Your social media presence may be a hit at home, but that doesn’t mean it will reach, engage, and motivate international customers. This is where social media localization is 👍.
Unlike a new logo or a software update, social media content isn’t something to roll out globally. It must speak the same language as each local market, both literally and culturally.
Not only can a direct translation of text come off the wrong way in target languages, but images and even colors that are perfectly acceptable in one market could be wildly different in another.
For example, in North American cultures, green signifies things like freshness, health, and environmental sustainability. In certain South American countries, however, it represents death.
Here are some suggestions on how to localize your social media for maximum global impact.
10 Tips for Social Media Localization
1. Localize for Platforms
Many countries restrict access to various social media outlets within their jurisdictions. Preferred methods of socializing online vary around the world.
Posting on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to engage potential consumers in China, for example, would fail no matter how eye-catching the content. You can’t access these platforms in China.
Despite this, China is the world’s largest social media market with users choosing other popular social media sites such as Douyin, WeChat, and Weibo.
2. Localize for the Users
No one is going to engage with something that is irrelevant to them. Do your research on the local target audience before you create any content for them.
Much more than simple translation, localization is the transformation of your content so that it appears to have been made by and for the target market. This requires an understanding the cultural differences between markets.
Will they be interested in what you have to offer? Can they afford it? What are their buying preferences? What are their ‘pain points’? How competitive is the market? How old are they?
Remember, you need to understand the local market on a deep level to deliver the kind of personalized content that works best on social media.
3. Localize for Cultural Norms
Every culture has the potential to relate differently to your content if not properly localized.
For example, in Japan, red indicates anger and danger, while in China it suggests joy and festivities.
Even the way a post is viewed can differ, with a sequence of images, for example, being viewed left-to-right in some countries and right-to-left in others, completely changing the meaning if the same post is used in both regions.
4. Localize Using Influencers
A familiar, trusted face builds confidence between a brand and local consumers. Invite relevant and local social media influencers to introduce your brand to their followers.
This not only gets your brand noticed, but it also makes your audience feel that you are part of their community.
5. Localize for Language
Text-based social media posts that are used across different regions will need to be translated. However, as posts are mostly written in informal language (slang, regional phrasings, local idioms, etc.) this can be a challenge.
Effective localization ensures that meaning and impact remain intact, even if you change the actual words. Customers want to know you have their needs in mind.
If your copy reads like a Google Translate cope and paste, you might lose the customers’ trust. People don’t want to feel like an afterthought.
Localization covers your digital content, products, and services in the local dialect, but that’s not the entire list. Localization also includes:
- Address formats
- Date formats
- Units of measurement
- Market-appropriate colors
- Market-appropriate graphics
- And much more
6. Localize for Tone of Voice
People interpret social media posts in different ways by different societies.
For example, the way young people communicate with their elders or a simple conversation between members of the opposite sex may contravene social norms when translated directly.
Localization takes these differing interpretations into account, re-working the text to respect cultural values while keeping the essence of the original post.
7. Localize for Regional Events
Tailoring content to what is happening locally is essential when making social media relevant to your target audience.
In China, Single’s Day generates more sales than Black Friday does in the United States. It takes place on November 11 each year, with all the 1’s in the date representing people who find themselves outside of a relationship.
Whether it’s a breaking news story, a special occasion, or a shopping holiday, posting like a local is a great way to make your brand part of the story.
8. Localize Pop Culture References
Social media posts that refer to sports teams, celebrities, and television shows, for example, will need to be adapted to make the same point or evoke the same emotions using more locally relevant references.
9. Localize for Appearance
Images shared via social media should include people, locations, and cultural references from your target market.
The wrong national flag flying in the background, a well-known building from another country, or a car driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road can be a real geographic give-away.
10. Localize Symbols and Units of Measurement
When adapting social media posts for a country that speaks the same language—such as content originating in the UK being adapted for the US market—it would be a mistake to think that localization is not necessary.
Among the possible changes required are currency, dimensions, and other symbols and conventions that apply to a particular region.
Social Media Content for Global Business
At Summa Linguae Technologies, we know that your business’s goal is not simply to post content that the target audience understands, but to engage with them, stimulate a conversation, and build a relationship.
To make an impression in a new international market, it is necessary to not only localize your website, but also to localize your social media.
Localized social media posts have the power to make or break a company’s international marketing efforts.
If you want to know which localization solutions will be most effective for your social media campaigns, .
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