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Five Takeaways from Social Media Week Chicago’s Connecting Global Media

Jennifer Mulligan

It’s Social Media Week here in Chicago, and Walker Sands is happy to participate in the weeklong conference for social media professionals again. Our first session of the week was Connecting Global Media. Since we work with clients and reporters in many time zones, it was a truly insightful event. Marina Christos, Riana Lynn and Nicole Yeary led the panel discussion on tools and best practices for collaborating with teams around the globe.


While there were too many tips to share here, here are my top five takeaways from the panel:

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Research your global audience. Know which time zones they are in, what language they speak, what topics they care about. When you know who your actual audience is, you can craft content that appeals to them and know when they’re going to see it. Analytics tools from Twitter, Facebook, Google and more are great for this.

2. Make Global Local

You can approach your global content in one of two ways: centralized or global-local. A centralized approach is easier because it is just one version of content for all audiences regardless of location, language or interests. The preferred method is called “global-local” in which you customize your content to fit the needs of different audiences. It will be similar because you want to share the same message but personalized to different areas or groups.

3. Be Aware of Cultural Differences

What is happening or popular at home may not be abroad, and if you’re managing social media for a global brand, you need to be aware of that. For example, Black Friday is a huge holiday for U.S. consumers and retailers, but it is a new concept to Canada and other countries. U.S.-based global brands would not see the same level of engagement on their international social channels for Black Friday-related posts as their American counterpart.

4. Always Be the Cool Kid

Similar to the previous point, global social media professionals need to know which tools people use around the world. Just because Instagram is hugely popular here does not mean it’s necessarily popular abroad. In fact, WeChat is the social network in China despite its complete lack of popularity here. Nearly one-third of global WeChat users are based in China, according to Marina Christos, one of this session’s panelists.

5. Communicate Effectively

Whether you’re collaborating with other team members, clients, reporters or others, communication is key. Let time zones and culture dictate which tools you use to communicate. For example, when we talk with a client one time zone away, we prefer to pick up the phone. On the other hand, when we work with people in Europe, the time difference makes phone calls difficult. As long as you’re flexible in your communication style, collaboration will go smoothly.

Did I miss something? Comment below with other takeaways from the session or ideas for collaborating globally. I may have been distracted during the session with the social media cootie catcher…