Glocal: (adjective) Reflecting or characterised by both local and global considerations.


As the relationship between brands and consumers becomes increasingly influenced by social media presence, it can be problematic for social media managers to assume that ‘one feed fits all’. Recent trends suggest that consumers are becoming increasingly community- conscious, often opting to support local companies over corporate giants. As a result, globalised brands are adapting their social media strategies to suit both their global and local audiences. This has been dubbed a ‘glocal’ social media strategy.

With our eye always on brand success stories, we spotted  Starbucks as a prime example of how a big business can execute well a glocal social media strategy. The coffee chain doesn’t only localise its in-store experience for customers (offering unique regional delicacies such as ‘Early Grey Jelly’ in Japan chains and a ‘Red Bean Frappuccino’ in Pacific Asia), but also runs multiple social media accounts across the different regions they operate within. In total, the brand has 87 social media accounts across its geographical locations, including 39 Facebook pages and 27 Twitter handles.

Their social media use allows the brand to maximise engagement with international followers, gain a broader understanding of specific target audiences and to remain reactive to local consumer needs. At the same time, Starbucks manages to remain consistent with their brand image and in their responsiveness to customers, both online and instore.

So, how do they do it? We’ve put together some top tips for keeping on top of your global-local social media game:


  • Define a ‘master brand’: It is important for your mission statement and values to be universal, relatable, instantly recognisable and easily adaptable to suit your social policy at any given time. For example, Starbucks use: “to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, one neighbourhood at a time”, which correlates to all of their current social impact aims (such as sustainability, ethical sourcing and creating career opportunities for minority groups).
  • Stick to a theme: Aim to stick to one colour scheme, font and filter across your social media channels. This should align with your brand image and will not only look slick, but also emphasise the consistency of your brand. As well as your online branding, you should think about standardising your product quality, customer care and benchmarking process.
  • Do your research: Watch out for cultural barriers- research local laws, taboos, holidays and religions. Hire a native speaker in the regions your marketing in; Google Translate might be handy for ordering your lunch on holiday but not for when you’re addressing international customers. Some words and phrases will mistranslate, causing sloppy advertising (at best) and, in a worst-case scenario, potentially offensive miswording.
  • Engage, engage, engage: Start conversations with your customers, respond to queries, complaints and positive feedback, produce engaging content and show examples of how your brand connects to the community. Starbucks frequently engage with their audience, responding to almost every piece of feedback they receive, creating a community of loyal customers. Whilst it’s important to cross promote, Starbucks customise each post to suit its specific audience.
  • Have fun! Don’t let your posts become dry and monotonous, the aim is to create a buzz around your company and product!


Don’t underestimate the importance of a great global-local social media strategy. 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others (Source: Ambassador). Investing in a glocal social media strategy is key; not only can your online presence boost brand awareness overseas, but it can build invaluable trust and respectability amongst your international customer base.

Of course social media is one component of a brand strategy, and Starbucks struggled to replicate their success across the board, accruing losses of over $100 million and closing many of its 90 stores in Australia in 2008. It is now slowly rebuilding its business, to 49 locations Down Under.

At The Tonic, we’re experts in social media management and customer communications. Give us a call to chat all things glocal: 0115 824 8254 or get in touch via our own social media channels.