As social media is expanding on a global scale, more international brands are seizing the opportunity to reach local audiences. But managing accounts worldwide, in several languages, needs a careful approach to ensure that your brand remains consistent, relatable, and impactful across linguistic and cultural barriers. Creating localised content and working with international community managers (or CMs) who engage with your communities around the world in their language is a sure-fire way to make your audience feel seen and heard.
CMs are oftentimes the first point of contact with your brand, a relay between you and your audience. So it’s paramount that they understand and like the product or concept, speak the lingo, and enjoy talking to your audience who share the same interest as them. In short, they’re experts in the field and your first local fans! Now, how do you find (your) local gems?
Your cultural community ambassadors
Like the social media translators who localise your posts and memes to make your content travel beyond borders, community managers also have their specialisms. Even if they have a broad experience dealing with different brands, platforms, and follower bases, they often have their own preferred topics. The CM who replies to fans of a natural skincare company is probably not the same as, let’s say, the one engaging with followers of the latest horror game. It can therefore be a bit hit and miss before you find a community manager who is the perfect fit for your brand.
Building up on our research, experience, and feedback from our team, we have a few key points to consider and tips of what has helped us build our CM dream teams along the way.
Testing the waters
Once you’ve identified a few profiles you would like to work with, it is helpful to put together a short test so that you can get an idea of their skill before you start working together on a more regular basis. There are many different forms that this could take, but here are a few examples:
Ask community managers to produce 2-3 visuals with captions as example posts for a specific platform. Here you can watch out for character limitations, tone of voice, emoji usage, hashtag research, etc. Ask them to include a short rationale explaining what the post would achieve with the target audience.
Provide screenshots of positive and negative feedback on a recent campaign from different platforms and ask the community manager to craft responses to both, again backing up their answers with a short explanation.
If they’ll be in charge of proofreading the posts’ translations, provide a few examples and ask them to revise the content, paying attention to spelling, terminology, style and the tone of voice. They can also make suggestions to improve the flow of the copy or provide alternatives.
Even when your community managers are recruited for their skills and brand knowledge, it’s a good idea to organise training documents to introduce them to your brand, set your expectations for working together, as well as their objectives, especially at the beginning of a collaboration.
This information should be contained in a document, but the training can be done via live video call or pre-recorded video content. Having the chance to interact with each other will give everyone a chance to start building that relationship as a team.
Training, like your brand, will be unique. There’s no one right or wrong way to do it. It can cover a myriad of topics, but there are essentials that we always recommend including:
Glossaries and FAQs
Brief containing information about your TOV and target audience
Average response time
Following, tagging, and reposting rules
Moderation dos and don’ts
Social media crisis protocol
Points of contact
Letting the experts do their thing
Finally, community managers have more than one sting to their bows. They are also often content creators, consultants, and proofreaders. Thanks to their creative and linguistic skills, they will be able to give you some valuable advice: on the best types of channels for the product and location, how a post will be perceived locally, as well as inform you of the latest trends in their market. As they are talking directly to your audience in their language, they are also able to report issues fast, streamline, and bring virtual local face to your brand, giving it a human touch/making it more approachable.
It's a two-way street. Just as global content influences local content, often we’ve found that the local insight CMs bring to the table helps develop the brand on a global scale.
Want more tips on building a team of international community managers? Check out our eBook: International Social Media Management in 2023!
Written by: Marie Thouvignon, WIT Account Manager & Kelsey Frick, WIT Account Director