In today’s hyper-digital age there is no question that most companies and brands have drunk the Social-Media Kool-Aid. Companies understand that building brand loyalty and awareness goes way beyond having a glossy brochure, slick ad or even a polished, sleek website. Customers want to not only be simply marketed to, they want to be educated, heard, delighted and engaged. Social media has become the (mostly) unfiltered platform where companies can fully and directly engage with the consumer and show their customers that they really matter.
Digital marketing strategies now routinely include a social media component ranging from a company LinkedIn page, a Facebook account, Twitter or Pinterest presence – or all of the above. Companies recognize that in order to remain competitive, retain and win new customers they need to engage the consumer in fresh and compelling ways.
Expanding Your Social Media’s Global Reach
For global companies and brands, having a solid social media strategy in place is vitally important but it is only a starting point. Companies will now need to figure out how to adjust it for a global audience. How exactly should your company translate their English social media content? What should be translated and how? Does all content get translated in all target languages? Does some content remain in English? Is other content provided in a bilingual format? And what channels do you use to post your social media content for users world-wide? These are all valid questions that require us to dig a bit deeper to make sure we hit the mark with social media translation. Here are a number of things that require some thorough consideration:
- First, translation does not equal translation. A literal translation for any off or online content is never the answer. Nowhere is it more important to appeal to your target audience with the right tone and voice than on social media platforms where you are talking directly to your customer.
- Culture. Culture. Culture. Educate yourself about the target audiences’ culture. Study your target market to ensure your communications are compelling and well-received as opposed to coming across as insensitive or offensive.
- Stay on top of trending topics in each locale/country you are trying to reach. Trending topics vary widely by country and region and change rapidly, so always stay informed and study local trends.
- Research the social media behavior of your target market. People from different cultures and regions may engage and behave very differently from one another.
- Don’t underestimate a region’s or country’s political and governmental landscape. Rules and regulations may differ greatly from country to country. Censorship, although almost unheard of in the United States, is quite common in places such as Saudi Arabia and China.
Identifying the Right Global Social Media Channels
What exactly does the global social media landscape look like? Let’s take a look at the social media channels most prevalent in different countries/regions of the world.
Interesting Country Facts about Social Media:
- 91% of the Chinese online population is on a social media platform as opposed to only 67% of Americans.
- There are over half a billion active social media users in China.
- LinkedIn is most prevalent in the US, UK and Australia but is looking to expand globally.
- YouTube, globally, is most popular in Saudi Arabia.
- Japan declared Twitter its official social media emergency response system.
What Those Stats and Facts Mean for Your Global Social Media Campaign
It means that one size does not fit all. It requires skill and expertise to adapt and customize your social media campaigns to your global target markets.
Tips for Social Media Globalization:
- Optimize your campaigns by constantly tracking results by region and locale.
- Recognize differences in consumer behavior and adapt your strategy accordingly.
- Manage global communication effectively.
- Optimize your content visually.
- Understand that some social media platforms work better for some countries than others. For example Twitter is less popular in Germany partly due to the 140 character limitation and the tendency of German words being very long.
- Utilize multimedia whenever possible. Videos, games and overall interactivity can have a hugely positive impact on the level of engagement of your global audience.
- Listen to the noise. Global brands are more and more eager to gain greater insight into what is being said about their products or services on social media platforms around the world and are now partnering with companies that specialize in monitoring and filtering online content not just in English but in many other languages as well.
Additional Resources from GPI
Globalization Partners International (GPI) has developed a suite of globalization tools to achieve internationalization and many of the goals listed in this blog. You can explore them under the Tools sections of our Translation Services. GPI also offers internationalization and globalization consulting services and can evaluate your application. Partnering with GPI before you localize or translate your application will ensure that you avoid many mistakes and will also save you considerable time and money on your localization projects.