From Local to Global: Utilising Social Listening for International Market Expansion

Every small business aims to establish their foothold in the global market one day. Global business expansion requires you to understand varying cultures, build overseas partners, and be ready with technological solutions. 

Also, you must understand the international audience to get insights into their buying behavior, preferences, and mindset. All this can get complicated, especially for a new entrepreneur. 

To establish a presence in the international market, understand the concept of customized marketing first. Customized marketing is developing services and products for certain types of customers. 

Customer segmentation plays a key role in this process. To create customer segments internationally, you must easily access customer data. Social listening can provide the right data and insights to grow in the global market. 

In the below sections, we will discuss everything you need to know about the role of social media in the global market and explore ideas on how to utilize social listening for global market expansion.  

What is Social Listening?

social listening for brand expansion

Social listening is a process that helps you develop a broader view of the customers, competitors, and evolving market trends. You can easily analyze raw data and find new business opportunities by utilizing the right social listening tools and techniques. 

According to ReportLinker, the social media listening market will continue to grow at a CAGR of 13.90% from 2023 to 2028. The key contributors to this growth will be:

  • The increased expenditure on social media listening tools by marketing firms
  • Adoption of social listening by government bodies
  • An increase in the use of social media for international marketing
  • Incorporation of social listening solutions by brands

As we are talking about global business expansion, let’s also think of global social media listening. To conduct global market research using social listening, you must collect data related to the global audience. 

Thankfully, most global audiences use the same social media apps and platforms as we do. With a few exceptions, the majority of international audiences prefer Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn to connect with like-minded individuals. So, when you use social listening tools, you monitor the same platforms but with a wider approach. 

How Can Social Listening Be Used for International Market Expansion?

As a brand owner, there can be different reasons for using social listening for global market expansion. You might want to know about the top brands of a specific international market that belong to your industry. 

  • Social listening will provide you with insights regarding the international audience. You can track your competitors in the international markets to get easy access to global customer insights. 
  • By using advanced social listening and sentiment analysis tools, you can find what the global audiences discuss and feel about your industry. The relevant industry topics and hashtags can be tracked to evaluate customer sentiments
  • You can track your brand name if you have already started a business in the international markets. It will provide insights into what customers say about your brand. 
  • By understanding the common issues faced by global audiences, you can shape your marketing strategies.
  • You can create customer segments by analyzing audience needs, expectations, and preferences. These segments will enable you to define your target audience and create unique personas.
  • Create unique online personas for each segment to develop a pinpoint focus on the target audience.

Global market research using social listening can also help you identify the right channels and topics for your global marketing strategies. 

Examples of Social Listening in International Market Expansion

Many brands plan their global expansion using social listening. Yet, all of them do not achieve the same level of success. Only the brands that know how to use and implement social listening can survive in the international markets.

We can discuss many success stories to emphasize the role of social listening for global market expansion. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

1. Visa – Understanding Requirements of SMB Owners

Global brands like Visa don’t need any introduction. Visa, in particular, uses social intelligence to keep an eye on the evolving digital payment methods and technologies. Yet, they also employ social listening tools to cater to their SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) audience segment. 

For instance, by searching for Twitter bios that start with ‘I own’, ‘I manage’, etc. they get access to SMB owners of all types. With this data, they collect data of SMB users and segment it for future purposes. 

By analysing Twitter conversations, they understand what their SMB audience expects to hear from them. Upon adopting these strategies, the audience sentiment regarding their brand has become 50 to 60% more positive. 

2. Taco Bell – Replying Instantly to Customer Issues 

Taco Bell, the popular food brand is renowned for posting funny creatives and memes on social media. Most of their ideas are generated by listening to social media conversations in real time. 

Their approach towards social media marketing is a bit different than others. Taco Bell is often seen replying to irrelevant conversations just to keep the audience engaged. They also retweet all the positive things that customers say about them on X (formerly Twitter). These activities generate a feel-good factor among the users which works in the brand’s favor.

Taco Bell also uses social listening to improve its customer service. Some time ago, their customers complained about the quality of cheese that was used in Quesalupa. Their social media team took this seriously and sent emails to all the eateries and outlets. The email had the details for making the perfect recipe. Such instantaneous response and proactive approach help them to maintain their online reputation.  

3. Netflix – Engaging Customers through Humorous Replies 

netflix social listening strategy

Netflix is the most sought-after OTT platform today. Its X (formerly Twitter) handle alone has around 6 million followers. The follower count is almost equal to the population of smaller states like Colorado. 

