global social media conversation bubble with social media wordsSocial media is becoming increasingly important as a digital megaphone for customers to share their experiences with friends and engage directly with brands. Today, 47 percent of social media users seek out companies on their favorite networks for customer care, according to a study by NM Insight.

This trend has major implications for your global business. You’re entering new markets, localizing more content and acquiring new customers. Your success depends on how well those customers in various countries are receiving your products or services—and your brand as a whole. With so much at stake, it begs an important question:

Are you using your global social media presence to monitor what’s being said about your brand across your various markets?

Different countries, different conversations

Your customers could be raving about how wonderful your brand is back at home base . . . but half a world away, the tenor of conversation could be far different. If one person 3,000 miles away posts a withering comment or condemning video about a negative experience with your company, and then it goes viral, is anyone in your company watching out for—and quickly responding to—this sort of urgent situation?

Here’s an alarming statistic: four out of five companies don’t respond to complaints on social media. What sort of impact do you think this treatment has on how customers perceive the brand? Not a positive one.

Ignoring social media-borne firestorms like this can do major damage to how customers think of you. That’s why it’s crucial that you take an active role in global social media monitoring.

Active listening in each region

You’ve invested a lot in your localization strategy. To protect that ongoing investment, it makes sense to allocate budget toward monitoring the success of your efforts. After all, how do you know how well your localization efforts are working if you’re not listening to customer reactions?

Social media is a two-way street (quite a busy one, too, with constant traffic 24/7). Not only is it great for your customers to get answers to their concerns and questions, it also lets you track conversations and get proactive about shaping the discussion around your brand.

A growing trend among global brands is to set up a Twitter feed to handle customer care for each language in each target locale. Dell is famous for its emphasis on social customer care, dedicating a staff of thousands who monitor global social media in real time across 11 languages.

If you go this route, remember that you’ll need to establish a strategy for translating this content. A machine translation solution might make sense to explore if you don’t have the in-country staff to handle social media localization.

Be where your customers are

With global social media, it’s very important to get local. For each of your target locales, use analytics tools to find out which social networks your customers visit in order to connect with you (or simply comment about you).

Remember that Facebook isn’t king in every country. In China for instance, where Western social media sites are blocked, your customers might be most active on Sina Weibo, a microblogging service with around 287 million monthly active users.

Use your social media insights to improve

Setting up dedicated feeds on locale-specific social media sites for customer care is a giant leap forward, but the next step is to harness that data to your advantage. Track and compile global social media activity for insight into how you should adjust your localized content to present your brand in the best light.

For example, if locals in Brazil are posting on Facebook about how your recent marketing campaign fell flat—that valuable user response feedback can help you hone your campaign to make it more impactful.

Also pay attention to the level of engagement on each social network for each target locale. A steady increase of new fans or followers could signal that it’s time to step up your localization efforts for that market.

Listen to your customers, strengthen your brand

Make sure you don’t miss any opportunities by missing out on global social media engagement with your customers. Taking an active role in how your brand comes across on social media is a monumentally important part of managing your reputation.

Join us at Brand2Global

If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to join us at the Brand2Global conference, happening September 16-18 in London! We’re playing host to a networking event on the 17th. We’re also putting on thought leadership sessions daily, and our own CEO, Shannon Zimmerman, will be speaking jointly with a Sajan client representative to showcase how the company is expanding into new markets through website localization. If you can’t make it in person, take part in the conversations on Twitter by following @Brand2Global.