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Global view of social media marketing

Social Media Translation for Optimal Global Marketing

4 key considerations marketers must know 

Social media has become the air consumers breathe. It's so integrated into daily life that people hardly notice it — until they experience a snag.

Because we generally use social media to connect with people from our own cultures, it’s understandable that marketers assume people use the same channels in the same ways worldwide. However, social media usage varies from platform to platform and country to country. Since it’s imperative for your content to be nuanced and culturally relevant on all your channels, social media translation is a crucial component of any global marketing strategy. Social media translation services — like those offered by Lionbridge — ensure successful implementation so your content will resonate in all the markets you serve.

How can global businesses ensure their social media marketing reaches the intended consumers? Here are four points to consider as you plan or refine your global social media strategy.

#1 The Global Scale of Social Media

Your company benefits when you include social media translation in your globalization plan. Social media use is on the rise all over the world.

In 2021, there were over 4.26 billion social media users across the globe (and all social media platforms). This number is estimated to increase to nearly six billion by 2027.

Social media use is a truly global phenomenon. A 2022 Hootsuite and We Are Social report found these rates of social media usage across the globe:

  • Eastern Asia: 71%
  • North America: 78%
  • South America: 78%
  • Northern Europe: 84%
  • Western Europe: 83%
  • South Asia: 45%
  • West Africa: 16%
  • Middle Africa: 9%

#2 Key Drivers of Social Media Use Around the World

When connecting with your customers and prospects on social media, it’s important to know why people use different channels. Alternatively, use a Language Services Provider (LSP) specializing in digital marketing translation that does.

Some platforms are specialized. For example, in the United States, you wouldn't post your resume on Instagram. You also probably wouldn’t post pictures of your birthday party on LinkedIn. However, some platforms are multifunctional, with users posting a wide spectrum of content types. Facebook is a popular multi-use social media platform. It supports video, text, ads, livestreams, fundraising, and more. People use it for a wide variety of reasons, both domestically and internationally. Per Statista’s 2021 research, here are the top reasons people use social media:

  • Keeping in touch with friends and family: 47.6%
  • Filling spare time: 36.3%
  • Reading news stories: 35.1%
  • Finding content: 31.6%
  • Seeing what’s being talked about: 29.5%
  • Finding inspiration for things to do and buy: 27.7%
  • Finding products to purchase: 26.3%
  • Sharing and discussing opinions with others: 24.5%
  • Making new contacts: 23.9%
  • Watching live streams: 23.8%
  • Seeing content for your favorite brands: 23.1%
  • Work-related networking and research: 22.9%
  • Finding like-minded communities and interest groups: 22.1%
  • Watching or following sports: 22%
  • Following celebrities or influencers: 21.7%
  • Posting about your life: 21.4%
  • Avoiding missing out on things (FOMO) 21.3%
  • Supporting and connecting with good causes: 17.4%

Because many popular platforms are used globally, it’s challenging to draw generalizations about why users in different countries are logging on. Learning about your target region’s users and their social media behavior is essential. A skilled LSP can help you develop strategy based on this factor.

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#3 Where to Focus Your Social Media Marketing

Selecting your organization’s best social media platform(s) for marketing is, of course, a multi-factorial decision. One of the key considerations is the platform’s popularity. Globally, Facebook is the most-used platform. However, huge parts of the world don’t use it.

China uses its own channels (e.g., Youku in place of YouTube, Weibo in place of Twitter), and a Facebook-comparable platform called QZone is popular. Likewise, Russia has VKontakte and Telegram. Japan prefers LINE and Twitter. Nigeria favors WhatsApp.

Many people have never even heard of some of the world's most popular social media channels. A savvy LSP that offers digital marketing translation services will be experienced with these powerful platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • WhatsApp
  • Sina Weibo
  • QZone
  • VKontakte
  • Telegram

#4 How Culture Influences Social Media Translation

Of course, different cultures have different values. And, of course, that impacts social media. Social media marketing translation experts know how to adapt campaigns and content for local values and social norms. They know it’s not just about the words — cultural tone deafness can kill any marketing ROI.

Consider some of the ways in which cultural norms influence social media usage around the world:

  • China: Government control of social media necessitates cautious posting behavior. The general social media tone for business is optimistic and patriotic.
  • Japan: Japanese culture emphasizes politeness and humility. Engaging in brazen self-promotion on social media isn’t a good idea.
  • India: Many people from India use social media for work research and professional connections.

Every nation and state embraces social media in a slightly different way. It’s impossible to divorce social and political climates and cultures from social media activity. Companies leveraging social media for their brand strategies should consider these differences and how they’re manifested in target regions.

The Bottom Line for Business

There are so many factors to consider when building a social media campaign in another country. How can you ensure you get it right? An LSP that offers social media translation services will help. Combining translation and localization, this type of service will fine-tune your brand messages to be equally impactful in another culture and location.

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Multilingual social media is critical to making different channels work for you. To succeed, you need to work with local experts who deeply understand culture, social media norms, and language(s). All globalization is ultimately local. There's no substitute for a human touch to help your marketing team get the words and subtext of their global social media marketing just right.

Get In Touch

Does it seem a little overwhelming? We can help. Contact us today to find out more about Lionbridge’s multilingual social media and digital marketing services.

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