Social Media has taken the world by storm. More than a fad, social media has become a wholly new way to communicate – more immediate than old-fashioned letters, more passive than telephonic communication, persistent and durable. Whether you’re an individual or a business, being a part of a social network is essential to being a part of the world.
Of course, as an individual you can always choose to wall yourself off and refuse to take part in social networks, either for a ‘vacation’ or permanently. As a business, today, you have little choice; there are a billion people with Facebook accounts. Your customers are on social networks – and very likely in another country.
It might seem to the casual English-speaking Internet user that the world speaks English, and that might give the impression that you can conduct your social media marketing in that language and be effective. To an extent, you can – the English-speaking market is very large, and even outside of it a number of people understand English well enough. But if you exclude other languages, you are leaving a huge number of potential customers on the table. Not only do you need to investigate translating your social marketing, you need to investigate which social networks people are using in your target countries.
Two Simple Rules
Here are two basic rules for your social media, whether you use it as a marketing tool or simply as a way to stay in touch with your customers and potential customers:
It’s Personal. Social media is all about making a connection. People are looking for a real, human personality to interact with, not a machine spitting out advertising slogans, or an auto response script. It’s best to have someone actually managing your social media, responding to things in a personal way. On the same note, if you opt to conduct social media campaigns in different languages, do not, under any circumstances, simply run your tweets and posts through an automated translation service. Everyone will know at a glance that the stilted, personality-free posts were machined, and will ignore them.
It’s Local. Don’t assume you can have a single Facebook and Twitter account and be done with it. Not only do people use their local language versions of these tools in their home countries – meaning you should have separate accounts for different locations, using the appropriate languages – but they often use region-specific services. They may not use Facebook at all! Do some research and make sure you know which social media service actually reaches the populations you’re trying to connect with. Then hire a professional translator or translation service to make sure your posts will find a warm reception.
If you keep these two basic rules in mind, your social media efforts will not be in vain. Remember, social media is about people connecting with people: Don’t try to use a machine for your end of that connection!
Philip is a guest blogger who blogs on behalf of One Hour Translation, a professional translation firm that specialises in website translation services. To know more please visit their website.