Social media translation: Why research, accuracy & responsiveness are everything

Published on March 20th, 2019

Social media translation is a crucial tool for brands with international audiences. Managing your online presence in one language is tough enough as it is, but trying to do the same across multiple languages is far more difficult than most appreciate until they try it for themselves.

There are three things every successful multilingual social media strategy needs: research, accuracy and responsiveness. In this article, we are going to explain why these three things are so important and how you can make sure they’re a solid part of your own social strategy.

Multiple audiences require a lot of research

As with any kind of marketing or sales strategy, as soon as you target international markets, you are dealing with multiple audiences – and this means you need to conduct thorough audience research for all of them. One of the biggest mistakes brands make is assuming people in every market are going to use the same social networks in the same way people do in their home territory.

This simply is not the case.

Head over to China or South Korea and Facebook is almost non-existent, for example. Networks such as WeChat and QZone top the list of social networks in China while, South Koreans spend most of their time on Kakao Talk (although Instagram is quite popular in both).

Likewise, Russian networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki are the most popular networks in their own country, while Japan has a preference for its own Line messaging app over Twitter.

It is not enough to simply choose the most popular networks in each country, either. You need to really pinpoint which platforms your target audiences (age, gender, profession, interests, etc.) are using most and build your presence there.

You also need to understand the kind of content these audiences engage with, because they are not going to have the same interests as your target customers in every market.

Something about accurate translation

Once you know exactly what your target audiences’ needs and expectations are, you ?re ready to start creating social media content for them. By this stage, you should know what themes you need to cover, the kind of points you want to make and the reactions you ?re looking for from each audience.

Of course, social media translation is crucial at this point, but you ?re not simply going to create content in English and then translate it into your other languages. The whole point of doing extensive research on each market is to be able to create unique content that addresses their specific needs.

Some of your content will be global and this can simply be translated from English into every language you need – news updates, announcements, tutorial videos and anything else where the core message is the same for every audience.

However, there are going to be times where you need to create original content for each audience, in their native language. For example, you might be posting about local political themes, sporting events, social issues or simply targeting certain audiences with unique marketing messages.

Something about responsiveness on social

Speed is very important on social media – especially when someone reaches out to your brand and expects a reply. People turn to social media as an alternative to traditional customer service channels and everything you do here is visible for the world to see. This includes how quickly you respond as much as how you respond and research shows 42% of people complaining on social expect a response within the hour.

Which means you need to understand what your foreign-speaking audiences are talking about, decide what kind of response is required and then translate it, before sending it out – all within the hour.

Fast and accurate social media translation is vital if you want to achieve this.

If you need help with implementing your multilingual social media strategy, dealing with the technical side of managing your platforms or getting the right quality of translation quickly enough, you can expect a timely response from our social media experts if you reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Posted on: March 20th, 2019