Improving Global Social Media Presence With Content Localization


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The reason people talk about the “world-wide-web” is that it is where people quite literally from all over the world can find a common location to gather together. This also means that people from all around the globe are gathered together waiting to be sold on the next “latest and greatest” innovation in virtually every niche in existence. No short term business strategy is complete without a reference to an online marketing campaign replete with a strong Social Media presence. No business growth and expansion, short term or long term, can be complete without actively seeking out and engaging a more global market and expanded customer base.

Online, “Content is King” is more than just a catchy phrase or another expression indicating that it is important. Content is quite literally the heart of every online marketing campaign. The information that is conveyed in the content online will ultimately be the determining factor that decides whether the business will be a success or just another company that fell by the wayside. The key to successfully gaining a larger market share on Social Media for the business depends on the ability to actively engage in a business and social media strategy known as “Content Localization”. More complete information about the meaning of Localization and Globalization can be found here.

What is Content Localization and its Role in Global Marketing Campaigns

Traditional business advertising and marketing campaigns are all about touching people on a personal level. This generally involves creating some type of emotional trigger and that providing some resolution to the emotion that has been triggered. Create a need or a desire, and then provide a solution for that desire and sell them on the solution. How are they sold though?

When the initial phase of the marketing campaign addresses an issue of personal concern to the person being marketed to, it creates an emotional trigger that can then be aimed and manipulated to generate the desired outcome. Content localization is all about conveying information to people in a manner that will not only make them feel as if they are being addressed personally but through the inclusion or creation of additional triggers that will ensure the desired reaction.

In terms of Content Marketing, this may be made either easier or more difficult, as there is a great deal more room to deliver information and to create a far superior number of emotional triggers to be manipulated. At the end of the day, the localization of any global social media marketing campaign should be to establish a deeply rooted, local connection to the people being marketed to, no matter what the product or service may be.

Speaking to people on their own terms is one of the major benefits of content localization and this may be further enhanced through the introduction of other “visuals” that further indicate the person selling the product is at the personal level of the person being marketed to. One of the primary means of accomplishing this feat in content marketing is through the selective use of language and marketing to people in their mother tongue. There is an old (but still gold) article here that provides some relevant information about globalization.

Content Localization Through Professional Translation Services

One of the primary means of connecting people with a business is through the use of language. Imagine the pleasant surprise the customers will have when they sign up to an email list or monthly newsletter in English but begin receiving emails in their native language. What about when they view the promotional videos for the company and discover either audio or closed captioning script in their own, native language? Professional translation services can even assist in things like Podcasts and other audio productions in order to provide a complete experience all in the native language of the target market.

It may be very tempting to have that friend that comes from somewhere to serve as an impromptu translator, or in some cases, freelance translators may be used. Translating from English to Spanish or translating from Spanish to English is something that can be done by someone found on virtually any street corner in Los Angeles right?

Hey! That kid from Spain speaks Spanish right? Did he offer to work as a cheap translator? So why not have him serve as a translator for the marketing of a business in Los Angeles where even the local markets require language specialists? The end result, however, will be that a bunch of Mexicans and other North and Central Americans will see all sorts of little language “errors” in the translation that, even if they are not errors per sé, will not be native to the local Spanish speaking population.

This is true because even though the base language is the same, the local idioms, vernacular and even figures of speech and words will often have different meanings. The same can be said for the variations and differences between American English and British English. While the differences may appear minor to the average speaker, even simple instructions such as giving directions to a home or a business can be completely off the mark.

These problems are surprisingly common without someone who has that intimate local knowledge on a native level working as the translator for social media campaigns. Imagine the reaction from the target market when they are given improper directions to the business location? Such translations, no matter how perfect they may be in the native languages of the translator, are not going to help increase business sales. These problems are often overlooked in other aspects of localized global social marketing campaigns, most notably perhaps in the use of pictures and word-based “visuals”.

The Importance of Cultural Understanding in Translation Services for Social Media Marketing

All of the company representatives from all over the globe have gathered together for a conference, and someone snaps a bunch of pictures to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and in other areas relevant to the global social media marketing campaign. What could possibly go wrong? Except perhaps alienating an entire nation of more than one billion people from the list of potential customers.

What is in the picture? What is showing that should not be?

Is anybody noticeably biting down into a juicy hamburger or tearing into that freshly grilled steak? Is anyone sitting with one leg propped up on the other with the soles of their feet exposed to the camera? In much of the world, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with any of these acts individually or even all of them collectively. Anywhere in the Middle East, however, showing the sole of the foot is considered to be offensive, as it is in India and the surrounding nations there as well. Beef is further considered taboo as food as the cow is a sacred animal and even worshiped in many locations. Since there are more than one billion people in India, and more in the Middle East, that is alienating a large portion of the potential customer base, merely because there was no understanding of the local cultures.

In parts of Europe, terms that are derogatory in nature, but not objectionable to the point that they would alienate anyone, are often used to describe both males and females. However, in other parts of the world, these same words would be highly offensive and viewed as misogynistic and again, alienate a large portion of the audience and the potential customer base.

Many of the cultural norms of Asia are highly offensive to Americans, including guys walking down the street holding hands or making a sound that would be considered “blowing a kiss” in the US, merely to let someone know that they are behind them, generally carrying a heavy load. Driving in Asia is also a challenge for many Americans. In fairness, and just for fun, there are quite a few articles online like this one in Business Insider, that talk about things that are fine in America but often offensive in other areas of the world.

