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Guide to International Social Media Localization

International Social Media LocalizationAround the world, social media in all forms is becoming one of the most important topics for international marketers. Social media is influencing how businesses conduct all facets of their marketing, sales, and customer support.

In order to reach your current and potential customers, listeners, fans and friends from around the world, here are a few tips when conducting an international social media campaign.


Identify the Local Market

Identifying local markets is the key to building a successful social media strategy. There are several initial questions you need to be answered in order to identify the local market properly.

  • What social media platforms do the locals use? Which platform is the most effective for your business/services?
    If Twitter and Facebook are the most active networks in your target market, but you are B2B manufacturing company, then maybe you will need to focus on video marketing or select LinkedIn groups instead.
  • What are the cultural traditions of the local users?
    The culture of your target market is extremely important. Businesses need to localize communications and make sure they are culturally appropriate, timely and persuasive. Understanding your market’s holiday calendar, seasonal celebrations, and religious traditions, as well as sports and culinary preferences, are all part of the local culture you need to develop content around.
  • What is the language commonly used on the local social media network?
    It is important to decide what is the most effective language to be used is for communications on the targeted local social media. Some marketers would like to have fully localized content for social media while some marketers will choose to have bilingual content. For markets like the UAE which is full of expats, a bilingual content strategy is the best tactic to follow.
  • What are common social media behaviors for local users? What are the trending topics in the local market?
    You should always try to figure out where your offer will meet the most demand. You should constantly research the behavior of social media users in the local market, their trending topics and what the local market segments are talking about.


Build a Multilingual Content Strategy

A lot is being said today about not just starting a dialog and making posts on social media, but companies need to have a solid overall content strategy. Language is part of this strategy. The need for multilingual content is more critical than ever. Some marketers tend to focus only on their native content strategy and forget to develop a multilingual content strategy for the local markets. Many major brands now believe in language specific content marketing and are devoting time, talent and tactics to their presence in foreign social networks in order to be successful in these markets.

There are several important tips for building a successful multilingual content strategy:

  • Translate and localize your content (by a professional translation agency if necessary)
  • Modify your content to be more useful and informative for social sharing
  • Focus on the local trends and updates in the target market or locales
  • Optimize your social media profiles’ content and messages for locales and target language

For more information, check our blog post: How to Create a Content Strategy for Multilingual Content.


Define Your Social Media Channels

Your website is one of the most powerful online channels available to your organization to communicate effectively with your audience. However, your customers are increasingly using their mobile phones and tablets to communicate through social media platforms. You ultimately need to establish your presence on the social media channels where your global customers can find you, receive updates and offers and communicate with your brand. A key element of your international social media strategy should be to define your channels and reach out to your customers and wherever they are.

World Map of Social Networks 2021


Local language has a big impact on the use of social networks. In Germany, Twitter is not very popular due to the nature of the lengthy German language, as Twitter is limited to 280 characters. As well, some local networks are purely native. This means that you need to speak the native language to even exist on those networks. If you want to expand your business in Russia or China, these big markets and their popular native language social networks and users may not even speak English, so providing content in the local language is a must.

And let’s not forget about the political and governmental environment in local markets. The rules and laws and the ability to censor content can impact what you can post on some countries’ social networks. For instance, according to Google, Saudi Arabia alone is the biggest user of YouTube per capita worldwide. YouTube is the most popular network for Saudi users due to the internet blocking of websites that contains improper content. I would always advise online marketers who are targeting the Saudi market to focus on video marketing and YouTube ads.


Managing the International Social Media Accounts and Campaigns

Optimizing your global social media accounts and campaign management requires expertise. I would recommend using the services of a professional localization consultant and a native-speaking team to provide effective training to your team to manage your social media accounts or have them handle it for you. You will need to address several factors while managing international campaigns in addition to what I mentioned above:

  1. Consumer behavior is not the same for each country or locale
  2. Tracking results by country and language is critical to allow you to optimize campaigns
  3. Managing communications (posts and replies) in different time zones requires the right staff
  4. Reading and interrupting various reports. Some local social media channels provide different insights and metrics than your typical global social media channels
  5. Some popular social media platforms don’t work in all languages
  6. Optimized Blog Development and Design: Providing web design and development services for your blog
  7. Multimedia translation: Providing multimedia translation for your local markets which include YouTube video translation, social games localization and graphic translation.