceeding that of Facebook in some areas.

One social media profile or two?

If you’re expanding your business into overseas markets your localised online marketing strategy must include social media. If the regions you operate in are still dominated by Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you should consider whether to use one company/brand profile for all countries, or set up individual pages for each.

Using one-for-all has its limitations. Firstly, you’ll have to ensure your content appeals across your market; a too UK-centric view will alienate users in other countries and vice-versa. You’ll also have to rely on the inbuilt translator tools that allow users to translate social media updates into their native language. As we know, this can be problematic, because literal translations are not always effective. Alternatively, if you require a bilingual social media presence, you might provide your own translations. But this may lead to confusion for your audience in all regions. Having to take these considerations into account when creating ‘international’ social media updates makes for very dry and impersonal posts; the opposite of what you should be trying to achieve on social media, and therefore public engagement is likely to suffer.

The alternative is to have unique social media profiles for each country or region you operate in. This is definitely the option we would recommend, allowing you to target your social media updates at a more specific audience using all the localisation tools at your disposal. You’ll have to decide how to manage this; whether your social media is centralised (with your marketing team or community manager generating content for all profiles), or whether this is managed on a local level.

It’s not all about Facebook…

As well as a localised presence on the major global social media sites, you may also need to create profiles on local social media channels. If you’re looking to launch in China you can do away with a Chinese Facebook Page, since foreign social media sites are banned! Instead, you should be looking at Qzone, Sina Weibo or Renren.

Here are five top alternatives to the US dominated social platforms:

  1. QZone: China’s largest social media channel has over 645 million registered users and is owned by Tencent, the Chinese Internet service portal.
  2. VK (formerly Vkontakte): With over 239 million registered users VK is the most popular site in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
  3. Odnoklassniki: Another popular Russian language site, Odnoklasniki has more than 200 million registered users with a younger demographic than other platforms.
  4. Badoo: With 200 million registered users Badoo is primarily designed as a site for meeting new people. It’s popular in Latin America, Spain, Italy and France.
  5. Xing: For those looking for a LinkedIn experience Xing claims a user base of 7.9 million and ranks 16th on the Alexa Top Sites: Social Networking. Great for recruiting your new team particularly in German speaking countries.

For more social media sites in other areas of the world, have a look at our post 10 Global Social Networks You May Never Have Heard Of. When choosing the best social platform for your expanding business, local knowledge is essential. If you would like to speak to a member of our team about your specific requirements, please get in touch on + 44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

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