Expanding digital marketing efforts to a global target group, provides a great opportunity for global marketers and creates a community of customers across the world. However, reaching out to an international audience requires a lot of understanding of culture differences, online behavior and localization.Before you chalk out your digital marketing strategy for your global audience, consider these 5 tips to successfully engage in meaningful conversations with them.
Time is the biggest challenge when reaching out to a global audience. The right time largely depends upon the locations of the audience and the optimum posting time for individual countries or culture.
The first step is to identify where the majority of your audience is based and which time zone they follow. Tools such as Tweriod and Followerwonk will help you to review your analytics to identify the most engaging time for your brand. Then club the most optimal time and post across time zones to gain maximum engagement.
Language – multilingual content
English still remains the single most widely used language in the digital world and it is even considered the lingua franca, especially in the business community. But, be it website content or social media engagement, nothing makes the audience more comfortable than conversing in your native language. According to Internet World Stats, 23.2 % of internet users speak Chinese. Now, imagine the amount of prospective consumers a business will miss, by ignoring a language.
While it is critical to address the customers in their preferred language, providing the right translation of the English words does not suffice (Please, don’t even think of google translation). The key is to translate the ‘message’, without losing the inherent meaning. Audience relate to the message better, when the language is localized using the nuances and style of the native speaker.
With websites such as fiver.com and elance.com, you can find native-speaking translators who complete the job effectively. Also, it is crucial to ensure that your designs are not text heavy since they can’t be translated and incur additional costs.
Translating the content on your website to various languages to suit your global audience is only the tip of the iceberg. Firstly, having a thorough understanding of your own culture helps you to compare and make note of the differences and smaller details. Secondly, having an open mind to comprehend another culture goes a long way in engaging with your audience.
Study material on a particular culture highlights the stereotypical characteristics but may not help you understand the culture specifically. Constantly interacting with people from multi-cultural backgrounds will help you know your audience better.
Geo targeting and localization
There are two broad approaches to localize your engagement and reach your global audience via social media. One approach is to consider your global audience as one huge community, and the other is to create smaller collection of communities based on culture and geography.
For a single global community, only one language is used and traditionally it is English due to majority of users. The advantage is that it is easy to manage a single social profile from a marketing perspective and have only one hub for content. The downside is the limited interaction on the platform, since content does not cater to the entire user base.
Here is a list of possible options across platforms.
- Creating multiple pages on Facebook tailored by demographics, increases the localization and improves engagement. But this also means that you require more time to create localized content for every single page.
- Creating an account for every language, to maintain the same message across audience without confusion.
- Creating a video in every target language will not be necessary, since subtitles can be added in any language. The content and message on the video must avoid cultural aspects to maintain relevance across the globe.
Dos and don’ts
- Do not include a location if you are posting from a location not local to your audience
- Do not try any quirky engagement in a foreign language, unless you understand the culture and implications perfectly, else it can backfire and damage the brand image
- Never assume. Always double check before you post — check everything