This blog entry was submitted in support of my 24 hour blogathon for the Vancouver Food Bank (donate here to help feed hunger and poverty). Thank-you Cindy King for all of your support. What an eye opening and incredible blog entry and video. Thanks!
Here it is:
Can You Use Social Media To Get International Sales For Your Business?
As a small business owner based in France targeting North American clients, social media makes good sense for me. And it works my business. Why? Because there are no significant barriers created by cultural differences between the social media I use and the people I connect with.
If you want use social media to develop your international business, there are two things you need to remember.
You will need to develop strong international sales negotiation techniques.
This comes with practice. But you must be willing to put in the personal effort needed to develop these skills.
Adapt Your Business
Have a look at the 5 different cultural scales outlined by Geert Hofstede:
· High versus Low Power Distance
· Individualism versus Collectivism
· Masculinity versus Femininity
· High versus Low Uncertainty Avoidance
· Long versus Short Term Orientation
What are these scales? They are an attempt to categorize and explain cultural differences.
I will not go into them here, but click through the link above. It is a very interesting table. You will see scores for a long list of countries for all 5 of these scales. And you can choose your country and another one to see how the two sets of cultural differences compare.
Although these 5 scales seem complex and they have their limitations, it is easy to understand why you need to approach people from different cultures differently.
And International Social Media?
Read the news and open your ears. Social media has hit the world everywhere. Here are a few points to remember:
· There are different social medial platforms in different countries
· What is popular in one country may not be popular in another one
· People use social media differently
It is not easy to get international social media statistics. And I am not sure I would even begin trying to get a comprehensive world vision of social media.
I suggest another approach…
Instead of taking on the whole planet, simply because social media is “free’:
· Keep your business in mind.
· Choose one country and jump into their social media environment.
Do not start with social media marketing. Instead:
· Start with social media networking
Get to know how people use social media in their country and then work on finding out how to adapt marketing your business in this new country.
There are some international social media networking scenarios where it is easy to create business relationships from a distance.
If you have any international social media stories to share, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below and tell me how you have used social media within part of your sales process.
Cindy King is a based in France. She uses her dual background in sales & marketing to help businesses improve their international sales conversion and develop country-specific international sales guides. Connect with her on Twitter @CindyKing
To Donate the the Vancouver Food Bank Click here or the image below. Every bit helps!