In today’s episode, we’re excited to welcome Shaheen Samavati, VeraContent’s CEO, back onto the podcast. She’s joined by co-host Kyler Canastra, VeraContent’s head of business development, and previous guest Adriana Carles, head of content and social media at Ladenzeile. Tune in for the full episode as these three experts chat about the keys to implementing a successful global social media strategy.

Their conversation touches on the importance of prioritizing which regions and platforms to focus on—considering both your business strategy and available resources. They also discuss how to localize your content, when to repurpose and how to go about tailoring your social media calendars for different regions.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

How do you decide what regions to focus on?

When building a global social media strategy, it’s important to narrow down your target regions. You need to make a strategic business decision to pinpoint which markets you’re most relevant in and which countries you want to grow in.

Secondly, figure out how much budget and resources you have available. Localization can be expensive and time-consuming, so it helps to know how far you can stretch your current resources to decide how many regions and platforms you can realistically cover.

Adriana pointed out that at Ladenzeile, where they work in 13 different markets, they quickly realized that localizing for each market—and doing it well—wasn’t possible with their available resources. So, they adjusted their strategy to focus on fewer key regions.

“The most common regions you see people investing in are the largest markets including Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. But we do see exceptions, depending on various business strategies. For example, we’ve worked in Scandinavian languages. We also see some companies make huge changes, often from wanting to be in many markets and  seeing how much work it is, to then deciding on fewer markets. –

Shaheen Samavati

How do you decide what content to localize?

Again, it’s about your priorities and also understanding what type of content works best in each market.

  1. Critically assess whether the content will work in another region

“If the content is reusable, we’re going to use it because we’ve already used the resources to create it. But it requires some critical thinking about what works and what doesn’t in the region.”

– Shaheen Samavati

Not all content makes sense for all regions. Make sure to consult with someone on the ground who understands what type of content works there—and what doesn’t. This way you can avoid spending your resources on localization when it isn’t effective.

“Father’s Day, for example, is super relevant in Austria, but not so relevant in Germany.”

– Adriana Carles
  1. Does the key message translate?

The most important pieces of content are often the most difficult to translate, like your company slogan and key messages. 

It’s essential to spend time on adapting your brand’s core messaging to provide a strong localized translation. 

As Shaheen pointed out: “For something that’s only a five-word translation, you can get several people involved and spend hours translating.”

“The shorter and catchier the core messages, the harder they are to replicate across languages.”

– Adriana Carles
  1. Decide what content is really important

Not all content is necessary in all regions. For example, you may not need to create localized social media accounts for each country, but it may be relevant to localize other areas of your client communication.

For example, Adriana mentioned that their B2B content is a high priority. They want their customers—such as shop owners—to understand what they do, so they create all sales outreach and marketing materials in their 12 languages.

Tip: Create content for key regions in parallel. According to Adriana: “That way, the content makes sense for both languages, and then the other languages just come in after that.”

What is the difference between organic and paid social content?

Organic content versus paid advertising on social media requires an entirely different process and skillset. Since paid marketing often takes a big chunk of your budget, you may need more people working on it—and in many cases, they’ll all be in-house.

For creating paid social content, you need to work with experts who understand how to implement and optimize campaigns, as the copy used in organic versus paid social content is very different. Adriana also pointed out that “It’s so much easier to test things in the paid part than on the organic side.”

How many global social media pages should you have?

There are many different approaches that you can take. Again, it comes down to your priorities. Your approach can also differ for each platform:

“Facebook offers the best tools for localization, and it makes sense to localize it if it’s in line with your strategy. Other platforms are harder to make a good localized strategy around. Like Twitter, for example, as it’s such a fast-paced platform and requires a dedicated resource.”

– Shaheen Samavati

Consider your resources and where you see the most growth—both in terms of region and platform. And only do as many channels or profiles as you can do well. 

For Adriana at Ladenzeile, they’re trying out the approach of having one global community in one language for specific platforms, like Instagram:

“For us, it’s really important to keep as centralized as possible—in terms of having one team and one tool to manage everything—and within our team’s expertise.”

– Adriana Carles

See also: Global vs. local social media accounts: Which one’s right for your business?

When should you recreate content from scratch vs. repurposing content?

In many cases, content can be repurposed for different languages and platforms. For example, Adriana mentioned that you could often use similar content on both Instagram and Facebook as they have a similar audience.

“We have to recycle content in a smart way. Maybe it’s splitting content up into pieces or editing it in a way that makes it work on another platform. Resource wise, it would be impossible not to repurpose content.”

– Adriana Carles

However, when a piece of content has a strong emotional pull to it, it may just be better to create it from scratch, as Kyler points out below:

“When a campaign has an emotional pull to it, it’s so important to localize it to ensure that it still conveys that emotion. In some cases, it’s better to start from scratch and brainstorm how to convey the same message but using another expression that will better resonate with the audience.” 

– Kyler Canastra

How do you tailor your social media calendars for each market?

It’s always good to plan ahead but Shaheen pointed out, “You don’t want it to be too far in advance because it still needs to be relevant.” You want to have some flexibility for timely posts.

“To produce content that connects with people, you have to be tuned in to what’s going on in the region. For example, something could happen tomorrow that makes a certain post inappropriate. So it’s super important to plan, but also to be versatile in your approach.”

– Kyler Canastra

Use your data to understand what people are looking for in each region, like specific trends or current weather. Ask for feedback from people in the market—it’s important to have an ongoing conversation with locals.

What tools are helpful for global social media planning?

The most common tool that our clients at VeraContent use is Trello—also a combination of Trello and spreadsheets. Different scheduling tools include Sprout Social and Hootsuite.

When it comes to planning the content calendar, it helps to work on more collaborative tools, like Google Sheets, opposed to scheduling tools as you’ll usually have more people involved in this part of the process. Once the calendar is confirmed, the community manager—or whoever manages this—can then upload to the scheduling tool.

Adriana mentioned that they have just started using Falcon as their social media management system.

Learn more about Adriana in our previous podcast episode and also check out Kyler and Shaheen’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

For more insights into global social media, check out:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.