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Social media 101: what makes content go global?

Social media 101: what makes content go global?

Social media has the power to make or break brands, so having the right online strategy is crucial.

It’s a well-known fact that platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as WeChat and Weibo in China, are essential for getting products in front of consumers, driving engagement and winning spend.

But creating the right social content can be a tricky process as predicting what people will find shareable on a day-to-day basis isn’t an exact science.

Take that to a global scale and the challenge becomes even greater.

Social conscience

Nike’s Dream Crazy video campaign went viral earlier this year on YouTube. While the focus was on US athletes, the campaign addressed global social issues and featured international names including Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams and LeBron James.

Tackling gender bias and sexism in sport, the campaign also touched on issues such as religion; Nike became the first sportswear brand to release a made-for-purpose hijab.

“Content surrounding social issues is sure to generate interest and interactivity as consumers create conversations and rally around the brand in support of its views”

 

Content surrounding social issues is sure to generate interest and interactivity as consumers create conversations and rally around the brand in support of its views.

As well as celebrities, the campaign featured a host of ordinary people detailing their ‘crazy’ dreams, making the concept applicable to viewers’ lives.

In the first week of its release, the original video featuring Colin Kaepernick was viewed more than 21 million times on YouTube. Nike’s social media mentions also increased 1,400%, reaching 2.7 million.

Getting the right balance

There are some initial guidelines for making your content shareable and impactful in a global context.

First, content should be short and digestible to ensure consumers don’t lose interest.

“Emotions are also important, as people are more likely to share content they react to strongly – either negatively or positively”

 

Emotions are also important, as people are more likely to share content they react to strongly – either negatively or positively.

However, this is a balancing act as content should invoke an energetic emotion – emotions such as sadness will rarely persuade consumers to engage with a brand and purchase its products.

Emotional content can also kickstart conversations and debates, which can only increase your content’s visibility.

Sparking a debate

Gillette was hit with negative backlash after the release of its The Best Men Can Be television advert.

Featuring a montage of social situations often written off as ‘boys will boys’, including bullying, fighting and sexualising women, interspersed with news stories of the #MeToo movement, the ad encouraged men to call out such behaviour and change the narrative of toxic masculinity.

The campaign caused controversy, apparently alienating many of its long-term customers, with a dislike-to-like ratio on YouTube of 2:1.

However, with 13 million views and 825,000 engagements on Twitter in the first day of the campaign, it certainly stirred a conversation. In this case, the largely negative emotions stirred consumer debate, which worked in its favour.

An element of surprise will make content more memorable and increase the likelihood of it being shared.

While there’s no exact formula for shareable content, attempting to go global multiplies your audience many times over, so there are a few key elements to remember to become a viral sensation.

One big barrier can be language: slang in one country can mean something entirely different in another. It’s not enough to just have your content directly translated – you must pay extra attention to any idioms or jokes used and modify them accordingly.

Content may also need to be tailored to factor in different cultural or religious sensibilities.

The main issue with creating global content, however, is keeping it relevant. Streamline your content to consist of subjects that appeal to ‘most’ rather than ‘all’. A good way to do this is to address topics that are relevant in many contexts.

Public meets personal

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign has become a much-anticipated tradition since its inception in 2016.

The campaign comprises two parts: the personal and the public. First, individual users receive a personalised roundup of their most-listened-to music for the year. This personalisation encourages users to continue to use Spotify’s services and recommend them to their friends as they share these roundups on their own social media.

Second, using data collected throughout the year, Spotify displays billboards and posters featuring content matched to the music preferences of each local area, making it uniquely relatable worldwide.

For example, the number of people who streamed a particular song in London in 2017 was displayed on the London Underground. The campaign is presented in the language of each country and publicises artists or playlists that are accessible for local people.

Studies have shown that content should either be useful, entertaining or inspirational.

“Ultimately, the fundamental component is passion. Content you are passionate about will translate into any language, inspiring those all-important shares”

 

Answering questions that are relevant to multiple cultures, promoting content that can inspire all types of people and using formats that can be understood in many languages, such as videos, are all good ways to appeal to a global audience.

Ultimately, the fundamental component is passion. Content you are passionate about will translate into any language, inspiring those all-important shares.

If you want to know more about how to appeal to the social media generation, register for our free Generation Z report today.

As the most tech-savvy consumer group, creating shareable content is the best way to ensure engagement with a brand, its values and its products.

Download Generation Z: The Shopping and Work Habits of Retail’s Chief Disruptors today to find out:

  • Gen Z’s shopping, technology and social media habits
  • What influences them to choose a retailer and make a purchase
  • How to create successful strategies to target this demographic
  • How to engage Gen Z as part of the retail workforce.

By Rosie Shepard