One of the primary benefits of using professional translation services for global localization, is their ability to hire people specific to individual markets and intimately familiar, not only with the local language but also the local culture. Professional translation services also have the ability to get all of the sales materials and other document translations done both on budget and on time, which is another very important factor in the nationalization of a global marketing campaign, even on social media.

Time Sensitive Global Marketing on Social Media Campaigns

Pick any nation in the world and then take a guess at how many holidays there are. Now add in all of the rest of the countries in the world and take a new guess. How many holidays are there in the world? Probably far too many to count. Still, holidays are a prime time for sales and advertising campaigns. What global social media marketing campaign would be complete without a celebration of the many different holidays in all of the targeted countries?

Truth be told, it is always important to have all of the document translations and other work necessary for the marketing campaign to be completed on time. Would anyone pay attention to a “Black Friday” sales pitch that did not come out until the following Monday? Would that increase sales or take away from the solid reputation built by the company? The localization of global social media campaigns is all about expanding the potential customer base and not about alienating people.

Celebrating local holidays, talking to people in their own language, and especially being able to point out local features and points of interest to people will all help to trigger the emotional responses necessary to close the deal and to keep them coming back for more. This is especially true in terms of global social media marketing campaigns where information and influence are often the primary products, and even they are being given away for “free” to people using social media sites. Still, if the product and delivery are not delivered on schedule, it should be expected that even someone spending all day checking their social media sites will probably be unsubscribing in short order.

What Online Services Should be Localized for a Global Social Media Marketing Campaign?

1. Where in the World do You Expand Your Business

One of the first steps for the localization of a global social marketing media campaign should be determining where the most viable markets exist for the product or service. Nations like the People’s Republic of China often have their own variations of popular social media sites and actively block sites like YouTube and others behind the “Golden Shield” also known as the “Great Firewall of China”. Thus, the Chinese may not be the first choice for video translation for a popular YouTube channel.

Smaller, less developed nations may not have the necessary level of discretionary disposable income needed to purchase all of the latest and greatest gadgets. People in India are probably not going to be ordering a great many hamburgers or steaks from that new and innovative online business selling beef online.

A good deal of research should go into establishing a viable and meaningful marketing plan for the business. Additional consideration needs to be taken by the company in order to determine the immediate needs for marketing, the short term growth potential and requisite campaigns, and long-term growth and expansion proposals.

All of these will factor heavily into which languages will have to be translated to and from, which holidays will have to be considered, which cultural standards must be adhered to and a host of other information relevant to a successful international social media marketing campaign. After a determination has been made defining what the newly targeted markets will represent, efforts should be made to update all of the relevant materials in order to accommodate the new and vastly expanded customer base.

2.Translating Your Website for Global Localization

Translating the website should be easy right? Not so fast though. A literal translation from one language to another may be fine, but how much of the market are you going to lose that way? Translating the website provides the business owner with an incredible opportunity to blend their products and services with the local markets on a more local scale. Changing little things like that steak dinner to a reference for a nice curry may make the difference between alienating the new visitors or getting them to give you their contact information. Do your homework and implement all of the localization strategies relevant to the local markets.

3.Content Localization on Blogs and Other Content Areas

Content Localization such as that on Blogs, content for Reddit and subReddits or for other major content-based social media websites should also include a local flair for the target audience. Literal translations may be great and even necessary for legal contracts and other similarly dry topics, but content marketing like any campaign or strategy should include a means to motivate the base and generate an emotional response in the reader. Preferably this reaction will be one that leaves them wanting to come back for more and not one that alienates them forever.

4.Lead Generation through Opt-In Forms and Signups

The whole idea behind generating leads is to gain specific knowledge about the potential customer. Include things like their native language, their location down to the city or township at least. At such a time as there is a large enough portion of any group in a single section of the customer database, it should be explored whether or not this is a target worthy of a more focused marketing campaign, either through social media or other business marketing practices.

5.Localization of E-Mail Marketing Campaigns

Again, rather than using literal translations of a single marketing campaign, take the opportunity to use the email marketing strategies to their full potential benefit. Include local references in the newsletters and other materials, including reminders about posts made to social media platforms.

6.Ensure Social Media Posts are Acceptable to the Target Audience

Again, some research regarding the cultural norms and standards of the targeted marketing objectives should be taken into consideration. Posting that picture on Instagram is all fine and good until it begins offending people and causing massive numbers of followers to unsubscribe. Pay attention to the needs of your customers and your customers will pay attention to your needs as well, likely by remaining loyal customers.

7.Video Translation Services to Expand YouTube Influencer Status

YouTube is one of the largest social media platforms and offers one of the largest potential audiences, with some YouTube influencers having more than one hundred million followers. Closed Captioning is indexed by the search engines. Closed Captioning in foreign languages will likewise be indexed, and be factored in when people are searching for the content of those videos in their native language. Furthermore, even a great many people watching YouTube videos in their native language do so with the volume off. This may be because they are at work or for other reasons, but video translation services can increase viewers, followers, influence and increase the bottom line in business sales.

Summary of Localization Strategies for Global Social Media Marketing Campaigns

The localization strategies for a global social media marketing campaign will require some homework, some research and a great deal of consideration into the potential for growth in the individual markets being considered for expansion. Even after all of that has been decided, the real work has just begun. In some instances, it may be better to hire a translator as a full-time employee, in other instances the vast range of languages and cultures involved may require the services of a professional translation agency. Even then, careful and complete consideration of their culture and someone with local knowledge should always be prepared to review the materials at hand. After that, however, the world may literally become your proverbial oyster, and not only is the success very sweet, the pearls (of wisdom and reward) can be very profitable indeed.

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