Social media, in the 21st century, presents the perfect platform for anyone who wants to build an international online reputation for business reasons. E-marketers understand the importance of global conversation to connect culturally and linguistically across continents, but also realize that the key to success is to leverage the tools that social media provides to meet their business goals.
According to a report by Internet World Stats, English is the most widely employed language on the internet. However, in order to expand your business internationally a multilingual platform is the best way to reach people globally, using various languages.
Daunting as it may seem, building up your online reputation, or ‘brand buzz’, is simple enough with a few useful tips to guide you along the way.
1. Capitalize with a professional translator
Before jumping in the deep end you should think about how you are going to translate your content for markets overseas. While there are numerous free online translation engines, such as Yahoo! Babel Fish and Babylon, by using these you run the risk of misrepresenting your message with linguistic and contextual errors. Employing the skills of a native-speaking translator will eliminate these inaccuracies.
Without professional translation, international customers will view your brand as substandard due to the fact that you haven’t taken the time to understand their language coherently to get your message across. Bear in mind that 85 percent of internet users (according to Common Sense Advisory) will not purchase a product online if there’s no information available in their native language.
2. Research the local social networks
Facebook and Twitter aren’t dominant in every country – in many places around the world there are unique social media which attract the vast majority of social networkers. For instance, if you’re looking to build your brand up with consumers in China, then you would need to build your presence on Qzone and Renren, while Google’s Orkut network is popular in Brazil and India.
3. Campaigns for social media are unique
Rolling out one social media campaign worldwide won’t fit the needs of all the markets you are targeting. This is where you will need to think about the fact that there will be social and cultural differences as well as linguistic differences. A campaign that is specifically targeted at your Chinese audience won’t have any relevance to your American audience and vice versa.
For instance, you need to make sure that your updates are relevant to their audience – does the audience in China care about a new product launch in the UK? And are you best utilizing the medium for your target audience – for example, Old Spice Guy worked perfectly for a western audience, however many Indians like to use social media as a self-promotional tool for their singing careers; you could harness the crowd’s desire for recognition.
4. Respond to feedback
Social media is a conversational medium, and whether you receive negative or positive feedback you should take the time to respond, and do so in a professional manner. The way you respond can massively affect your online reputation, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Fair complaints should be responded to honestly. If an internet user notices a fault that you are working on, reply back with pointers on how you are solving the issue. If, however, the complaint is unfair take the time to give your side of the story positively. Avoid a war-of-words scenario, which will negatively impact your reputation.
5. What do you want to communicate?
When building an international online reputation it is vital that you know what it is you want to say to your audience. Furthermore, it should be interesting and should be communicated in bite size amounts for people to process easily.
Break down your key messages and aims (conversions, enquiries) and look at how you can communicate these messages in a way which will be readily received by your various international target audiences. Should you be running competitions and giveaways, producing video content, or offering interactive content/games?
6. Keeping hold of your audience
In producing and disseminating quality content, you’ll also need to heed cultural differences. For example, Germans are more concerned when it comes to their data security on social networks, while the Chinese are big fans of free downloads and the Japanese are more willing to pay for quality content compared to other countries.
7. Monitor your reputation
A good tool to use is monitorThis, as it allows you to monitor where your brand is being mentioned in 25 different search engines. Another tool to consider using is Keotag, which alerts you to any blog posts that have tagged you, by using collected data from numerous search engines.
One other source to use is RepVine, which allows you to monitor information about yourself and others, all of which helps you to keep track of, and enhance, your business reputation online and through social media.