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Do you know your LinkedIn from your Xing? Your TikTok from your Triller? Popular local social media platforms are important when planning your global social strategy. Discover four of the biggest regional channels and how to choose which ones to focus on.

We all know the social giants: Facebook, TikTok, Instagram. At least, they may be giants in your domestic market. But which platforms do people scroll through in Japan or South Korea? What’s up and coming in the US? How do people connect online in Germany? 

Globally, the average user spends two and a half hours a day on social media. Facebook is the largest global social network platform by monthly active users (MAUs). But depending on your target markets, including local platforms could strengthen your social media strategy and reach your audiences where they prefer to spend their time online. 

Some of the most popular channels in local regions aren’t the ones you might expect. Here are four platforms to consider and how to find the right channel for your international audiences.

LINE

Considered a ‘super app’, LINE is Japan’s leading social media platform. It has 179 million users across Japan and Southeast Asia, with over three million Official Accounts (run by businesses).

LINE at a glance:

  • Number of MAUs in Japan: 89 million
  • Popular markets: Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan
  • Demographics: evenly spread across all age groups, with slightly more female users

LINE started as a messaging app, but it has evolved to become a unique platform that gives its users a distinctive experience. As well as LINE Chat, there are group chat and video call functions. Plus various features including News, Shopping, Healthcare and Manga. Users can create a profile, connect with friends and post photos and videos. Brands can also use LINE to promote their products and services with a business account. 

Want to boost your brand’s presence in Japan and Southeast Asia? With approximately 70% of Japan’s entire population using LINE, ads are a good place to start. 

Video ads are great for raising brand awareness. Image ads on the app or web can direct users to your website or encourage them to join your friends list on LINE. You can also target your audience according to age, gender, location and interest.

85% of LINE’s MAUs log on to the platform on a daily basis, with over 39% using the platform exclusively over any other social channel. Speak to your marketing localization partner for guidance through the set-up process for your LINE and LINE ads account.

KAKAOTALK 

Most people get it if you say you’ll ‘WhatsApp’ them later. Or you need to ‘Google’ something. But have you heard of ‘Ka-Talk’? In South Korea, it’s a common phrase meaning to message someone. That’s how ubiquitous the local social network app KakaoTalk is.

KakaoTalk at a glance:

  • Number of MAUs in South Korea: 46 million
  • Popular markets: South Korea
  • Demographics: Evenly spread over all age groups, with slightly fewer 15-19 year-olds (93.8% of mobile users in this age group)

A staggering 97.5% of the country’s smartphone users were active on the app by the end of 2020 – three times more users than Instagram.

A KakaoTalk business channel is free and allows you to keep your audiences up-to-date with your brand. You’ll also have search priority among channels with similar names – and appear as a recommended page. Plus, your customers can buy your products through the platform.

Burberry was the first British luxury brand to launch on KakaoTalk in 2016, giving followers direct access to its Womenswear Spring/Summer runway shows and events. Through the KakaoTalk Gift shop, followers also had the chance to buy select products.

L’Occitane also uses KakaoTalk’s shopping and gifting functions to promote products and offer consumers exclusive discounts. As part of a wider social selling strategy in APAC, L’Occitane’s approach on KakaoTalk helped online sales grow by 69% by March 2021.

South Korean brands use KakaoTalk to advertise events, offers and new products, as well as offer their followers exclusive content. Following similar tactics will help raise brand awareness and give you an edge over your competitors.

KakaoTalk is intuitive and easy to set up for businesses. But, to be truly effective it’s important to work with local experts. They’ll help you define your strategy and overcome potential language barriers on the platform.

XING

A platform that may be on your radar, but that you’ve not yet considered for your brand. XING is the most popular professional social network in Germany. 

Xing at a glance:

  • Number of MAUs across Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the DACH region): 21 million
  • Popular markets: mainly Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • Demographics: Professionals of all age groups but especially used by the over-fifties

If you want to launch in the DACH region or grow your B2B audience there, XING is an essential platform.  

Much like LinkedIn, a business profile on XING will help your European audiences find your brand. Simply creating a company and business profile on Xing will act as a digital business card for your DACH audience. 

Depending on your business goals, actively sharing content and promoting your brand organically on the platform will raise brand awareness and communicate with your followers. Plus, you can target them with paid ads using criteria based on demographics. 

XING ads are similar to LinkedIn in that they allow you to tailor your audience based on industry, company size and job title. But, XING has the added advantage of specific geotargeting, with the option to select a radius for your target audience.

Importantly, your page and ad content should be in German. Depending on your industry and business goals, community management is also something to consider. Work with a localization partner for the best results.

TRILLER

TikTok’s meteoric rise saw the platform attract 340 million new active users between 2018 and 2022. But video-editing app Triller is now catching up in terms of popularity – especially in the US.

Triller at a glance:

  • Number of MAUs: Triller claims it has 65 million MAUs, although this number is debated
  • Popular markets: Mainly the United States
  • Target audience: 17–27 year-olds

Like TikTok, Triller is a short-form video-sharing platform. But it has AI-based editing capabilities, as opposed to the user manually editing and adding filters to their videos. 

In the wake of TikTok bans across US states, Triller became the number one downloaded app in the US by August 2022. When it comes to your US market, Triller could be a safer investment. 

Triller is another local social media platform for brands to market their products and services creatively through short-form video. The app has just secured over $10 million in investments and reports more than 26.5 million active monthly users in the US (more than TikTok). 

Triller is mainly popular among Gen Z, with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Snoop Dogg and Nicki Minaj.

Pepsi was the first brand to launch a virtual hip-hop talent competition in 2020 and chose Triller as its platform. The campaign featured mid- and nano-influencers and emerging artists. With the finale streamed live on Triller, the campaign was targeted to engage Pepsi’s Gen Z customers in the US.

 Although the platform doesn’t yet include ads, you can instead focus on growing an audience organically. For brands looking to reach their younger US audience, creative videos and influencer partnerships on the platform are an effective approach. 

SHOULD YOU BE ON THESE PLATFORMS?

The answer depends on your brand, goals and target audience. If you want to engage a slightly older audience and raise brand awareness in DACH, XING is a good option for B2B businesses. If you have a growing US audience that skews younger, you may want to consider Triller over TikTok.

You can’t ignore popular local platforms if you want to tap into local markets. Finding out which platforms are already popular among your international audiences is key to your channel strategy. Thorough market research will help you navigate which ones align with your international marketing goals and target audiences. Partnering with in-market experts can help you build a successful presence on the right channels. 

There are hundreds of platforms out there, you just have to find the ones that are right for your brand. With local experts to guide you and drive results, there’s nothing stopping you – whatever your budget.

FINAL THOUGHT

When it comes to your global marketing strategy, local social media platforms should be part of your plan.

The first step is to find out which platforms your audiences use. Getting your international market research right and knowing what kind of social content works is a crucial step before you set up a profile.

A marketing localization partner will help you at every stage of the process – from researching your international audiences and creating engaging content to optimizing your social media presence. Whether you want to boost your global social media marketing, or expand into new markets, we can help. Get in touch with our team today. 

 

Image by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash