5 tips for global nonprofit social media marketing

Social media grows in popularity as more people around the world go online. An eMarketer report predicted global internet use will grow to 47 percent of the world's population by the end of 2016, with the number exceeding 50 percent in 2018. Smart Insights shared data from the Global Web Index and WeAreSocial Singapore that corroborates these numbers. What's more, GWI estimated about two-thirds of global audiences with internet access are also social media users.

This means if your international nonprofit wants to spread your content and fundraisers to foreign audiences, it would be wise to use social channels popular in different territories. Often, existing best practices will work with a wide variety of audiences. Other times, you will have to use unique tactics and strategies designed for particular countries. Here are 5 things to keep in mind as your nonprofit's social media campaign travels around the world.

1. Know the international channels
There are social media sites with global appeal. Social Sprout, a social software developer, studied the information from GWI and suggested Facebook campaigns would be a wise investment for most global organizations. Sites like Facebook and Twitter began as U.S. channels, but each now has global appeal.

You also have to investigate the possibility of using local social platforms. For example, Asian citizens use QQ, QZone and WeChat. You might want to utilize these platforms if you have projects or other investments in the area.

2. Recognize what's popular
Just because Facebook is the most popular choice for global audiences now, does not mean that will always be the case. You need to keep your ear to the ground and recognize online trends to ensure your material reaches the widest global audiences.

CNBC reported Instagram just surpassed Twitter in popularity after hitting 400 million monthly active users. Instagram is a photo sharing site, and its recent growth demonstrates online audiences' preference for images over text. Both content and platforms may change with new technology and global outreach.

3. Content without barriers
As you extend your nonprofit's reach outside of English speaking countries, you must find content that works with different languages. Business 2 Community advised organizations to look for content that catches the eye without text and using translators to capture the nuances of marketing copy.

You must also be aware of what content won't work in other areas for subtle reasons. Each country has its own culture, and a harmless image in the U.S. might mean something quite different elsewhere. Even the color you use for your branding could elicit different emotional responses, so it's best to do diligent research.

4. Acknowledge the limitations
If you're not careful about cultural difference, you may have a problem with popular opinion and government censorship. While some countries restrict what material is spread online for political reasons, other territories limit internet use due to a lack of available data. Marketing Dive said many global companies have to overcome these obstacles by offering diverse content and providing countries with the materials that work best for them.

For example, Coca Cola publishes social media slideshows for territories that don't have the ability to stream videos. Your nonprofit can learn a similar lesson by creating initial fundraising content designed to catch attention quickly with simple online functionality.

5. Prepare for international payments
Collecting money online calls for e-commerce solutions. Your nonprofit can benefit from online forms and easy-to-use donation procedures designed for global audiences. Payment processing should work with multiple currencies and languages.

At the same time, all social media campaigns should promote giving through simplicity. You can encourage Facebook donations by putting contribution options directly on the popular platform. Providing your donors with simple solutions promotes giving in every medium. 

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