There is a favorite practice among digital pundits: when they want to describe the vast reach of social media, they will compare social networks to nations. You have probably heard it said that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. For their parts, Twitter would be fourth and Google+ would come in at fifth place. In fact, six channels would rank among the world's most populous nations (Figure 19.1). Such comparisons not only underscore social media's popularity, but can also help a brand succeed in the expanding social ecosystem.
Imagine doing business for the first time in a different country, say one of the so-called emerging markets. As a group, these countries are some of the fastest growing economies in the world. Their aggregate populations account for about one-third of all consumer spending worldwide, and they have regularly outspent their American counterparts for the past five years. What is more, emerging market economies are extremely diverse, from behemoth China to up-and-coming Bangladesh.
Although still relatively new to the global economic stage, each of these countries already has an established set of social and cultural norms, customs, currencies, laws, regulations, and infrastructures that influence their marketing practices. They are not new—in fact, they existed ...