Just because you can travel the world with the click of a mouse doesn’t mean you should. To stay competitive in a global market, brands need to back their social media efforts with a strong presence in the real world. At a Social Media Week panel on social marketing for global markets last week, experts shared their best practices for marketing with RenRen, Mixi and other international networks.

Moderated by Cohn & Wolfe digital practice president Chad Latz, the panel included representatives from social-savvy brands like Johnson & Johnson and MasterCard Worldwide who offered refreshing tips on how to use social networks based outside the US to reach out to customers around the world. Our sister blog PRNewser brought home four great takeaways from the panel:

1. Be Flexible

What works in one market might not work in another. Advised Devon Eyer, Johnson & Johnson’s social media director, “Local deployment should belong to each market, but we need guidelines for best practices.” In other words, have a plan, but be prepared to change it.

2. Customize Local Content

“Content should be customized locally, and should be socialized everywhere,” said Michael Jaindl, chief client officer at Buddy Media. “That means across the Web, not just on social networks.” And in developing countries where access to the Internet is  limited, “Mobile platforms need to be social too.”

3. Get Involved in Global Charities

Giving back to the community is an excellent show of goodwill when you enter a new market  – one of MasterCard’s favorite charities is Stand Up 2 Cancer, which raises money for collaborative research by letting donors name stars after their loved ones. Birenbaum also advised brands to partner up with another company “you believe will have heavy impact, be an important part of your corporate reputation, and drive brand affection.”

4. Listen to Customers Everywhere

Sometimes that means setting up satellite offices in other countries, while other times  it means building a better tracking software. Either way, said Liz Birenbaum, MasterCard Worldwide’s global digital marketing VP, “It’s a missed opportunity if you don’t understand the chatter about your brand.”

Conversations don’t just happen on Facebook and Twitter. On the popular Chinese network RenRen, users were raving about Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.S.,  Jeremy Lin’s winning record with the New York Knicks, and Malachy the Pekingese dog’s top prize at the Westminster Dog Show.

For more details, check out the original post here. The video below shows some statistics on who is using RenRen and other social networks around the world:

Image by sevenke via Shutterstock.