Written by: Ashley Northington
Social media provides businesses with an opportunity to reach more people than ever before. Not only can businesses reach local audiences, social networking can also be used to reach a global market. Social media profiles with thoughtful, culturally appropriate content can help increase brand awareness among consumer groups in the country in which you wish to market.
However, global social media marketing goes beyond Facebook and Twitter. In fact some countries, like China, have restricted or banned residents from accessing Facebook and Twitter in favor in their own networks.
There are dozens of social media sites native to countries all over the world. To help you along, we’ve listed 12 social networking sites that may help you reach an international market.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network. It has nearly 2 billion users worldwide. This includes approximately 70 million users in Brazil, 60 million in Indonesia, 26.5 million in Japan, and 22 million in both France and Germany.
Twitter has 1.3 billion users worldwide, with 79 percent of accounts being held outside of the U.S. More than 80 percent of the world’s leaders are on Twitter.
Xing is a social network for business professionals (think: LinkedIn). It is a platform where professionals from all kinds of different industries can meet up, find jobs, colleagues, new assignments, cooperation partners, experts, and generate business ideas. Based in Germany, Xing has nearly 11 million users in this market. It has approximately 200 million users worldwide.
Viadeo is a social network for business professionals (think: LinkedIn). It is a platform to help users boost their careers, find new contacts, and uncover new opportunities. Based in France, Viadeo has approximately 10 million users in this market. It has approximately 65 million users worldwide.
Twoo bills itself as the ‘fastest way to meet new people.’ It is a social networking site that focuses on chatting, sharing photos and meeting new people. Twoo, based in Belgium, is available in more than 200 countries and in 38 languages. It has approximately 180 million users worldwide.
Vkontakte, known as VK, is the largest European online social networking service. It is similar to Facebook. Based in St. Petersburg, Russia, it available in several languages, and is especially popular among Russian-speaking users
Weibo is a microblogging network. It is similar to Twitter. In fact, the name ‘weibo’ literally translates into microblog in Chinese. Weibo is used by more than 22 percent of the Chinese Internet population of almost 540 million people.
Renren is a Chinese social networking site. It is similar to Facebook and is popular among college-age students. Renren has an estimated 150 million registered users and 31 million active users per month.
Mixi is an online Japanese social networking service. Mixi users now exceed 27.1 million and has expanded into a communication platform that leverages voice, pictures, messaging, GPS, calendars and other functions to connect users.
Yonja is Turkey’s largest social networking site. It has more than 31 million users in 15 countries.
Tuenti was the most popular social network in Spain, from 2009 to 2012, with over 15 million registered users. At that time, it was referred to as the ‘Spanish Facebook.’ Today, Tuenti offers mobile telephone and messaging that are accessible on any device via cloud.
GoldenLine is Poland’s professional networking service. It is similar to LinkedIn. The network allows users to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients. It has more than 2 million users.
Your target country’s social media network could become one of your best marketing tools, provided you employ the right messaging and develop relevant content to distribute on that network.
The opportunity is huge.
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Ashley Northington is a marketing communication professional and entrepreneur. She is the founder and agency director at DENOR Brands & Public Relations. Learn more about Ashley at ashleynorthington.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @ashnorthington. Learn more about her company at denorbrands.com and follow the company on Twitter and Facebook @DENORPR.