Between COVID, revenue slumps, and customer attrition, many business owners are asking this key question: “How do I find new clients?” A great way is to expand your reach to international markets that are receptive to your products and services. Over the past few years, social media has played a key role in connecting brands with leads and customers.
You probably already have an established presence on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, hundreds of millions of users in international markets log into alternative platforms like Weibo, VK, and Xing. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the largest international social platforms and offer actionable insights on how to generate new leads on them.
VK: The Eastern European Facebook
VK or Vkontakte is an analog of Facebook that’s popular in Russia, other CIS countries, and Eastern Europe. VK has over 500 million users worldwide, and 83 percent of all Russians have an account. Users interact by posting, sharing, and commenting on videos, short clips, photos, music, and articles. They also follow different communities dedicated to music, fashion, movies and other niches.
Much like Facebook, VK supports tags, hashtags, and geotags, which you can use to optimize lead generation. Keep in mind that most content on VK is in Russian: if you want results, you will need to localize your content.
How to Succeed on VK
Your business needs to have a group or a public page where you post content on a regular basis. You want people to get to know your business and to find out about ongoing promotions. It’s also a good idea to collaborate with other VK communities. VK users subscribe to multiple communities, making these a great channel to target users. One way is to buy promotional posts on communities your target audience visits. Remember to make use of hashtags that are relevant to your goods and services. This enhances your VK SEO and makes it easier for users to discover your brand.
VK users tend to be more receptive to direct outreach on chat than users on other platforms. This is a cultural difference you can leverage to directly get in touch with the right leads, straight from the VK messenger. Cold pitches can be surprisingly effective with the right template. Remember to share a link to your business and community pages in the message so users can take a look at what you have to offer.
Unlike Facebook, VK has a built-in, ad-supported music player that’s very popular with the user base. Budget for music player ads and your content will reach the right users between songs. VK also gives you an opportunity to display your ads on the left side of the web page.
Weibo: China’s Twitter
Weibo is a Chinese microblogging platform where people share their lifestyles and opinions with others through pictures, fifteen second stories, posts and videos. With around 523 million active users, Weibo is one of the world’s largest social networks. However, almost all of its users are Chinese. This means that, much like VK, localization is key to your Weibo social media efforts: you will need great content in Chinese to reach the right audiences. To get started, it’s a great idea to set up a business Weibo account to take advantage of the Weibo promotional capabilities.
Compared to Facebook or Twitter, Weibo offers a very wide range of monetization and advertising opportunities. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Leverage Weibo's Advertising Features
Through Weibo’s search engine promotion feature, users see targeted advertisements when typing queries in the search bar. Invest in search engine ads to position your products or services in front of users who are actively searching for them. Hashtags play a key role in Weibo, too: you’ll want to create your own hashtag to promote your brand, increase your searchability, and to help you monitor engagement.
Weibo lets business users pay for specific posts or all their account content to be shown on relevant user newsfeeds. You can filter audiences in terms of interests and geography to make sure paid content is visible to the right people.
Weibo also lets you promote your brand through traditional banner ads, which users see on the sides of their feeds. On Weibo’s mobile app, you can pay for ads to be shown right on the welcome screen.
Similar to English language platforms, influencers play a big role on Weibo. Collaborate with prominent influencers to leverage their audiences. Alongside conventional paid promotions, influencer marketing is a great way to tap into the Weibo audience.
Don't Forget Conventional Platforms
Not all international audiences are plugged into their own social networks. Billions of people in countries ranging from India to Mexico to Nigeria use popular English-speaking networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. This doesn’t necessarily make outreach simpler. Users in other countries often have very different usage patterns. In Southeast Asia, for example, many users rapidly “like” content on Facebook while scrolling through their feed: this means that high engagement numbers might not necessarily mean that users have actively engaged with your content.
Research cultural differences and how users in your target country use platforms like Facebook or Twitter, then adapt your strategy accordingly. In some countries like Nigeria and India, a large proportion of social media users speak English. This makes it possible to repurpose some of your existing English language content. In other cases, you will want to localize content, both in terms of language and what concepts.
While each social media platform we’ve talked about has its own unique features, it’s important to remember that there are a lot more similarities than differences, both in terms of feature-sets and your approach. Whether you’re on VK, Facebook, Weibo, or another network, the points below are great to keep in mind:
- Use tags, hashtags and geotags: most platforms support them and they help people narrow down filter information and find your brand and products
- Regularly post relevant content. This helps you build strong relationships with your customer base
- Collaborate with key influencers to expand your reach and to co-create premium content
- Paid promotions, when done right, can generate an impressive ROI
Thank you so much for reading International Social Media Platforms That Connect You with Global Markets. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.