The key concepts of multilingual social media campaigns

The social media market has boomed over the last decade with approximately 2.46 billion users worldwide in 2017. As a result, there is a high level of competitiveness amongst different social media brands to become the public’s most popular platform.

The functions of different social media platforms can vary widely and there’s always a platform that is specifically designed to suit your individual or business needs. Social media is not restricted to personal use. It is an essential component in a business’ marketing mix and is used by 86% of business owners. Social media provides an important link between companies and their customers and is a great way to showcase a brands personality, product/service offering and customer care.

The most successful businesses look for trends and incorporate them into their social media strategy in the hope of getting more views and followers on their accounts. An example of this is how Coca- Cola noticed that their brand was being linked to a discriminatory term against the LGBT community in Brazil across multiple social media platforms. The expression “this Coke is a Fanta” was used in Brazil to describe homosexuals and caused discomfort within the Brazilian LGBT community. As a result, Coca-Cola wanted to challenge this and decided to use this in their multilingual social media marketing by creating limited addition ‘Coca-Cola –  É FANTA, E DAí?’ (This Coke is a Fanta, so what?) which was Fanta inside a Coca-Cola can. By keeping a close eye on the way in which their brand was used in Brazil on social media, Coca-Cola has turned the negative phrase into a symbol for LGBT pride in Brazil.

Translation and transcreation of social media

When a business has fully explored and utilised the opportunities in the UK they may want to expand their services to the global market. This is where translation and localisation come in. If you want to take your business global there are several ways professional translation can help you do just that.

The most obvious step is to translate your company’s website into the languages spoken in the countries you want to target next to make sure the information you want your overseas customers to receive is accurate.

However, many companies think that once they have done this then this will be enough to engage with customers abroad, but just getting your website translated is not enough to take full advantage of the global market. Statistics published by Common Sense Advisory show that 72.4% of internet users are more likely to buy from a brand which communicates to them in the customer’s mother tongue.

Therefore, businesses need to approach their target market overseas in the same way they approach their market at home. It can’t be denied that social media marketing has had such a positive impact on the success of businesses in the UK, so why would this be any different abroad?

Social media translation doesn’t just involve the translation of your written social media posts but it also incorporates transcreation. Transcreation is the process of adapting your company’s logo, other images or text posted online to make sure it’s appropriate, and not offensive, to your foreign market. If you want to fully engage with your audiences abroad, whilst also maintaining a positive brand reputation, then you need to invest in social media translation.

Things to consider about multilingual social media campaigns

Before jumping head first into investing in multilingual social media marketing there are a few things you need to consider:

  • How does your company currently respond to comments and complaints on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
  • What would happen if your posts were in another language?
  • Would your staff or marketing agency be able to manage these accounts and offer timely responses to your potential customers?

Multilingual social media marketing is a big investment, so you should only target audiences in countries where you wish to build your presence or you already have an established customer base.

Another thing to consider is keeping your different accounts separate for each language. You don’t want to annoy your English‑speaking followers by sending out posts in multiple languages from your English account – set up an account per language and keep the posts and languages separate like Coca Cola have done!

Multilingual social media

You also need to remember to translate your hashtags and keywords. Very few global campaigns have English‑only hashtags; the majority have translated hashtags that are culturally appropriate for the language. Here are some examples…

Which social channels should you use?

Social media is also used differently across the world. In Italy, more people use Google+ than Twitter, while in China, WeChat, which is similar to Twitter, is the go‑to platform for many businesses. This means you also need to think about expanding the social media platforms that you use as there is no point investing in multilingual social media marketing for a platform that is not popular in that country.

If you have your own business and are thinking about taking it to the next level then get in touch with our multilingual digital teams who are ready to help you at all stages of the social media translation process, from advising you on which platforms to use for each country to managing your multilingual social media campaigns.