Does Social Media Translate Globally?

Social Media Icons PhoneOver the past few months we’ve been managing agencies in EMEA and Asia Pacific for a provider of governance, risk and compliance management software. The company has been doing exceptionally well and by every independent measure — media, analysts, customers — has risen to the top of its market.

In concert with this global management activity we’ve been working with the client on executing a social media strategy that is right for them. Let’s just say that we’re taking a measured approach given the fact that their customers and prospects aren’t the types you will find on the leading edge of the blogosphere, if you know what I mean.

Recently the company executed a media event in Japan, including a good old-fashioned press conference. The Japanese agency did an excellent job of garnering media interest in attending and the resulting coverage was very good.

But one of the things that struck me about the overall program was the lack of social media. When I pressed this issue, the answer I got back was that social media just hasn’t  taken hold there as much as it has in the US.  I did a little digging on this and found this interesting information about bloggers in Japan based on a survey done by Technorati.  Based on this I would have expected this to have been a more prominent element of the overall program, especially given the fact that according to a story by the BBC, Japan has the second highest level of blogging following the US with China coming in third place.

So what does this tell us?  Well in this case the communications dynamic between PR and the media in Japan is still very traditional, which is probably as much a reflection of the culture as anything else.

Further when I think about our interactions with EMEA, that market also appears to be a bit behind the U.S. when it comes to social media relations.  What’s the lesson in all of this?  The old adage still rings true, even with social media, think globally, but act locally.