Global Marketing

2020 Social Media Marketing Trends

A study by SurveyMonkey and Hubspot discovered that social media trends seemed to match across regions, likely due to the globalizing effect of the internet. Here are four global social media trends to pay attention to this year.

1. Short-lived content will continue gaining popularity

Ephemeral content, like stories, have been a huge social media trend in the last few years and 2020 is shaping up to be no different.

Instragram Stories increase audience engagement through interactive stories and polls, giving a voice to your brand. While the dominance of Instagram Stories is prevalent, Facebook Stories are at the same engagement level reaching 500 million daily users.

Interactive Instagram Stories are among the most important social media trends of 2020
Examples of engagement through Instagram Stories

2. Influencer Marketing will narrow focus

Influencer marketing has become so popular that some brands are moving away from traditional methods in favor of creating influencer partnerships. The trend now is to be more selective in influencer selection. In the past, brands paid top dollar for large numbers of followers. Now we are seeing brands connect with nano-influencers who have a smaller following. These tight knit communities are having more meaningful and engaged conversations.

@Sashaspots has an engaged following of 2,400 on her Instagram which focuses on food at local spots in Orlando.

3. Social commerce will expand

Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with social shopping. That, in addition to advancements in advertising capabilities, will continue to increase social commerce. We forecast that social commerce will become a mainstream retail channel on par with websites and offline stores. This trend will continue as social network introduce and improve shoppable posts.

The growth of direct shopping on Instagram is one of the biggest social media trends that will have lasting implications for the platform
An example of shopping on Instagram.

4. Video Content will dominate

Videos are the future of social media content because they are the most engaging. Short-form videos on TikTok or Stories and long-form content on YouTube will both continue to dominate. Cisco forecasts that 82% of online content will be video content by 2022. Brands not currently using videos should start adding them in content strategy or they will be left behind this trend.

What trends do you think will define 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Global Marketing

How to Create Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement comes from interactions with your social media account. They include reactions, follows, shares, comments, or click-thru's. These metrics are key ways to gauge the impact of content marketing and drive long-term brand favorability.

A clever comparison by Hootsuite labels companies as either a “soap box” or “dinner party.” Soap box brands have a one-way dialogue from the brand to consumers while dinner party brands are all about engagement, especially the small conversations between guests. Dinner party brands have the best level of consumer engagement. Be a dinner party brand.

“Your followers don’t want to talk to a faceless organization. They want to talk to real people on social media. Engaging one-on-one lets them know there’s a real person behind the account, and that can really make a difference in the trust they have for your brand.”

Nick Martin, Hootsuite social engagement specialist

Dinner Party Brand Examples:

Nike created a Twitter account dedicated to customer service in English, Spanish, and French to serve multiple countries.

Netflix has different twitter accounts for regions and spotlights new content released in that region. Considering not all content is shared in multiple regions, this is a great way Netflix localizes content to increase engagement. Each account still keeps a similar tone of humor to match the overall voice of the Netflix brand.

Domino's celebrates cultural differences through its menu offerings and social media, strengthening its international presence.

Ways to Generate Social Media Engagement

Define Your Goals

What do you want your followers to gain through their online interaction with your brand? The “dinner party” brands referenced above have different goals. Some goals to consider include:

  • Create or change brand perception (Netflix)
  • Find and/or nurture leads
  • Offer promotions (Domino's)
  • Providing product information to move customers through the purchase funnel
  • Obtain product or campaign feedback
  • Provide customer support (Nike)

Know Your Audience to Share Valuable Content with Them

To start, spend time researching your customer's needs and desires. Every customer has a problem. How do they use social media to solve their problems? Your audience will dictate the frequency of posts, messaging, and content to share. You just need to listen to them!

Also pay attention to topical and trending events that resonate with your customers. These will be top of mind for your customers already so they will instantly connect with your content. However, use caution to make sure the topics or trends are in the correct brand voice.

Engagement Time!

Reactive engagement includes responding to customers who direct message, comment, or mention your business.

  • Decide the circumstances you will respond and be consistent.
  • Determine the best way to pass along messages to different internal departments.
  • Define a workflow for incoming messages.

Proactive engagement involves searching for indirect comments about your brand or relevant conversations. This can be very helpful for creating buzz for a product launch or campaign. Twitter is an essential social listening tool used by brands to proactively influence brand perception.

