How big brands use social media globally

From Budweiser and Coca-Cola to Starbucks, how global giants connect with fans across markets, languages and platforms.

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In Russia and Ukraine, Facebook is an upstart against the established local Vkontakte. China is an ecosystem of its own featuring Facebook and Twitter knockoffs.

But in every market, “the trends are all the same,” says Maarten Albarda, vice president for global consumer connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev, which bottles Budweiser and about 200 other brands.

“People love to connect. People spend large amounts of time on [social media]. People like to share things.”

AB InBev, as it also calls itself, is one of a host of companies using social media on a worldwide scale. Coca-Cola maintains one primary Facebook page that looks different depending on the country where you access it from, whereas Ikea has multiple sites organized by market and language. Its Facebook pages are different in Canada and Australia, for instance.

Chinese challenges

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