#Get to know the basics
If you aren’t one of the 500 million active Twitter users across the globe, it’s time to learn some Twerminology before you proceed with your multilingual engagement tactics.
Twitter can be a valuable business tool if used correctly. Here are some basic pointers to get you started:
- Follow your clients – an obvious but essential tactic. You need to understand what they are tweeting about to gain industry insight and ensure you are engaging their interests.
- Research your key industry sectors – position yourself as an industry leader by engaging in conversations on latest issues with key influencers. Track industry trends and monitor feeds.
- Follow your competitors – keep your friend’s close and your enemies closer! Monitoring what your competitors are doing means you can differentiate or duplicate to gain competitive advantage.
- Nurture your Twitter account – provide topical content a few times a week at least or risk losing followers
- Be as objective as possible – Twitter shouldn’t be used as a ‘hard sales’ tool. Share occasional corporate accomplishments but focus primarily on engaging discussion.
- Listen and engage!
#Understanding online audiences
If your company is not already cultivating a strong presence on Twitter, now is the time to integrate this activity into your marketing strategy. Your competitors, prospects and customers are all part of the Twitter community – you must get involved to remain competitive.
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At present, few solutions exist for managing a global presence across social media platforms. As the bulk of social media engagement has remained English-centric (the English language accounts for 26.5% of all internet use) many business fail to see the value in pursuing a multilingual audience.
The use of foreign languages on social networking sites has significantly increased in recent years, and continues to do so. To engage effectively with multilingual communities, an international social media strategy must be developed.
#Your online multilingual marketing plan
Step 1 – will Twitter work for your market?
Profile your consumer demographics and monitor online engagement to understand which social networking sites are popular in your market/s. You will need to adapt your social strategy for each market segment and consider different online channels in keeping with market culture. The differences that exist amongst users from different countries are not only restricted to languages, but also on how they like to engage online and where they are concentrated.
A company expanding into China will use Sina Weibo instead of Twitter, because it is the most popular micro-blogging service in the country.
Step 2 – engage at a local level
The ‘needs’ of online users must be satisfied by the provision of high quality content tailored to cultural norms. I would always recommend setting up social media accounts specific to each country or language you are penetrating. Coca Cola is a great example of a brand using nation-specific pages to cater to local preferences for e.g. Coca Cola Egypt.
In addition to the use of local language, knowledge of local trends and the use of colloquial words will positively impact your brand image in foreign markets. Content published across social networking sites will need to be transcreated, i.e. adapted from one language to another whilst maintaining intent, style, tone and context. If possible, a native language speaker should be used for local engagement to encourage a natural connection with the overseas audience.
The need for multilingual social media engagement will almost certainly grow in the coming years.
Step 3 – get tweeting!
Set goals and assign someone at your company to ‘follow’, ‘tweet’, ‘retweet’, insert hashtags, generate lists, and direct messages on a regular basis. Your team will be uncovering valuable data and trends and expanding your business network in real time before you know it.