In this article we discuss the benefits of localizing your social media channels when targeting markets overseas, and the detrimental effect it can have on the overall success of your business. Whether you own a small local cafe or a large national company, successfully localizing your social media channels should be an essential part of your online business marketing strategy.
Social media platforms help businesses to connect with their customers, increase brand awareness, and boost their leads and sales. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every day, it comes as no surprise to know that it can drastically improve many factors within your business.
Research shows that the younger generation tends to not respond to traditional advertising in the same way as previous generations. Instead, they rely on social media as a “word of mouth” type method and are therefore, more likely to purchase or interact with a product or brand on their social media channel as opposed to a TV or magazine ad.
What is localization?
Localization is the adaptation of a product or service to meet the needs and interests of a particular language, culture or country. More specifically, with regards to social media, localization can also refer to the adaptation of social media channels and online marketing strategies, to ensure that it effectively appeals to a specific audience. For example, rethinking factors such as visuals, currencies, seasons, traditions, and the way in which a product is marketed online, will better help businesses meet the expectations of their international customers.
Localization involves adjusting content and brand messaging so that it is meaningful and relevant to a variety of audiences with different cultural backgrounds and experiences. Content localization is more than just translation – it requires cultural understanding as well as language fluency.
Why is localization important?
Website and social media localization helps businesses to reach a higher number of potential customers, increase their brand awareness, and as a result can lead to higher revenue. For example, if your business is based in the UK and you would like to start selling in China, then in order to break into the Chinese market successfully, it’s crucial that you optimise your social media channels specifically for Chinese consumers. This means that it is crucial to research beforehand, so that your brand is operating on the most popular Chinese social channels, as opposed to a popular western platform.
However, simply translating the content on your social media channels, such as the text, currency and images, is not enough. You should instead consider other cultural factors that could impact your content, such as fashion, religion, time zones, seasons, language, celebrations, etc. as by doing so, consumers will feel as though they are able to relate to and trust your products much more.
Furthermore, your service should be relevant, and your posts should also be appropriate. For example, while it may be summer in some parts of the world, other parts are in winter. Therefore, it wouldn’t be sensible to post about sipping cocktails in the sun, if your target audience is walking around in winter clothes.
To make your content meaningful and relatable for a variety of different audiences, you need to:
• Research beforehand and show your selected audience that your content is focused on their needs
• Produce content that is meaningful and relevant to your audience
• Try to avoid cultural offense or disagreements (this can be prevented by thoroughly researching your target audience)
• Create an environment of inclusivity on your social channels
Here are just some of the benefits of localizing your social media pages:
Localization makes a brand appear more customer-focused
Today, customer focus is at the centre of every business. With 89 percent of all companies competing primarily on the basis of customer experience, customer focus has never been more important. Something as simple as localized content, be it a social media post or a blog article, can hugely improve the overall customer experience, no matter which country you are targeting.
When brands can relate to their customers and imagine what they’re thinking or feeling when shopping for their services or products, it helps them to create a more positive and efficient shopping experience.
Localized social content builds trust
By offering content in a way that customers prefer, makes it easier for them to connect with a brand, and therefore helps to build trust and credibility. Furthermore, when social media followers find content relevant and easy to understand, they will appreciate that you’re making an effort to communicate in a way that’s convenient for them and will be more likely to buy from your brand.
For example, if your brand posts about an event on social media that complements the local culture and holidays, it is much more likely to receive a better response and will encourage more prospective customers as it shows that you are focusing on their needs as opposed to just communicating your brand messaging.
Localized social content encourages online interaction
If people find content relevant and easy to understand, chances are, more people will engage with it. For example, if someone sees something interesting and appealing on social media, then they are much more likely to click on the link and go to your website, share the content with their friends, start a free trial, or sign up for a newsletter. It is also important to take on board any feedback received on your social media pages.
Localized content directs more traffic to your website
If customers can see that online content is tailored to their unique circumstances, preferences, and experiences, they will be much more likely to click on your website or browse your social channels.
Here are some things to consider in order to increase your online traffic through social media localization:
• Include your local website’s URL on each of your social media profiles
• Create social posts about events in a specific location to maximize the relevance for your target audience residing in that particular area
• If you adapt your website for every language as well as localizing your social media channels, it will bring more visitors to your site
• Add links to your social posts, especially when introducing a new service or product
• Localized blog posts provide great content for social media channels
Localized social content can increase sales
There are many ways in which social media content localization can help you to improve sales. First and foremost, it makes your offers more relevant and interesting for customers.
For example, what could seem like a good deal in one country, might be too expensive in another (there can be regional variations too), which means that you should also consider the percentage of special offers, discounts and online codes when sharing on your social media channels.
Furthermore, if your target audience speaks another language, adjusting the content of your site will not only to help it rank on search engines such as Google and Baidu, but it also means that it is far more likely that your visitors will actually convert into customers.
In addition to localization your social media channels, consideration should be given to website localization and translation. Using plugins like Weglot makes the process straightforward helping you to automate the process using machine or manual translation.
Respect for Cultural Values
When localizing your social media content, make sure that you consider the cultural values of those you are trying to reach. Your main objective should be to reach out to your audience in a way that shows respect and understanding for their history, values, and culture.
Here are some factors to consider when localizing your social media pages:
• Different cultures have different standards of appropriate behaviour
• Demonstrating knowledge of current events that impact your target audience
• Certain attitudes and brand voices may not be well-received in some societies
• Being aware of holidays/celebrations/events and knowing which ones are the most important to that culture or country
Although it’s tempting to create generic social media posts to translate and repost, it is much more advantageous to both your brand and any potential customers, to localize your social channels properly. By doing so, it demonstrates that a brand is much more serious about the local market and it is not just superficially interested in its customers.
It goes without saying that social media is a crucial part of any business’ marketing strategy, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming to manage. Why not use professional translation and localization agency, HI-COM, to help with your social media localization?
With extensive experience in technical and marketing translation, HI-COM are the perfect option for businesses seeking support and guidance.