Ways to Improve Your International Social Media Communications Strategy

How to express yourself the world over in a way that gets attention

Do you have a global mindset? Do you have cultural sensibility – that is you’re sensitive to other cultures? With globalization and the use of technology, you have the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. But how do you know you are making the right connections, ones that resonate with recipients in a way that they want to keep communicating with you over and over again? In this article, I talk about some of the ways in which I engage in discussions and how you too can express yourself in new forms the world over.

As I write this, not thousands, but millions of people all over the world are engaging in some form of communication, whether via email, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Facebook or any number of communications avenues. What moves you to listen? What compels you to respond? The answer is the key to effective international communications. And it usually involves understanding the listener’s point of view, his reference, his culture, his values and his way of relating to the world. To achieve this recognized state, one must develop a heightened awareness and a desire to really “get it” – spending an inordinate amount of time studying whatever you are trying to get or understand. I refer to it as mental perseverance and intellectual flexibility. 

As conversations increase all over the world, it becomes harder and harder to differentiate yours from everyone else’s. I notice this all the time on Facebook.

Someone posts about their daughter’s first birthday, someone else on the recent blood moon or still another individual reports about her second book signing in a big city.

What draws me in? 

I’m on more than a dozen social media platforms. How do I determine what to read or not to read? First, I must have a little bit of free, relaxing time on my hands (not often!).

Second, the person must share a powerful story (how, for example, a first-time author submitted his book proposal to more than 100 publishers with one rejection after another and the 101st publisher he submitted to snatched it up). Third, there’s usually a strong emotional journey involved (someone posing on their wedding day alongside their 96-year old father seated in a wheelchair, for example).  Fourth, I learn something in the process – the communicator educates me on information I didn’t know about or increases my awareness about something I should know about (for instance, Pope Francis believes there is not one dimension to globalization). Those are usually the elements that strike me in order to capture my interest.

What Turns Me Off

In the same vein, it’s important to know what turns me off on communications: ego-centric commentaries (picture after picture of the communicator showing how great or beautiful she is!), reporting on something that says the same thing as everybody else (Donald Trump won’t last in the presidential election, or water is flowing on Mars, for example) and expressing the same old, same old (how many times can we see a picture of someone’s lovable toddler in the same high chair with a different bib on?).

My point on all this is to widen your horizons, study other cultures, know when to listen and know when to ask for help. This process will allow you to tune into others and share generously and lovingly the world over. Oh, and one other tip: It should never be about you and always about them!

In closing, I reference a very good book, “International Communications Strategy: Developments in Cross-Cultural Communications, PR and Social Media,” by co-authors Silvia Cambie and Yang-May Ooi. They say, “to succeed in the Globalization 3.0 era, a communicator will need to gain exposure to other cultures, learn other languages and develop a curiosity for other ways of thinking. We are basically talking about a set of skills that will enable us to interpret complexity. In the coming years, this is where much of the value added by the communication function will come from.”

Quick side note:  If you haven’t already, please sign up for our upcoming Global Small Business Forum 2015 held in Chicago on Friday, October 23rd at the historic Navy Pier.  The Forum will help boost your international trade activities, and we get to meet in person!  To learn more and to register, visit:  http://www.globalsmallbusinessforum.com

Photo credit:  Laurel Delaney