If you have done your research on this topic, you probably know that there is no universal approach to social media localization. First of all, you need to ask yourself a question: what do you use your social media channels for? Is it advanced CPC marketing campaigns? Maybe you use it as an add-on to your customer service, or simply to build your brand? The strategy will always depend on what you do. After all, it comes down to your target audience and the specific market you want to conquer.
On the other hand, don’t get too frustrated with it. Global social practice is one of these things that can take time getting used to. The most important thing is to discover the way that works best for you. If you don’t think that posting random content to your channels is the best idea, then you’re on the right path. In this blog, we don’t want you to blindly follow our advice, but rather think about how you can apply some of these practices to your social media localization strategy.
#1. Research and Choose The Right Channel For Localizing
You won’t get far without a proper research. Research for your social media localization strategy should tell you where your audience is and how best to reach them. We’re not just talking about the demographics and Google search: In fact, just because a platform has great reach, it doesn’t mean that it will fit your brand. For sure, your reach is going to be wide, but you won’t get any valuable traffic from it. That’s not the best perspective for the future, right?
The best advice on this is to treat each country and channel uniquely. For example, when we were doing our research on the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) market, we found out that there are a few interesting German-speaking communities with SaaS buying potential, including XING, a special social network that’s a bit like LinkedIn. Now we know that Russia has VKontakte and it’s good to do research on WeChat if you plan to target China.
#2. Plan It All In Advance
A social media Localization strategy is never a one-off project, but rather a long-term commitment. As social media trends are constantly changing, you’ll also need to constantly undertake research. After all, you need to remember that, in this world, local cultures change with a blink of an eye, and as much as some social activity can be planned for the long term, it’s more important for your social media to be responsive and flexible.
To create international social media channels that adapt to your market, you’d need a team that handles social media execution at a central level, but that can also be responsive at a local level. The balance between handling the central social media marketing and local social media marketing will probably be a decisive factor in whether or not you should hire new people for this task. Consider that the most important thing about social media is to not ‘miss the moment’ and respond to time-critical trends that are relevant to local audiences. Is doing this centrally going to be effective? Think about it before launching a campaign.
#3. Always Go Beyond Translation
Just as you wouldn’t just translate keywords from English into Spanish and paste them into a new AdWords campaign, you also wouldn’t translate and re-post content in other markets. Would you? 😉 First of all, consider the localization factor: If you’d do that, you may end up sounding pretty awkward, to say the least. Second, look at the cultural localization factor. You always need to remember that what is hilarious for some people, could easily be offensive to others. In the social media world, the potential for a cultural mistake going viral is huge and we don’t really think that’s what you have in mind for your social media localization strategy.
Now, poor translations and cultural mistakes are an obvious result of not taking any steps in addition to the ‘pure’ translation. However, it goes much further than that. Think about the highly branded content that you share on social media. Is the tone of the message translatable? Do your images fit your target markets? You need to remember that Social Media Localization is not really about the translation itself, but more about the understanding of how your brand is perceived, and through careful action, shaping this perception.
Go Big, Go Global, Go Social!