Maximising Your Global Reach: An Introduction to Social Media Localisation
The power of social media has paved the way for brands to tap into global markets in an instant. But as easy as it might first appear, a successful global social media strategy requires more than just translating your content into another language. Social media localisation goes beyond simple translation, and it might be the key to unlocking your brand’s full potential abroad.
In this article, we’ll explore what social media localisation is, how it differs from translation, and why it’s a critical tool in your global marketing arsenal. We’ll also provide some practical tips on getting started with social media localisation and discuss how technology is changing the localisation landscape. So, whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a startup venturing into new markets, read on to discover how localising your social media can help you reach new audiences.
What Is Social Media Localisation?
Social media localisation is the act of customising social media content to meet local language, cultural and social norms. It can also mean customising content for local trends and interests. The goal of localisation is to make content more relatable and accessible to the target audience.
Localisation requires an in-depth understanding of the target market, as well as local language and culture. It can involve changing design elements, adjusting content tone to match local values, and often it means creating entirely new content.
For example, let’s say you run a TikTok account for your North American audience, but you want to start targeting users in France. You’ll need to localise your content for this new market — creating content in French, creating captions and hashtags that are relevant to the French market, and perhaps partnering with French influencers to create relevant content. There could be local viral trends that you need to tap into, or particular topics of conversation that may be more relevant in France than in North America.
The Difference Between Translation and Localisation
While translation and localisation may seem similar, they are fundamentally distinct processes that serve different purposes. Translation primarily involves converting text from one language to another. The aim is to retain the same message and meaning in the target language. It requires linguistic expertise and a deep understanding of both the source and target languages. However, the main focus is on language alone, and not much attention is given to cultural nuances or contextual appropriateness.
On the other hand, localisation goes a step further. It not only involves translation but also takes into account cultural, social, and regional nuances. The goal is to adapt your content in such a way that it feels native to the audience, making it more relatable and engaging. This could involve changing references that don’t resonate in a particular culture, adjusting visuals or design elements to be culturally appropriate, or even tweaking your brand’s tone of voice to better match local sensibilities.
Simply translating a social media post from English to French may result in a grammatically correct caption, but it could still be meaningless or even offensive to French audiences. As a simple example, a translated post celebrating the 4th of July isn’t going to resonate in France, where the national holiday is Bastille Day.
How Does Social Media Localisation Help Your Brand?
Social media localisation provides a multitude of benefits for brands aiming to establish a digital footprint worldwide. Below, we will explore some of the significant ways localisation can fuel your growth in international markets.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Social media localisation paves the way for an enhanced customer experience by making your content more relatable and accessible to global audiences. When your social media posts are customised to local tastes, trends, and cultural norms, it makes your brand feel more familiar and trustworthy to your foreign audience. This helps to boost customer engagement and foster a stronger emotional connection with your brand.
Improved Engagement and Conversion Rates
The more you align your social media content with the cultural context of your target audience, the more engaging your posts become. This can lead to higher engagement rates, increased website traffic, and more conversions. By speaking the local language and adapting to the local culture, you’re more likely to inspire action, whether that’s liking a post, sharing your content, or making a purchase.
Stronger Brand Image
Localisation contributes to a stronger global brand image by showing your audience that you value and respect their culture. It demonstrates cultural sensitivity and a commitment to understanding your audience on a deeper level, which can boost your brand reputation both domestically and abroad.
Access to New Markets
With a social media localisation strategy in place, your brand can effectively tap into new markets and reach potential customers who might have been inaccessible otherwise. Social media localisation allows your brand to overcome cultural barriers and navigate the nuances of different markets, increasing your global reach.
Any brand can translate their social media content in today’s globalised world. But not all brands invest in localisation. By doing so, you can gain a competitive edge in foreign markets and stand out among brands that are failing to effectively localise their social media presence.
Getting Started with Social Media Localisation
So, now that you know the significance of social media localisation, you might be wondering: How do I get started? Well, localising your social media content can seem challenging at first, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth process. Here are some steps to guide you on your journey to social media localisation.
Research Your Target Market
Understanding your target market is the first step in a successful social media localisation strategy. It’s not just about the language they speak, but also about the cultural nuances, popular trends, consumer behaviour, and societal norms. You should also learn about their digital habits, such as their preferred social media platforms and peak online activity hours. Market research can involve:
- Surveys and Questionnaires: You can conduct surveys to gather insights directly from your target audience. This could include preferences, dislikes, and expectations from brands in your industry.
- Reviewing Local Competition: Analyse your competitors in the local market. See what content they produce, how they interact with their audience, and how well their strategies are received.
- Exploring Market Reports: Use market reports and industry data to understand the overall picture of the market, including popular trends and customer demands.
