Businesses that want to excel and grow understand that a strong social media marketing strategy is a must. They recognize that a dynamic presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms sets the stage for powerful customer experiences. It encourages interactive relationships that drive customers to become emotionally and personally invested. So, if your company has taken social media marketing to heart, how can you be sure that you are getting the most from your efforts?

The simplest way is to ask this one question: how global is your social media marketing strategy? According to Statista, there were more than 70.5 million Brazilians registered on Facebook as of May 2014, along with 60.3 million people in Indonesia, and 26.5 million in Japan.

Of course, the list goes on, but the point is that social media is a global phenomenon, and your approach to it should be equally global. There are many ways to refine your online social presence, including more frequent posts and quicker responses to comments, along with more photos and graphics, giveaways and contests. But there is no more direct path to start reaching more potential customers than by tuning your social media marketing approach to international audiences.

Here are some key steps to consider.

Choose Wisely

Your global social media marketing strategy will depend upon where exactly your prime international markets are located. Based on these markets, segment your social media audience and understand exactly what languages your marketing efforts will need to speak and what goals you will set for reaching users in each country.

Check to see if you can use the localization feature on major social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn; otherwise you will need to create new pages for your various markets.

Talk the Talk

Once you have prioritized your markets, to truly engage with customers, you must speak their language. That means that your social media marketing efforts must be accurately translated and culturally appropriate.

While online translation services are helpful to a point, in order to ensure true sensitivity and accuracy, it’s critical to enlist an experienced translation agency to help. The wrong words might not just be ineffective in reaching customers in South America or Asia; they could be offensive.

Remember that the specifics of a particular language may vary from country to country; Spanish across Central and South America is not exactly universal, just as the spelling of certain words varies between the United States and the United Kingdom. Also note that the tone of the social content you post matters. For example, Japanese culture discourages boasting, so posts that are clearly self-promotional may not be received well.

Monitor Global Events

In general, your social media marketing should be sensitive to events and important milestones wherever your customers live and work.

For instance, you may stage social media communications so that they coordinate with common interests leading up to certain holidays, like the Christmas or the Chinese New Year in China; you may also want to make sure you are not actually asking customers to shop or interact on days when they might be celebrating or worshipping.

Similarly, your communications should be sensitive to tragic news events around the world, and informative and helpful when appropriate.

Be Relevant

While your content from market to market should reflect milestones and unique events as they occur, it should also reflect individual perspectives from these markets. Consider using in-country local contributors for content, including blog posts. In general, your content should be relevant to issues, products, and events in each market.

Check In-Country Social Networks

While Facebook rules the global social media game, many country-specific social networks are extremely important to international customers, and you should consider how your organization can participate on these platforms. For instance, QZone and WeChat in China have hundreds of millions of users, and Bebo is the second largest social network in the U.K.

Also, depending on the country of focus, you should consider the internet bandwidth in that country. In many countries, the internet could be slower than in the U.S., so when creating content internet speed should be accounted for.

In the end, your social media marketing strategy should be global because your audience is, and the fact is that companies are increasingly understanding the importance of international trade. Remember, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and the majority of global economic growth in the next five years will take place abroad. So, if your company is not already reaching international customers, then maybe it’s time for you to start. In any case, optimizing your social media marketing strategy to global audiences should be part of the plan. After all, those global customers you are seeking are increasingly part of the digitally-driven Millennial Generation, and social media is their thing.

In the coming months, getting your social media marketing efforts and your global plans on the same page could make the difference between finding new customers and losing ground to your competition.

How is your business using social media to reach global customers? Let us know at @DHLUS.