Localizing social media content is fairly straightforward. Each blurb, image, and video could easily be fed through a localization platform and translated into any number of languages. The challenge—for both established enterprises and startups that are just beginning to globalize—is to allocate resources efficiently so that social media localization doesn’t absorb all of your time and money.
As a result of that challenge, three priorities tend to emerge in every localized social media campaign:
- Achieving a higher ROI despite relatively low asset value.
- Increasing ENGAGEMENT to drive international campaign success.
- Finding the TIME to manage multiple international markets.
Over years of strategizing and facilitating localization for corporate clients, we’ve developed seasoned solutions for each of these goals. Integrating the following tips into your own localization strategy will help make social media localization a far more reasonable (and profitable) activity for your company.
Problem: How do you maximize ROI with social media localization?
Solution: Minimize spend and repurpose content.
Veteran localizers know that social media localization gets expensive fast. When you’re new to the industry, however, it can be tempting to run hundreds of small assets through the standard localization process without batting an eye. Those little projects really add up over the course of a full year of social posting. If the majority of your posts are multimedia-based, your costs could grow exponentially.
The potentially high cost of social media localization isn’t the only thing keeping you from achieving a positive ROI. It’s hard to break even when each asset you produce delivers such little value over the course of its short lifetime. That’s why social media posts are considered by many marketers to be disposable content. You need to be very careful not to overspend on localizing posts that don’t pull enough profit to justify the expense of translating them.
You should also be prepared to aggressively repurpose content in order to maximize the value of each post you do localize. Re-use an English-language video and add subtitles rather than doing a full voiceover. Place snippets from already-translated blog posts over existing brand imagery for local Instagram pics. Syndication has always been important for content-based marketing—but this strategy becomes even more crucial with the compounding expense of localization.
Problem: How do you increase ENGAGEMENT in local markets?
Solution: Hire a local social media manager.
Social media campaigns work only when they drive engagement. That’s why you’re likely already pursuing internal and external strategies to multiply clicks, gain momentum, and convince the Facebook or LinkedIn algorithm to present your content to more people. But with greater impressions comes greater responsibility.
Posting content in another language isn’t enough to turn a profit with an international social media campaign. You actually have to engage with your audience—and you have to be there to address the comments, questions, and concerns that will undoubtedly come your way. It’s impossible to do that if your whole team speaks only English or if you don’t have anyone working in the local time zone.
When companies begin investing in global marketing strategy and social media localization, we always recommend hiring a local community manager. Their only job is to review upcoming posts, respond to comments, read DMs, and block trolls as needed—all in the target language and with record response times. At a bare minimum, you’re hiring this person to respond to your local audience. Beyond that, this person could also help you adapt, create, or source new content to expand your local social media reach.
If you’re looking to model your localization strategy off of existing success, consider what’s now common practice in the gaming industry. Companies hire entire rooms of local gamers to act as the voice of their brand by responding in forums and across social media platforms. Gaming companies understand that if you’re trying to seed engagement with multilingual content, you’d better be ready to take the next step and engage with clients in real time, in their own language.
Problem: What if you don’t have TIME to manage multiple markets?
Solution: Build a more efficient localization engine.
Because of the two challenges above, even the biggest brands in the world tend to ignore their international markets. They have country-specific social media pages, of course, but these properties tend to be lamentably blank aside from the occasional global marketing initiative. It’s a conscious decision, to be sure, because most companies believe it’s too time-intensive to maintain 20 different location-specific Twitter accounts. Plus, none of the social media platforms have yet created strong multi-market methodology to make these efforts easier.
You don’t have to target 20 markets in order to be successful with international social media. But you do need a highly-efficient localization engine in place so you’re not squandering your time, money, or other resources on redundancies.
Finding The Painless Path to Social Media Localization
If you’re looking to get started with social media localization, don’t let the challenges of this medium scare you away. You’ll find that these solutions are significantly more effective than the haphazard approach most companies fall back on. And, since both B2C and B2B audiences spend most of their time engaging with content on social media platforms, this particular brand of localization has the potential to bring the most profit for your company over time.
At Bureau Works, we see social media as one of the primary lead generation tools for today and for the future. That’s why we designed a comprehensive localization platform that can handle the complexities of this unique marketing venture.
With BWX, you can run a full editorial calendar of posts through our platform using automated workflows. You can have all your content translated, reviewed, and approved directly within the platform. You can use our built-in media QA tools to perfect your images and videos prior to publication. And you can link everything together with your content management software for automated posting across all platforms. We’ve also created an invaluable expense tracking system, which you can reference in combination with your own internal data analysis to closely track ROI for every post you localize.
If you’re looking for a truly painless path to social media localization, a platform like this could be your game-changing solution.
Bureau Works is an industry-leading localization firm with extensive experience in social media localization. We help our clients reach their international business goals through a unique combination of automation, human innovation, and radical transparency. Contact our team to see what our platform and back-end services can do for your social media success.
Written by Aaron Schliem
October 1, 2019