Facebook accounts everywhere, a nightmare for a marketer in a big international company. Your brand is scattered all over the place, campaigning is a lost cause, brand protection far away. Is there a way out of this mess?

Why do you think you need only one account?

Let’s start with the basic question, why do you think you must have only one Facebook account for your organization? I work at Lely, Lely is an international family business in the agricultural sector and at Lely we spend every day making farmers’ lives easier with innovative solutions and tailored services. We have defined Facebook as a marketing instrument mainly used to support our brand. And there is only one Lely brand. The theoretical reason for Lely of having one Facebook account is thus clear, one brand, one account.

Organizational challenges

Theory…you got to love it when it comes into practice. At Lely we are present in over 60 countries. The countries where Lely has more customers usually have a larger marketing department. These marketing departments are very capable to run their own marketing. As a global marketer I feel it is my duty to support these regions. I am a firm believer that a regional marketer has a better local knowledge than a global marketer and will thus be better in his marketing job locally than I am.

Then there are also smaller regions, who might not even have a marketing department. That does not mean that marketing is not important in these regions. You really need marketing everywhere, trust me, I am a marketer. Maybe there are even new regions where you like to introduce your brand, hardly any resources available. There are so many different organizational setups and challenges and we need to cater for all.

The customer

Wait, aren’t we forgetting the most important part? Our customer? Would a customer in the United States really care about the Facebook posts we write in The Netherlands? I am pretty certain this person is not. Being local is getting more and more important in marketing. Not so strange, knowing your customer, being close to your customer is nothing new.

Wow…how do we solve this complicated scenario? Customers who prefer local messaging, a worldwide organization, multiple local marketing teams, a global marketing team and all under one brand? The sum of the parts needs to be greater than the whole. That is your challenge as a global marketer.

Facebook Global Pages

Let’s start with the customer. The customer needs to be facilitated first. Try to discover what is important for your customer, look at the figures. Facebook has a great analytics platform. In our case we discovered one the most important things was being local. We need to be close to our customer, in our mindset, in our way of communicating and in physical distance.

That means you can’t use Facebook in the normal way. What a customer sees in the United Kingdom must be different than what a customer sees on your Facebook page in Canada. You can solve that with regional and language targeting and still use one normal Facebook account. But, now you are faced with regions that are fully equipped to run great local marketing. They really need their own Facebook account, their own events, maybe their own advertising. Only…more Facebook accounts means you are scattering your brand over more accounts. That’s not strengthening your brand, it is the opposite.

Luckily Facebook has something called Facebook Global Pages. Let me quote Facebook: “Global Pages is a framework which enables brands and businesses to provide localized versions of their content for their customers all over the world. With Global Pages, you can maintain one universal brand name, total fan count, vanity URL, and global insights across your entire fan base.”

The true benefits

That sounds great! We have been using it now for over a year and it really is, I don’t have any Facebook shares, honest. At Lely we have one mother page which is the Lely Group Facebook page and that pages ‘captures’ all regions where we do not have a local Facebook page. On this page we use regional and language targeting to make sure people are still able to read messages in their own language and meant for their region. On a global level we support regions there.

The bigger regions run their ‘own’ Facebook account, but not as you might know it. All local Facebook accounts are linked together under the umbrella of the LelyGroup Facebook account. This gives great advantages. Facebook ‘knows’ that Lely Austria Facebook account serves people from Austria and will direct Austrian people coming to the Lely Group account to the local Lely Austria Facebook account.

Facebook also knows that Lely Austria Facebook account is the same brand as the Lely Group Facebook account and therefore connects them and sees it as one brand. Not only from a customer point of view this makes sense, but also from an advertising point of view. Because everything is integrated under one brand your total audience goes up, your advertisement costs per individual go down. And remember the organization? They keep their ‘own’ account, but under one brand.

I call this a win win win solution

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Image source: Facebook