  • Determine guidelines for engaging with opportunities.
  • Look at Netflix or other best practices to learn about proactive engagement.

Track Your Progress

Each platform has different metrics that can be used to track audience engagement. As you get started, establish benchmarks for each platform to measure your content's impact. This will ensure brand messaging is tied to something more tangible and constantly improving in quality.

Global Marketing

How To Set Up International Social Media in 4 Steps

1. Choosing Social Media Platforms

The popular social media sites in your country may not have the same market share in other countries. As of January 2020, the most popular social media platform around the world was Facebook, with 2.5 billion users. However, if you plan to enter China, QZone is an important platform to pursue.

Last year's map also shows the runner up platforms in each country. Instagram is ranked second in 44/58 analyzed countries , and Twitter and Reddit also make appearances. This is important to know if one plans to select more than one platform.

2. Selecting Content

Internationally, people use social media for different purposes. It's important to know what people use the platforms for to make sure content is well-received. Globally, engagement on any platform is highest on photos and <30 second videos.

  • Asia Pacific countries go to social media for consumer reviews and also share brand-related information. Research from GlobalWebIndex shows that social media informs purchase decisions, especially with younger users. This is one reason the Philippines consumes so much media: the high amount of user-generated content produced.
  • Europe uses social media to get news. 40% of adults in Spain and Sweden get their news from social media, primarily from Facebook. 75% of all “news-seekers” on social media live in France, Italy and Denmark.

It is also helpful to know what how much time each country spends on social media platform. The graph below shows time spent on social media per country as of January 2018. The Philippines, Brazil and Indonesia hold the top three spots.

3. Localizing Content

  • Is it relevant or culturally specific? If your product launch is solely for one country, then curated content should not appear on sites in any other countries. If you plan to share articles using colloquialisms or celebrities, try adjusting the content to fit the country you plan to post in. Also take into account different currencies, measurement systems, and local spellings. These considerations will make your content more relevant.
  • Any cultural factors? Take into consideration laws and regulations in other countries. In China, there is a list of banned keywords and the Chinese government will block any content that violates the list.
  • Are there any current events to keep in mind? Being mindful of the current pandemic, organizations may want to market specially discounted prices on goods and services.

4. Interacting with Customers

The most important part of any social media plan is interacting with consumers. If you can engage followers, you have the opportunity to turn your brand into a living entity.

Creating content is a time-consuming process between sharing posts, and monitoring all the reactions and comments on each platform. Fortunately there are many social media tools to help do this all while boosting engagement. These tools are critical for a brand to stay on top of the rapidly evolving landscape and potentially high volume of consumers to monitor. Reviews of Hootsuite and other top tools can be found here.

Global Marketing

TikTok: The Next Frontier of Global Marketing

TikTok, the Chinese video-sharing social media platform, seemingly exploded out of nowhere. The app currently has over 2 billion users worldwide, 60% of which are between 13-24 years old. And yet, TikTok is only being used by 4% of social media marketers.

There is a reason brands are apprehensive to enter this massive digital space. First of all, it is overtly anti-marketing. TikTok users flock to the app with an almost urgent intention to showcase their knowledge of new trends, dances, pranks, comedy routines — the list goes on.

So how can you leave an impression on the the impossible-to-ignore platform? Make sure your customers are there, then capture their attention with organic influencer marketing.

Case Study: FENTY Beauty House

Targeting a Gen Z audience, Fenty Beauty invested in a TikTok strategy by opening a dedicated content creation “Fenty House” in March 2020. After the physical location has closed due to coronavirus, Fenty's influencers continued promoting the brand remotely.

For a brand like Fenty Beauty, TikTok is the perfect space to promote diversity and inclusivity — values that closely align with Gen Z and the Fenty brand. Challan Trishann, one of the Fenty Beauty House creators, believes that “Fenty Beauty works [so well on TikTok] because it’s a brand that everybody loves and that has something for everybody. Everybody can find their match.”

Case Study: Chipotle

The Chipotle team first decided to create a presence on TikTok after seeing their brand repeatedly mentioned by users of the app when a Chipotle Instagram video of an employee flipping a lid over a burrito bowl made it over to the platform.

