Localization: The key to a global social media presence

With the prevalence and accessibility of digital marketing, it has never been easier for consumers to connect with their favorite brands, and vice versa. Beyond the world of digital advertising, companies are flocking to social media, blogs, and influencers as ways to find and keep loyal customers. It’s easy to get excited by all of the possibilities presented by digital marketing – particularly social media – for those looking to reach an international audience.

Social media can help to foster a special, personal bond between a company and consumers. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, brands can strengthen their relationship with customers and present new deals, products and contests. Posts on social media sites are able to be less formal than traditional advertising or email marketing messages, often including quotes, puns, jokes, and pop culture references. This casual tone highlights the human side of a brand, allowing consumers to more easily feel connected to it.

Complications arise, however, when companies look to expand their presences to new cultures and languages. Brands will often create new social media pages corresponding to these new target demographics and hire translators to rewrite their existing posts. What is important to remember here is that there is quite a difference between translation and localization.

Through translation, text is converted from one language to another, often word-for-word. Localization, on the other hand, converts the overall meaning of the text to ensure the original intent comes through.

Brands need to focus on localizing – transferring meaning from one language to another, so that the overall message resonates with each distinct audience. Directly translating content often gives customers an empty, disconnected feeling, because they don’t trust that the content was written with them in mind. It is very difficult to foster a loyal customer base without adapting to the cultural differences that make our world so diverse.

Instead of attempting to create universal content and avoiding cultural differences, embrace them to create special bonds with your customers. Use the wisdom of your employees – or the experience of a global team like within ModSquad – to provide deeper cultural insight and understanding. You will no doubt create a better experience for both the consumer and the company.

Remember that unlike traditional advertising platforms, social media is a two-way street. Speak and be heard, but also be ready to listen and adapt to your community’s needs. That reciprocity will put you one step closer to establishing an effective social media presence.

Benjamin Steenholdt

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