Include Localisation in Your Social Media Strategy
Dec 09, 2019 ● 8 min read
Localization is a very complex process. Especially when it comes to social media. However, it's safe to say that the benefits that come with a well-localized social media page considerably outweigh the invested time. Unfortunately, many businesses are still unaware of this.
If you've extended your brand overseas, merely translating your content into a different language isn't necessarily the best way to approach the situation. Especially considering the cultural differences between the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Whatever your target market is, localization is the only viable way to address the cultural sensibilities of a region and create compelling copy to advertise your products or brand on social media.
In this article, we'll take a look at the reasons and the benefits of social media localization, and why you should invest your time and effort into it.
Let's dive right in, shall we?
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Very often, people use translation and localization interchangeably — and it's a gross mistake. While the two share a vast set of similarities, it's important to underline that their differences set them miles apart.
Both processes aim to translate meaning from one language to another. The central difference, however, is who or what the text is adapted for.
Translation, as a linguistic process, transposes meaning into another language by following the common linguistic standards of the target language.
Localization, on the other hand, isn't as fixated on canons. Instead, it is preoccupied with serving the people that speak a particular language. For instance, think of all the other places in the world that speak French, outside France — Congo, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Belgium, Haiti, and so forth.
Considering that localization is a more human-centric facet of translation, it's no secret that it has a broad spectrum of benefits in marketing. Social media marketing is no exception. This is especially valid if your social media presence is a channel for amassing a larger potential customer base.
One important study that has validated the importance of localization in marketing and sales is the "Can't Read, Won't Buy" paper, published by the Common Sense Advisory.
The study at hand clearly shows how people dislike the idea of buying products advertised in languages other than their native. Here are some significant numbers that the study communicates:
- About 70% of subjects browse sites that publish content exclusively in their native tongue;
- About 70% of subjects affirm that they predominantly buy products advertised in their native tongue;
- Nearly half of the subjects are willing to pay more for products advertised in their native language.
Another very important piece of data that puts the above numbers in perspective is the fact that only about a quarter of the people in the world speak English to a certain degree. As a result, not localizing your content, along with your social media presence, causes you to miss out on a significant amount of exposure and revenue.
Now only will localized content engages your audience more, it will also attract more traffic to your site because people can associate with your content.
Higher engagement means more shares, likes, and comments, which, as a result, will grant you more exposure in the target market.
It's also important to mention that according to a recently published report, nearly three-quarters of the engagement happening on brand pages on social media takes place on local pages and not the national ones. This indicates that people care about things that are happening in their part of the world/country.
Therefore, if you're trying to build a presence in a few countries that speak the same language, don't hesitate to walk the extra mile and localize for regional peculiarities, rather than just translating into their official language.
Language helps us navigate the world. Going the extra mile and localizing your social media presence, along with your content, will show your customers that you care about them. You're making an extra investment in order to provide them with extra value. This will most certainly be taken into consideration.
An adequately localized website and social media will gradually lead to a better online and offline presence.
Similarly, this creates a user's sense of proximity to the brand. It's no longer just an organization overseas that just ship products into their country — it's a business that is now in their reach, culturally and linguistically. It's a brand that speaks their language.
The fact that localized content attracts more comments can provide businesses with invaluable input. It's the type of feedback that allows a company to better calibrate their products and services to a foreign market. This eventually leads to better marketing campaigns, better promotions, better offers, and better pricing.
- Always Opt for Native Specialists
It's very hard to overestimate the importance of working with a native when it comes to localization, specifically because they're a part of that culture.
For instance, you can hire specialists from one of the services at Pick Writers. They will provide you with the best English to Russian translation, but only a native Russian speaker has the first-hand experience when it comes to the linguistic peculiarities of a particular region. They think that language, not just understand it.
Working with natives will skyrocket the quality of your localization. It is also a great idea to hire a native social media manager who will be the copywriter for your social media posts.
- Mind Your Language
It's worth noting that localization comes in many layers. Yes, we can localize for Belgian French, but that doesn't mean that just any Belgian French will appeal to various strata of a population. Different parts of a population speak different languages.
If you're a company that advertises or sells cosmetics, simply localizing for a specific region is excellent, but will it be able to appeal to your target audience? Not necessarily.
Especially when it comes to social media, we need to make sure that the wording associated with our social media presence and our marketing materials are appropriately worded, so that they can appeal to out potential followers and customers. Make sure that there's an addition stylistic layer lain over your localization.
- Experiment with Cultural Elements
We, as humans, experience the world around us through a wide variety of prisms, and culture is a significant one.
Cultural elements are an invaluable instrument for successful localization. However, it's essential to underline that they also constitute a risk, when misused. Choosing to insert a cultural element in your company's branding can help you connect to the locals at a much quicker rate, but making the wrong move can cost you your reputation in that market.
Unfortunately, there's a wide array of examples of how international corporations have messed up their advertisement and marketing by being culturally ignorant. As a result, these mistakes took a significant toll on their reputation and revenue.
This is an exciting example of how Gillette has explored a very important cultural element to tap into a specific subset of the Israeli market:
It helps you create personalized connections.
When it comes to localization, there's also more than just text. To better integrate into a new business environment, a company can make changes to its brand colors, the fonts it uses for branding, the content it publishes on social media, and even the design of its website.
- Have a Focus Group
A valuable investment that can prove the quality of your localization is a focus group. Native professionals can ensure that your content is written in a language that is near and dear to the hearts of the inhabitants of a specific country. However, a group of locals will be able to tell you how they feel about your content in great detail, thus enabling you to further calibrate your style and approach.
- Have a Knowledge Base
If you're looking to keep your localization consistent throughout channels and products, it's vital to have a well-established knowledge base. In a nutshell, it's a guide for the specialists that'll work with your future translations or copywriting in a specific language that will contain detailed instructions regarding voice, tone, and the essential terminology.
As we've mentioned previously, localizing your brand experience for potential markets is a crucial step a company can take to increase revenue, develop brand recognition, and establish an emotional connection with their clientele. Similarly, social media is an excellent channel for localization, considering the exposure and the insight it can offer.
Any company can tap into localization, as long as it approaches cultural research with due diligence and works with native specialists.