Shortly after, Chipotle launched a #GuacDance challenge, where guacamole fans filmed themselves dancing to a popular avocado-centric song. The campaign took place in July 2019 and became TikTok's highest performing brand challenge in the US, resulting in an extraordinary 250,000 video submissions and Chipotle's most successful guacamole day in history, with more than 800,000 sides of guac served.

The Power of the Zeitgeist

Ultimately, the success behind running these types of campaigns relies on trendjacking: harnessing the creativity of amateur TikTokers who are, too, seeking a way to break the noise and stay relevant in their followers' feeds. This symbiotic relationship between marketers and creators is an incredibly powerful tool that can strengthen a brand's digital strategy overnight — but the most important caveat? You can't try too hard.

llustration by The Sporting Press, The Hollywood Reporter
Global Marketing

Considerations for International Paid Social Media Marketing

In today's connected world, businesses are no longer limited to turning to their local populations for prospective customers. Advertising internationally, however, comes with an entirely new set of considerations. Different time zones, creative localization and potential issues with ad delivery are all common pitfalls. Different time zones create the potential for ads to run at the wrong times (i.e. in the middle of the night). Although many social campaigns are “always on,” for campaigns with day-parting, having the wrong start and end times can be extremely detrimental. If ads are intended to surround a particular event, missing the intended start time, ending too early or too late can also be a bad look for the brand. 

Creative localization is crucial to ensuring that the foreign audience understands the ad and isn't accidentally offended. Words can have different meanings in other cultures, and solely relying on the internet for translation may result in the message getting twisted. While top spending advertisers are able to lean on social platform partners and/or foreign colleagues who can help navigate these areas, smaller media buyers (AKA anyone who can't afford an agency) have to get innovative by reaching out to native speakers and/or cultural experts who can best advise. Social media platforms are perhaps the most complex channels to leverage internationally as they are both inherently conversational and visually driven. There are therefore more opportunities to overlook content customization for the foreign market.

When entering a new market, it can be easy to assume there are just as many addressable consumers as back home. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Even when the product or service is universally applicable, international daily active users for practically all social platforms pale in comparison to the North American market. In light of the often smaller audience sizes, marketers may make the mistake of not bidding aggressively enough to get their ad served. Depending on the advertiser, under-delivery (not spending in full) can actually be worse than below-benchmark performance. 

Overall, focusing on the target audience is the key to success for any paid social campaign, domestic and foreign alike. Keeping the consumer at the forefront of all media planning serves to act as a reminder to adjust the launch and end dates, change out the copy or video assets and to closely monitor delivery to ensure that ads are spending in full. Running an international social media campaign does not have to be a daunting task. With consistent communication between all parties and a clear objective, many brands can and will find success abroad.


Global Retailing: Amazon and Win Bigly

Amazon is ranked as the world's 2nd largest global retailer with sales around $233 billion US even though its market capitalization is the largest at $778 billion. Amazon has dominated e-commerce with 49% market share although in the United States, as of December 2018, e-commerce represents only 11% of all retail.

One product that has been sold globally through Amazon is Win Bigly. This book is written by Scott Adams who is also the comic strip ‘Dilbert' creator. In the 90's, Dilbert connected with working white collared Americans in the quirky Office Space environment. This book is written with entertainment in mind but it is about marketing and especially about the marketing of Trump and the liberal media hoax. My favorite example is about the “Fine People” Hoax Funnel where media claims are debunked by multiple sources but liberal citizens are incapable of accepting and continue a spiraling path predicted by Adams.

Persuasion in politics really does not rely on facts anymore. Fact checking whether by online sources, law enforcement, judiciary committees, special investigating counsels, or professors is no longer credible but instead repeating phrases until sub-conscious recognition swaying bias is the new normal. This book explains how Trump has mastered this marketing skill and how his opponents be them presidential candidates, news anchors, critics, or congressional leaders are not matched in skill set. The book either will give a laugh, a dizzying realization on reality, and/or a stubborn confirmation that it cannot be right.

Amazon is now quietly attempted to change the freight shipping industry without national level press coverage. The business model appears to charge rates that merely break even with costs displacing every existing freight company that relies on profits. This is a standard move from our Chinese rivalry for long term planning and even similar to Walmart's versus the mom/pop retailers (except of course Walmart still sought profit but improved distribution through technology). This seems to be an obvious win barring any lobbying efforts among labor or corporations. This seems better thought out than drones everywhere. Will this begin a road map of Amazon brick and mortar stores nationwide?