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Oreo Embarks on Global Facebook Effort + How to Manage an International Facebook Community

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A Wednesday New York Times article reports that Oreo, a Kraft Foods brand, will be ramping up its efforts in social marketing by giving its Facebook page a global face lift. The popular page, currently more than 5 million-“Likes” strong, will feature a new look on July 5.

As partners with Oreo on this initiative, we at 360i are looking forward to unveiling the refreshed page to Oreo lovers worldwide on Monday. Though the page has been up since August 2009, its focus to date has primarily been the American audience. However, a large volume of comments and “Likes” from global Oreo fans prompted the amended strategy which will engage fans of the brand from all corners of the world.

Mark Clouse, senior vice president for global biscuits at Kraft Foods, told the Times’ Stuart Elliott that the outpour of global engagement created an “a-ha moment” for the brand. He went on to say that Kraft sees Facebook as “a global vehicle and a platform” that can be leveraged to create dialogue with all consumers – wherever they may be.

Clouse said the page will offer a hybrid of local and global content, acknowledging that though the brand resonates differently in different markets there are also universal elements to the Oreo brand. One feature fans can expect to see is a “world’s fan of the week” distinction for the most devoted Oreo lovers.

A huge portion of brands on Facebook treat their pages as entirely U.S.-focused, when the reality is there that 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S., and any page with a large organic fan base will likely have a high percentage of their connections outside the U.S.

With that in mind, there are a few of 360i’s best practices that any global brand can follow to up the relevancy of their content and ensure that they’re not alienating their international consumers:

Target product-related messaging to relevant markets: For most global brands, not all products are available in all markets. If a brand is promoting a product that’s only available in the U.S. and Canada, the post should be targeted to those markets so that consumers in other markets aren’t confused or disappointed when they can’t purchase.

Publish brand equity messaging in multiple languages: There’s a temptation for marketers to use a Facebook page purely as a vehicle to promote specific products or programs, but users who “Like” your brand respond far more readily to simple brand equity messaging that communicates the emotional payoff of a product. For brands that have strong fan bases in international markets, it’s important to translate those simple messages into the primary languages of those markets so that everyone can share in the brand experience.

Give international brands the power to create content: No one person can create content that’s perfectly relevant to people all around the world – there are linguistic and cultural barriers, differences in brand positioning from market to market, and different levels of comfort and understanding of a brand’s promise. To create engaging content for multiple markets on a Facebook page, the community manager will have to form a close partnership with brand managers around the world who can provide timely and relevant copy to publish.

Keep the power to publish closely held: Although it takes input from a wide range of stakeholders to make a global Facebook page successful, the power to actually publish to the page should be restricted to a small handful of key personnel.

Many brand pages have dozens of administrators from different groups and different companies — check your Facebook pages now – are there any admins on them who work for agencies you don’t work with anymore? Any employees who have moved on? It’s easy for confusion to arise with so many administrators, especially when managing a global page that draws content from multiple markets, and keeping the administrator list slimmed down will help prevent mis-posting, repeat posts, and other publishing misfires.

In March, Oreo named 360i as its lead digital agency.

-Katie Perry, Associate Marketing Manager at 360i, contributed to this report.