However, things were not always the same for Netflix. During their initial struggling days, they did a lot of research on the internet. They use social listening for international market research to understand the mindset of millennials. 

By connecting with those who only had online friends, they understood that many people crave for attention. They started retweeting the opinions of even those who had a few followers on Twitter. It helped them boost engagement and generate curiosity among the common users. The humorous replies from their social media team further helped them attract more attention from all types of customers.

With social listening, Netflix came to know that many people sleep while binge-watching movies and TV shows. Most brands ignored this issue but Netflix used it as an opportunity to grow their brand reputation. They introduced a feature called Netflix Socks that would identify when the users start falling asleep. 

After detecting this, they would pause the show by sending the required signal to the television. This was not only innovative but also reflected that Netflix cared for its customers. The feature was widely appreciated by customers and they even won a Shorty Award for creatively using the technology. 

Similarly, many such examples highlight the role of global social media listening. You can follow these top brands and use their tactics to re-invent your social media marketing strategies! 

Also Read :  Social Listening For Brand Advocacy: Amplifying Positive Word-Of-Mouth

Best Practices for Social Listening for International Market Expansion

When it comes to using social listening for global market expansion, you have to first understand what social listening is. Social listening is a process of passively tracking conversations on the internet. You not only track social media conversations but also look for brand mentions on forums, communities, and other online channels.

Here are the best practices to help you achieve your dream of global expansion using social listening: 

1. Get the Right Arsenal

The social listening tools will be your arsenal in the war of social media supremacy! So, choosing the right set of tools is essential to win and establish your legacy. 

It can be overwhelming to use a vast array of tools to track customer insights. Global social media listening can be more intimidating as you will have to understand the perspective of the global audience. 

Select the tools that provide relevant context and meaning along with data. Ensure that they offer actionable insights to engage and build trust among the international audience. 

The tools you use must provide insights into these things:

  • Engagement: Whether your posts are engaging the audiences or not
  • Hashtags: Find the best hashtags for your business and track them to evaluate the performance of your campaigns. 
  • Sentiment: Understand the underlying emotions and sentiments of your target audience. 
  • Demographics: Dive deeper into the international audience’s demographics. Look beyond age, location, occupation, and gender. 
  • Influencers: Discover the best influencers you can collaborate with to create engaging and relevant content for your audience. 

2. Set the Objectives Straight 

Before you start using social listening for global market expansion, dive deeper into your brand objectives. That is, the things that you want to achieve with social listening. 

For instance, if you want to improve your customer service using social media listening, focus more on feedback and user reviews. To measure the performance of campaigns, you can track the campaign hashtags and sentiments. 

3. Don’t Just Track Brand Mentions 

If your sole interest is in monitoring brand mentions, you may not grasp the true purpose of social listening. With social listening tools, your focus must be on understanding the type of content that resonates with the international audience. 

The relevant topics, the latest industry trends, and popular debates should be on your radar. While it is necessary to track brand mentions, you cannot leave out the broader conversations. 

Let’s say you manufacture and distribute eco-friendly packaging in the B2B market around the world. Your focus must not be only on the sustainability strategies of your international clients. You must also track the latest innovations in paper manufacturing and public sentiments regarding the environment.

A broader perspective will help you tap into the mindset of the international audience. Explore customer viewpoints on diverse topics to find engaging content ideas. Talk with industry experts and influencers to understand the common issues of the customers. Weave your content around customer issues and offer comprehensive solutions.

Your focus should be on emerging as a thought leader in your industry. At the same time, you must ensure that you don’t hurt anybody’s sentiments or feelings for the sake of being creative. 

4. Segment the Audience 

audience segmentation

While you perform global market research using social listening, you will have to process vast amounts of data. The right analytical tools will help you find new business opportunities by exploring the industry gaps. To develop a better understanding of the international audience, you must create diverse audience segments.

Integration of advanced social listening tools will help you create customer segments. Then, you can focus on curating relevant and personalised content for each segment.

You can customise your content and messaging in a way that caters to specific audience groups. By adding a personal touch to customer communications, you can improve conversion and accelerate your conversion rate. 


These were a few ways of using social listening for market research. Customer preferences, needs, and aspirations may vary according to geography, age, and other factors. However, the process to understand their mindset and emotions remains the same. So, the tools you employ to understand the global audience determine your success rate.

Konnect Insights is an omnichannel customer experience management suite. It lets you listen to customer conversations and dissect their emotional trigger points. With the wide array of social listening tools, you can find exactly what customers expect from your brand. 

Managing customer data is bliss as this platform allows you to integrate over 3,000 applications. Contact them today and find new business opportunities in the international markets! 

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