Businesses must cater to each local context – have I said that before on this blog? Yes, it is a recurring theme but only because it holds great utility for businesses and it bears consistent repeating. This is especially the case when others are offering the same advice, like say Tom Smith, managing director of the market research firm GlobalWebIndex.

The research firm recently finished their sixth installment of current research that addresses how social media is used in markets across the globe. Interestingly, the research shows that certain indicators are slowing in the US like that of messaging friends which as a behavior fell 12% over the six installments of the research. Other behaviors that fell were searching for contacts (down 17%) and joining groups (19%). These trends are not seen in other markets, specifically emerging markets, where engagement and behavior is on the uptick, especially managing social profiles and uploading videos.

Such emerging markets are Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia where growing access to internet and interest in social media are driving surge in behavior. The behavior currently experienced in these markets mirrors those experienced in mature markets like the US, UK, and Germany during the first 3-6 years the platform was launched. One cannot help but wonder if behavior will eventually slow in the emerging markets the same way they recently have in the US.

Regardless, at the present time, the slowing of behaviors in mature markets and the surge in emerging markets points to a varying social engagement landscape that requires varying strategies by SEO experts and businesses catering to each audience. “The sixth wave of GlobalWebIndex shows increasing fragmentation of the global internet,” said Smith, as quoted in an article by The Next Web. “This creates a more localized Internet, where each market has a different behavior type, relationship with brands and attitudes towards the role of the Internet. The concept that the Internet would drive a singular global culture is false. Brands and content producers will need ever more localized strategies,” contended Smith. This has been a theme of this blog: “cater to the context.”

Looking at the stats it is hard to ignore China who leads the growth of all social behavior as platforms like Sina Weibo, RenRen, Kaixin, and Qzone are bring users from forums and blogging to micro-blogging and social networking.

What SEO Companies and Internet Marketers need to Know:

  • Social media is by means declining, the landscape is only adjusting with declines in some practices in some markets – mature markets.
  • Businesses need to conduct diligent market research on the countries they are catering to, assessing not only the social media platforms that are used, but how they are used by those in that context.
  • Businesses and SEO companies assisting them need to thus choose context-specific strategies (e.g., engage users with more quality content and inspiration or spur them to participate with calls to action motivating them to create content) and be consistent with them to achieve the established marketing goals.

For more information, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com regarding how social media is fragmented across international markets and how this could impact you businesses’ online traffic and internet marketing goals.