This is a guest post by Peter Heffring, president and CEO of social software company Expion.
The recent announcement of Global Pages for Facebook is a significant development for brands: Facebook has finally recognized the need to offer a global-local solution. Currently, brands often have to mix global and local content strategies on a single page, which causes local markets to consume content in mixed languages, view products and services that may not be available in their market, and communicate with peers that may not speak their language or understand their culture. Global Pages will allow greater control and governance, greater customization at a country level, and deeper insights.
Marketing at a local level on Facebook has proven to be an extremely successful endeavor. Through analyzing hundreds of brands and thousands of pages, Expion has seen engagement that is 100 and 700 percent higher when pages are locally focused at a store location level. We also expect country pages to experience significant increases in engagement over a geo-targeted approach from a global page.
But who will Global Pages benefit, and is it for all brands?
When to Stay Away
Obviously businesses without a global footprint will not need this feature, but in addition to that, brands of all sizes that don’t already have a sufficient global presence on Facebook shouldn’t hop on the Global Pages bandwagon. The new offering is complicated, so brands that are still trying to build a global presence or understand how to effectively use Facebook should learn the basics first.
Companies like Texas Roadhouse, Home Depot, Honey Baked Ham and HR Block, all which have a strong U.S. presence but limited international reach, would not benefit from this approach.
A Quick Checklist: When to Migrate to Global Pages
Global Pages offers management and insight advantages, but it will also significantly increase a brand’s Facebook marketing costs. This solution is most suited to brands that have existing Facebook community management in place for many local markets and want more localization. To consider migrating to Global Pages, a brand needs to be sure that it’s in the position to take full advantage of the new features available.
A brand should make sure that it currently has all of the following practices and policies in place before making the jump to Global Pages:
- Geo-targeting: Localization is already in place on Facebook, but the brand has a greater need to customize local pages on a deep level. Increased localization with Global Pages includes News Feed, Timeline, cover photos, photo albums, apps and about info.
- Community Management Team: The brand should already have established country-level community management and culture to share best practices. A company will need a content approval processes, as well a appropriate governance and controls that can be set by country based on the social maturity of local teams.
- Moderation: Multi-lingual, multi-country community moderation services should be place to communicate most effectively with fans in a way that matches the conversation style and social etiquette unique to each country.
- Analytics Services: The amount of insights and data that will be available is going to increase tremendously, and brands will want to take advantage of the insights provided on a country-by-country basis. There are now opportunities for benchmarking countries against each other, mining for the best content, and sharing this content with all countries in their native tongue to optimize overall global engagement.
Any global brand with different product offerings, significant sales in certain countries, and established country community managers would be a good candidate to consider this. One of the unique features of this offering is that it does not have to be “all or none.” A brand can optimize with a mix of some country pages where it has significant presence and sales, and maintain its current geo-targeting model for other countries.
So is the introduction of Global Pages a good thing? Absolutely, for companies that meet the above criteria. Facebook has delivered a solution that meets how many large global brands localize all of the marketing to maximize sales in specific countries.
Peter Heffring is president and CEO of Expion, a social software company that empowers retailers, brands and agencies to localize and manage their social marketing efforts. Founded in 2009, the company is privately held and headquartered in Raleigh, N.C.