Spice up your social media game with the right localization strategy

Last Updated August 10, 2017

A global Facebook page is a good idea unless you really want to… go global. As much as 41% of big international brands have at least one local fanpage. Those profiles have grown twice more than their global sisters and register 50% higher engagement rate. What is more, an experiment conducted by Mindjumpers (a global social media agency) showed that geo-targeted posts are six times more successful than universal, global posts.

Of course you can chose to have one, global profile for your brand and communicate in one language (usually it’s still English) but in that case don’t expect much of users’ engagement. What you should do instead is to embrace the possibilities given to you by a global network – you can find a lot of your existing and potential clients in one place, isn’t that great?

It doesn’t mean, however, that you should treat them as a whole — if your audience originates from different cultures you can be sure that they will think differently, they will want different things and they will perceive your brand in different ways.

1. Track your audience

When you decided to start a career as a social media specialist/manager, you probably dreamt of flexible working hours (meaning a morning coffee on a terrace and a slow breakfast), being able to work from wherever you want (just look at that inspiring view of the southern coast of France!) and uploading some cute dog photos to your client’s Instagram. The truth is that the biggest part of any social media job is…analysis.

Yes, good old stalking skills are a must-have in the social media world, especially if you (or your client) aspire to go global.

You need to know your audience before you click “publish” for the first time. It may come as a shock to some people, but (wait for it!) Facebook is NOT the most popular social network in all countries. People in different regions use different social media, just to mention V Kontakte (the most popular platform in Russia) or QZone (China). On the other hand, Facebook has over 100 million users in India alone. This only reaffirms that you need to do your research well before investing in one channel. You should also remember that people use Facebook or Twitter in different ways — check what kind of content is most engaging in your target market.

But tracking your audience does not come down to the social platform itself. You need to know which language is preferred by your clients (especially if you’re targeting a multilingual market like Canada, Switzerland, Benelux countries or India), which dialect they use or whether there are any specific words that are characteristic for the region in question. Basically, speak your client’s language (but please, don’t use Google translate).

2. Localize your profile

When you decide to have multiple Facebook profiles for each of your location, don’t make them identical. Remember about the information tab and the company’s bio. They should include the local address, phone number or an e-mail to the regional office. Instead of linking to the main corporate webpage, try to create a landing page that explains why you’re present in this particular area and what’s your focus there. If you don’t have time or resources to do that, just make sure the links direct your customer to the proper language version of your site.

Localize your profile and cover photos and make sure you’re using the local language to communicate the basic facts about your brand.

3. Make sure your content is localization-ready

Content is king and anyone working in online marketing knows that. But what makes it so special is that it triggers certain emotions, helps your audience to form an opinion about your brand or position you in a way you want to be perceived by your customers. The tricky thing here is that people from different cultures perceive the world differently. So if you have multiple local social media profiles you should diversify the content accordingly.

The best strategy is to always have in mind that the content should be localizable. People responsible for creating it for the purpose of a global brand strategy have to remember to leave some margin for a text written in a different alphabet or accept some changes to the colors palette. On the other hand, while localizing the content, you must be extremely culturally conscious. Respect the norms and rules of the local community. Find out what’s offensive to them, what you can and cannot do. The best strategy is to prepare a culture style guide for each of the target markets.

Translating articles, infographics or website content is quite easy, but it’s not enough. All these elements should be also localized  to enable better insights into your brand’s identity and help to reach the local audience.

4. Stay in the loop

Make your brand more accessible and more native-looking by showing your audience that you care. Local communities are often more united and more conscious about their origins compared to country-wide ones. What you want to do is to share nationhood with them. You can become a local advocate by sharing news relevant to the local people, not only that associated with your brand. Participate in events, engage with other local brands and get to know who is who in the region.

Make sure you’re also up to date with hashtags, buzzwords or top influencers in the region. Employ geo-targeting tools to follow every important data and use it! This way you’re aware of what’s going on at the moment and you can be a part of any important event or debate, which will increase the users’ engagement in your brand’s life.

So go flirt with your audience like a true Frenchman. Be passionate about your product like an Italian. Sweep your fans off their feet with accurate and informative content like a German and become a global citizen of the world of social media with your localized brand strategy.

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