Rapid advancements in technologies mean that more businesses can go global and work with customers all around the world. These customers are increasingly using social media as one of their main ways to communicate with friends as well as businesses. We all know about the popular networks, but consumers often opt for regional or national networks because of language, cultural preferences, opportunities or the like-mindedness of a particular network’s users. Using the right networks will drive business and enhance a brand’s reputation.
Did you know that Qzone is China’s most widely used network and the third largest social media network globally? It has 712 million users, while Facebook, the world’s largest network, has 1.16 billion users, of whom 95 million are based in China. Any company targeting China as a market must research and consider using networks like Qzone for reaching potential customers. In Russia, VK (VKontakte) and Odnoklassniki dominate the market and are quickly expanding into other Eastern European countries. If you’re thinking of a business in Germany, you need to think about XING – a huge network focused on business communications; while in Japan, Mixi has over 80% market share in the country and in Brazil, the Google-owned Orkut has around 20 million monthly visits.
Social media usage will rise for the foreseeable future. AllTwitter states that there has been a jump to 1.73 billion social media users [in 2013] from 1.47 billion in 2012, and this global audience is expected to jump to an incredible 2.55 billion within the next five years. The countries with the fastest uptake and usage are India, Indonesia, Mexico, China and Brazil. eMarketer writes that “Asia-Pacific has the largest social network user base, with an audience of 777 million people and a share of 44.8% of social network users worldwide… This is more than triple the size of Latin America’s social network audience, which is the second-largest worldwide.”
It’s no longer enough to just have a social media presence: companies need to fully integrate it into all aspects of corporate communication. Customers now vent their concerns on social media before they even contact a company about their product or service – and this will be shared with their friends and potential customers too. Also, as it’s now the norm, a business’s use of social media will reflect the image of the brand: amateur usage of social media can be seen as a sign of the business being less savvy than competitors. Being unresponsive is unacceptable in today’s fast-paced world.
Companies can’t rest simply because they’ve got a Facebook or Twitter account. Social media is a dominant form of communication and it’s vital to think about the right network for your business. The next thing is to communicate to all your customers in their preferred language!