How smart multilingual social media marketing can benefit your business

By Endri Hasanaj

No business focused on sustainable success can ignore the reach of major social media platforms — Statista predict there will be over three billion users globally by 2021. And through mobile, marketers can communicate with consumers with levels of proximity and intimacy the ad agencies of Madison Avenue could only have dreamed of in their ‘60s heyday.

But research is required to disseminate powerful brand messaging across borders — here are some key reasons multilingual social media marketing is good for business.

Multilingual societies

The benefits of multilingual marketing that reaches the majority language group in any nation are obvious — if you don’t connect with customers fluently they’ll never understand what you’re selling them.

But there are often other language groups within the same geographical territory.

For example, there are 52 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. — so there’s no way you can afford to ignore them in favour of communicating exclusively in English.

But there are also 3.4 million Mandarin and Chinese speakers in the same market, so it might be wise to talk to these customers in their own tongues too.

You can also apply the same principal to social media marketing in the U.K. — communicating in English provides the biggest reach, but over half a million people in Britain speak Polish in their homes according to the 2011 census.

Lost in translation

A number of free or very cheap automatic translation services are available online — and if you’re looking to save cash while expanding into new markets, they might seem appealing.

But using automated or non-native translation services can damage your reputation and might also cause offence. U.S. beer brand Coors made a famous faux pas when their ‘turn it loose’ tagline converted to ‘suffer from diarrhoea’ for Spanish customers.

And if you’re a B2B firm operating in a technical niche, it’s even more important that buyers accurately understand your offering — whether it’s cable car cabins or catenary wire.

Engaging the services of a native language translator also ensures that your marketing messages are far more subtle and sophisticated — they’ll include relevant cultural references and turns of phrase naturally.

This level of understanding is essential on social media because the tone of communications is often less formal and more friendly and conversational.

Local language staff might also be able to help you develop more accurate personas for each international market and language group — this type of insider knowledge can help with greater segmentation and more precise targeting.

Voice

If your social media efforts include any type of video or audio, it’s important to think about voice too.

Voiceover trends show that consumers prefer human to synthetic voices and that there’s an increasing demand for different accents within the same language.

So think carefully whether an older or younger voice conveys your message most effectively — and research whether one regional dialect might establish a powerful emotional connection with customers better than another.

These subtleties might not be obvious to non-native language speakers — but the right message delivered in the wrong tone of voice or accent can be completely counter-effective.

Social media can bring companies closer to customers, but speaking to them in a stuffy or strange voice will drive them away.

These are just some of the reasons multilingual social media marketing is good for business — when it’s used properly it can help you connect confidently with customers and establish brand consistency across the globe.

Do you use multilingual social media marketing? Share your advice in the comments section.

________

Endri Hasanaj is a trilingual marketing professional, he has diversified experience in start-ups, business ideas and their process of integrating with marketing.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover