I was taking a friend to a job fair last month inBeijingwhen a certain booth caught my eye. The fair was organized by a provincial group based out of one of the coastal provinces south ofShanghai. These organizations had come together to hunt out the best and brightest foreign graduates fromBeijing’s universities. Most were looking for sales and account managers for various regions. All the expected contenders were there: automobile interior manufacturers, milling and casting companies, and a surprising number of sewing machine manufacturers. Their targets were equally conventional:Korea,Japan,North America.One booth, however, had a well-thought out display with a whole variety of job postings. And, on a yellow sticky note on the top, this message was written: Looking for FB Marketer. “This I have to see!” I thought to myself. How could a company based in Chinabe looking not only for marketing on the forbidden social network, but also for a dedicated social media marketer?
I sat down with the interviewer and we ran through the normal hoops. Google Adwords, Facebook Advertising, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter, Weibo, etc. The interviewers knowledge of the topic was quite good, and I could tell right away that she was responsible for the push within the company. The company had developed an e-business platform, like eBay or Taobao, but which was able to operate both within and outside of China.. Taobao (a is the 600 pound gorilla of the C2C electronic marketplaces, but only operates within China. Let me tell you, if the world could access Taobao, it would be a different place. This company wants to do something similar with a global reach, and they knew the importance of localizing their marketing efforts. A “one-ad-fits-all” strategy was not going to work. They had openings for different countries, different languages, and different age groups. They were serious about segmenting, localizing, and providing support for their social media marketing team.
If you don’t have or don’t want to develop these talents in-house, you’ll likely be shopping around for a provider who can meet your needs. When choosing an online marketing firm to do international work, be sure to choose one that has international experience, or an international team. Knowing different social networks, different traffic flows and important keywords, and languages are important to localization. The idea behind the myth of the Gerber baby food in Africa still holds true. Since you never know where your next big market will be, having your brand accurately represented in potential markets is a sound strategy. And if your idea is the next eBay, you’d better get moving.
Written by Tom Bailey.
Tom earned his MBA from a top-3 university in Taiwan, and his thesis on telecommunications in Canada has been accepted for publication. He works in Beijing City in China as an Event Officer at the Canada China Business Council.
Follow Tom on Twitter @tommyhbailey