Create a Localisation Team
Building a competent localisation team is crucial for a successful social media localisation strategy. This team could be in-house or external, but they should ideally consist of native language speakers and individuals familiar with the local culture. Here’s what this team can help you with:
- Language Expertise: Having native language speakers ensures your translations are grammatically correct and culturally appropriate. They can pick up on subtle language nuances that non-native speakers might miss.
- Cultural Understanding: Individuals familiar with the local culture can provide invaluable insights into local customs, traditions, and preferences, enabling you to create content that resonates with your audience.
- Content Creation: They can assist in creating new content tailored to the local market. This could involve ideation, copywriting, design, and content strategy.
Create a Localisation Strategy
Before you move forward, you need a roadmap. Take a step back and map out your overall strategy. You need a clear guide that takes your business objectives into account, whilst honing in on how localisation can help you reach them.
Your strategy should spell out your goals, timeline, budget, and the metrics you’ll use to gauge success. You should also define how your brand voice will adapt to different cultures without losing its core identity. From the hashtags you’ll use to the platforms you plan to target, detail everything in your strategy. This pre-planning will give your localisation efforts direction and will help you maintain consistency across all markets.
Transcreate, Don’t Just Translate
One of the key aspects of social media localisation is transcreation – a blend of “translation” and “creation.” Unlike direct translation, which can often be rigid and miss cultural nuances, transcreation involves adapting the message from one language to another while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context.
This means you’re not just changing the language of the content, but you’re also modifying images, colours, references, and even humour to make sure everything is culturally appropriate and engaging for the target audience.
For instance, idioms, phrases, or jokes that work well in English may not have the same effect when directly translated into another language. Therefore, your content needs to be creatively adapted – or transcreated – to ensure the message is appropriate.
Test and Iterate
The process of social media localisation is not a “set it and forget it” type of strategy. After implementing your localised content, it’s essential to monitor its performance, gather feedback, and adjust accordingly.
Use social media metrics like engagement rates, shares, comments, and follower growth to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Use A/B testing for different versions of posts to see what resonates more with the audience.
Feedback from your local team and audience can offer valuable insights into cultural nuances you might have missed. Be open to this feedback and use it to refine your approach. Localisation is an ongoing process of learning, adapting, and refining.
The Role of Technology in Social Media Localisation
Technology can be extremely useful for the entire process of social media localisation. There are a multitude of tools that can streamline the localisation process and improve both efficiency and accuracy. Let’s delve deeper into how technology plays a role in social media localisation.
Translation Management Systems (TMS) are excellent examples of how automation can be used to speed up the localisation process. These systems are designed specifically for managing, translating, and localising content at scale. They can automatically assign tasks, facilitate collaboration, maintain translation memories for future use, and provide real-time progress updates. This increased efficiency can help reduce localisation time and cost, providing a more seamless workflow.
Translation tools, such as machine translation (MT) and neural machine translation (NMT), are becoming increasingly important in the localisation process. MT is a useful tool for quickly translating large volumes of content, while NMT can provide more accurate translations with fewer errors.
However, when it comes to social media localisation, they should be used with caution. As social media content is often nuanced and colloquial, MT and NMT may not be the most accurate solutions and they won’t understand local trends and cultural sensitivities. Humans will be better positioned to guide the creation of localised content in a social media context.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Content management systems (CMS) with multilingual capabilities have revolutionized the way brands manage and publish content across different languages and regions. These systems allow for easy content replication, modification, and publication in various languages, simplifying the process of content creation for different markets.
Social Media Management Tools
Social media management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social provide powerful solutions to manage multiple social media accounts across different platforms. These tools offer features like post-scheduling according to different time zones, which is crucial when targeting global audiences. They also provide analytics, which can offer insightful data about audience engagement, preferences, and peak activity times.
Some social media management tools can also be used to “listen” to conversations about your brand and track sentiment across a variety of social media channels. This data can be pivotal in shaping effective localisation strategies.
Partner with a Localisation Expert
As a business, embracing localisation might seem overwhelming, but with the right support, the process can become seamless. LingvoHouse, with its experienced team of translators and cultural experts, can help you tailor your social media content to audiences worldwide. Our team understands the complexities of social media localisation and we can guide you through the process of effectively localising your content, from start to finish.
If you’re ready to maximise your global reach, get in touch with LingvoHouse today and let us help you navigate the path to successful social media localisation.
LingvoHouse is a professional translation & interpreting agency with a wealth of industry experience. They specialise in bespoke translation solutions in over 200 languages in a range of different industries. With a team of more than 4,000 professional translators located across the globe, the company offers round-the-clock services that are highly accurate with unmatched turnaround times.
For more information, please visit https://www.lingvohouse.com/