I’ve been doing some research on the Irish SME sector and the role of blogging in companies’ international marketing strategy. There aren’t many doing it yet so it’s not possible to draw many conclusions. From the outset I proffer three points: A blog is another channel to raise awareness for your company. A blog is a great mechanism to anchor your Social Media Marketing strategy. A blog can only be one of a number of your international marketing activities. Today I am looking at [/caption] http://www.ceramicx.com/en/2009/12/to-measure-is-to-manage-infrared-heating/ Kelvin is a chameleon and like infra-red, cannot be detected. Ceramicx plan to use Kelvin more in the future. Other Social Networking Platforms They have a Facebook page but are not yet populating or building it in any meaningful way. Likewise, they have a limited number of videos as yet to upload to YouTube. Both of these platforms are on their list for increased activity towards the end of 2010. Social Bookmarking They are doing limited bookmarking at the moment but expect to increase this activity in the future. Commitment Ceramicx is committing significant resources to its eStrategy and Social Media Marketing strategy: the maintenance and online interaction on its active social networking platforms is in the region of 5 – 6 hours per week. Multi-lingual markets Frank lived and worked for many years outside Ireland. He believes one of his key strengths is communicating with his non-English speaking clients and prospects in a way that neither party is disadvantaged by a lack of fluency in each other’s mother tongue. He regards it a joy of his professional life that he is privileged to work with people in places as diverse as the Middle East, China and Germany. • If we care to interact and communicate with the customers in these regions – we can do business. • By interacting in their language – we are INCREASING our chances of being successful. • Its about the 3rd Step of Globalization – Acting and Marketing your business like a local player. • With the Internet – this means using a “local” website, with local languages that can meet local requirements. Ceramicx, within normal business constraints, is consequently committed to communicating in the local market language. Ceramicx’s website is currently translated into 9 languages. The degree of translation is dictated by Ceramicx’s activity and prospects in that market. Their foreign language websites have been up for more than 2 years which has helped google ranking in those local markets. Frank Wilson, MD Ceramicx Their blog is not yet translated but it is in their future planning. As revenues grow in each foreign language market they will be able to pledge further marketing resource. At the moment Ceramicx is profiled in each country as a.com vesus .de (for Germany, for instance). They may in the future move to local country hosting. Measurement In Frank’s own words “To manage is to measure”. Ceramicx will only continue with its SMM and eStrategy if the analytics confirm that its initiatives are working. And they are! Headline Figures are for last 4 months versus the same months in the previous year are: • Website Traffic is up 176% • Unique Visitors up 180% • High success in 14 of 15 English Key phrases (targeted phrases with volume) • High success in 32 of 36 multilingual key phrases (same as above) • Major increases in website traffic from 24 of 25 countries • Organic Google Search Traffic up 170% • Organic Yahoo Search Traffic up 170% • Direct Traffic up 85% SEO Granite Consulting (www.granite.ie) support Ceramicx’s e-Strategy with SEO. They have identified 9 key phrases in English for optimization: highly trafficked terms. Blogs and content reference these key words and phrases. They track traffic via google analytics and google alerts to identify where Ceramicx is being mentioned. In the past year Ceramicx has reduced its google ad campaigns as its organic ranking has significantly improved as a result of consistent and good content posted to its blog. Links Granite also does a lot of work with Ceramicx in relation to link building: identifying relevant sites with which to link: identifying individuals within those organizations to contact and making the contact – with relevant “business case” to request the link. Online Reputation Management At the moment their activity and tracking is limited to Google Alerts and management by requirement. They expect to have to pay more attention to this in the future as they extend their activities across platforms and in more countries. Social Media Marketing Policies As it is only a few key individuals within Ceramicx who are creating content and representing the Ceramixc brand online, they have not felt a need to develop SMM policies. Conclusion Ceramicx is wholly committed to building its brand and reputation using Social Media Marketing: its blog and linkedin are its key social networking platforms currently but it expects to develop and exploit other platforms in due course. To-date it is pleased with the results it’s achieving and the ROI (return on investment) for its marketing budget. The figures speak for themselves! Do you know of any Irish companies who are successfully blogging for international business? Please share your experiences.