Guest writer, Dana Dragomir
Whether you’re a global brand like Coca-Cola, or an e-commerce business that ships globally – your entire internet presence was likely carefully crafted to handle the world from day 1. On the other hand, if you are a small business looking to expand into a new market, social media strategy can be more demanding. Here are some tips to help you start managing a multi-lingual social media presence, and here is why it’s important to do it right.
The amount of “local language” users on the Internet is expected to increase to 42% by December 2016, with an impressive 180 million active internet users accessing websites and social media in a language other than English. Overall, the proportion of English content published online is also shrinking, down to 27% from 25%.
Users care. Less than 1 in 5 Europeans would buy a product from a website not in their native language. 20% of non-anglophone social media users have un-followed a brand because of a lack of content published in their preferred language.
Unfortunately, only 23% of social media content is actually translated into local languages currently, even though with only 10 languages, brands could reach over 80% of the world’s population.
If social media is about building relationships with consumers, then brands must behave respectfully towards users’ local language and culture. If you are entering a new market, here are some important considerations to help your brand start their multi-lingual social media strategy:
At the most basic level, your brand must establish which territories it will operate in, what major social media platforms are used there, and which languages are spoken.
Once you have established which platforms you will be using, you will need to make strategic decisions about how to set up your accounts and pages. Does your following warrant separate accounts for each territory or language? Or do you prefer to have main accounts on each platform, with posts that are targeted by location or language?
Here are some of the advantages and challenges of one approach over the other for Facebook.
|HOW IT WORKS||PRO||CON|
|ONE PAGE||One global Facebook brand page with targeting options by language or location||· Enhances branding
· More consistency
· Streamlined management
|· Rigid targeting options mean content is not always optimally tailored|
|LOCAL PAGES||Multiple pages for each location or language||· Creates a sense of community
· Caters to local culture, customs and events
|· Dilutes the fan base
· Can cause confusion
Keep in mind that Facebook is gradually rolling out its Global Pages feature to resolve this very dichotomy, but it is not widely available yet. You can learn more about Global Pages here.
Each platform has different targeting features available. Facebook for example, allows you to limit your post’s audience to users from a specific territory or who speak a certain language. Twitter only allows you to target posts by territory. To add to the confusion, these parameters are completely different for paid advertising, so you will need to understand exactly how to target based on these features.
Lastly, keep in mind that there are sections of your profile that, unlike ads or posts, cannot be targeted – such as the “about” section on Facebook or your featured video.
The easiest way for most companies starting out in a new territory is to create content centrally in one language and then have it translated and adapted to local markets appropriately. Your brand can also pepper in content that caters to local culture and traditions.
On the other hand, if you decide that your presence in these markets is significant enough that they deserve custom content generated by local experts, it is important to come up with procedures to help you maintain consistency in your branding.
How will you handle translation? What about community management in each language? How will your KPI differ in each market?
These are the basic questions to help you start your multilingual social media strategy.
ABOUT DANA DRAGOMIR
Dana Dragomir is a content marketer and social media strategist based in Toronto. She helps brands leverage digital relationships to reach, inform and impact their intended audiences. Passionate about all things social, technology or innovation-related, she is also an avid photographer and creative writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn!