Strategy, alliances and identifying the appropriate channel: the key factors for building up an international audience through the social networks

DIPLOCAT holds a seminar with European and Latin American experts with a view to identifying good practices and the key factors for the successful use of the social networks

DIPLOCAT today held a seminar on the role and the potential of the social networks in helping organisms with limited resources (such as not-for-profit organisations, for example) in their efforts to launch international campaigns and communicate their messages to a foreign audience. The seminar was 100% digital and began with an introduction by the Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, Laura Foraster i Lloret, who unequivocally defined the vital importance of communication: "In today's world, nothing can exist without communication." She also highlighted the numerous opportunities presented by the social networks: "Despite the existence of certain threats such as those posed by campaigns of disinformation, the opportunities created by the use of the social networks outweigh the dangers."

Original version video (soon with subtitles):

The moderator of the seminar, the journalist Toni Aira, a lecturer and doctor in Communication Sciences and the Director of the Master's course in Political and Institutional Communication at Pompeu Fabra University's Barcelona School of Management (BSM), then presented the speakers: Alexandre Jacques, the Head of International Digital Media for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourism Board; Dante Licona, the Manager for Social Networks of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; David Lesvenan, the President of the Breton Association .bzh; and Cristina Serrano, the Director of Communication and Events at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB).

Alexandre Jacques spoke about the importance of defining a long-term communications strategy and of selecting social networks on the basis of such a strategy and of the audience we wish to address. He also talked of the need to make objective analyses and to build up lasting alliances and partnerships, using free resources and presenting an image that is as attractive as possible.

For his part, Dante Licona emphasised the importance of communicating in the language of the target audience and of shareability, i.e., the generation of content that can be easily shared by users. He agreed with Jacques about the need to define objectives effectively and of choosing the appropriate channels of communication on the basis of the objectives defined, of the budget available and of the intended recipients. With regard to the Tik Tok algorithm, he referred to the need to identify the most popular current themes, audio interviews and trends.

Cristina Serrano spoke about media buzz and innovation during the pandemic. More specifically, she referred to the need for collaboration with organisms with the same values and for new formats, and gave the example of the Bridge Project and the redesigning of its annual conference in 2020, transforming it into a documentary based on interviews. She also talked about the ability to respond rapidly in a fast-changing environment, and the importance of using recipients' own language.

Finally, David Lesvenan explained the campaign carried out by his organism to be able to create an official emoticon incorporating the flag of Brittany (#emojibzh), and recounting how they were inspired by the work of the Fundació puntCAT. He advised organisms wishing to engage in initiatives similar to his own entity to search for partnerships or alliances that can be of a highly diverse nature, ranging from the traditional press to advertising agencies, other partners with the ability to mount communication campaigns, and even football clubs. He also mentioned the importance of using already existing networks and of carrying out campaigns that are authentic and transparent, based on statistics. He said that another vital factor was to be a good time manager and to establish a calendar of events so as to maintain the dynamics of a campaign and to improve the capacity to react to unforeseen circumstances.

Drawing on the main ideas and key pieces of advice discussed during the seminar, DIPLOCAT will follow up by creating a series of infographics with recommendations for making effective use of the social networks when addressing international audiences. In an environment that is increasingly interconnected, fast-changing and digitalised, the social networks have a key role in addressing international audiences and provide an excellent opportunity for small organisms, local government authorities and NGOs that are not blessed with large budgets. In this way, through the definition of a communication strategy with visually attractive images, good planning and the right partnerships and alliances it is possible to have an international impact.