In the context of the current social media boom, e-marketers may be surprised – if not shocked – to learn that the majority of companies are not taking social media communication channels very seriously…or at least not yet. As Econsultancy’s ‘2010 Social Media and Online PR’ report found, 40% of the companies have “experimented with social media but not done much”, while only 26% of the business respondents said their senior managers were eager to adopt social media procedures.
And what’s most baffling is that a mere quarter of marketers say they would run multilingual campaigns in more than one country.
There’s no need to bang the drum for the benefits of social media marketing in allowing a business to directly connect to an audience and delivering remarkable return on investment. So, instead of restricting yourself to a monolingual social media presence, why not expand it globally when you can do so at the click of a button?
With a mere 31% of internet users being native English speakers, and over 80% of netizens preferring to browse in their mother tongue, the need for multilingual social media marketing campaigns is more critical than ever. As more and more marketers are likely to hop on the digital marketing bandwagon in the months to come, establishing a global presence across all social media platforms will help increase your brand awareness and make you stand out from the competition in a definitive way.
Going social and multilingual is a pretty straightforward process – however, there are a few intricacies to keep in mind if you want to reap the maximum benefits of multilingual social media marketing. The following five tips will make you a social media power user:
Do your homework
Depending on your exporting experience, you may or may not know which markets to target. There are some nifty online tools, such as Google’s Global Market Finder and Google Global, which can help you gauge the online markets for a particular product per region. Most businesses tend to gravitate towards the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and CIVETS (Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) countries as examples of emerging and highly lucrative markets.
Once you have identified the right markets for your product, you should engage in some in-country market research: what social media platforms do locals use, what is their disposable income, what are their spending habits, are there any cultural intricacies that need to be addressed? Allow as much time for research as needed and be ready to incorporate any findings in your digital marketing strategy.
Twitter? Create separate accounts for each market
Twitter has turned into the definitive vehicle for businesses wishing to spread their message. But there’s one caveat: however tempting it may be to create one account and tweet from it in different languages, bear in mind that your followers in Turkey, for instance, will not have a clue what your Chinese tweet means – and vice versa. It doesn’t take much to annoy – and alienate – the Twitterati.
If you take the time to create separate accounts and manage them locally, however, your feeds will have a more personal feel. An individual approach can work wonders!
Translate but don’t forget to localize
Automated translation tools may be free and help you get the gist but as far as business is concerned, you can’t afford to take the risk. Even Google Translate’s creators have conceded that it is imperfect in rendering the nuances of discourse, be they Facebook updates or quick thoughts Twitter style. It certainly pays to invest a little in hiring in-country native-speaking Twitter editors who would be switched on about local social media intricacies.
Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and most recently Google+… if you’re serious about wanting to establish a solid social media presence, you should engage on all fronts. Don’t forget that the communication channels popular in the English-speaking countries are not the be-all and end-all of social media. Renren in China, Yandex in the Russian-speaking world, Orkut in Brazil, and a host of hyper local social networks… if you’re looking to expand to the respective countries, establishing a presence on these social media platforms is probably your best bet.
Social media is all about interacting and engaging with one’s audience so don’t just broadcast your message – create discussions, encourage conversation, and you’ll soon see your social media influence take off.