When your business is thriving and growing, reaching out to global markets may become indispensable. For companies of any size, expanding your business is usually a core focus each year. However, it is not as easy as you might think to expand your presence on social media in countries where multiple languages are spoken. You may be excited to get your message out there, but there are a number of compelling reasons to take things slowly. You can avoid the following mistakes and, instead, use smart strategies to build your business internationally.
1. How can you expand your business if you Think Of The World As the US?
Many US business owners make the mistake of viewing different countries through the same lens as the US, even on social media. You may think that all people are the same, and that what works in the US will work everywhere. If you want to be successful in different countries, it is vital to realize that there may be a number of cultural differences to consider, which you might be unaware of.
A good marketing professional will tell you that expectations of businesses, and cultural views, vary from country to country. If you want to gain the trust of customers in different countries, it is important to respect each culture and their particular tastes and sensibilities.
Takeaway—It’s a good idea to work with a LSP partner with experience in language services who can recruit native speakers to work on your social media posts, and other materials, to ensure that your new prospective customers will not be offended and will understand your message.
2. Jumping In Without the Right Resources
You’ll need to be honest with yourself about your ability to run a social media campaign on a number of fronts. It’s easy to get burned if you encounter problems, or if you don’t have the help you need to get the word out about your company in various languages and countries.
You may be tempted to take a shortcut and use one of the many online translation services to translate your text quickly. These services are free, and you might imagine that you’re saving yourself some money by not hiring lots of people all over the world. However, using these online translation services can be risky. It’s a common misconception that they use “real people,” when in reality, they often use machine translation tools or programs.
These translation services are very simple and will not generally capture the nuances in your text, colloquialisms, or the tone you’re trying to strike. Social media messages will seem stilted, fake, or even unintelligible to native speakers in the countries where you’re trying to build business. Not the right approach when you are seeking to expand your business internationally.
Instead of using free tools that don’t fully convey your intended message, you might want to go down the more reliable route of combining a professional LSP automated translation with human post-editing. This way, linguists can review the messages put out by translation services to ensure that they are correct and make sense. This will cost more than only using a free service, but this method will also protect your brand from poor messaging and faulty communications.
3. Not Researching the Target Markets when expanding your business
Just as with your US audience, expanding into new markets means identifying the perfect target market for your product. In the US, for instance, your target market might be adult women, but in Asia your perfect market might be teenagers. Keep in mind that you have to craft your social media messages to the emotional response of your target market. One insensitive post can damage your brand and make it difficult to regain ground.
You also have to be sensitive about each regional market you enter. It is important to keep the values and concerns of your international customers in mind. For example, if you’re going to run a sales promotion for your products, be sure that you time it properly. If you sell food products, you might want to wait until after a period of fasting to post messages about them on social media. You may have to run the sale at different times in different countries.
Takeaway–Take the time to do your research. Use analytical tools to learn about and understand your customers so you can target messages properly. Use surveys and other methods to find out as much as you can about who is buying your products, and what their preferences are.
For example, if you are communicating with Japanese customers, be aware that they are likely to be more open to mobile messaging. If you are dealing with Chinese buyers, remember that much of their media is censored by the government, and they are likely to use only those social media platforms that have been approved by the government.
4. Rushing In Without Being Sure
Every customer wants you to communicate with them in a quick, timely manner. However, a savvy business will realize that you cannot put immediacy first when communicating with foreign contacts on social media – unless you want to risk your brand’s success in new locations.
It is less important to be fast than to be correct. You may not want to wait hours before responding to someone, but if you are hasty, and reply with an offensive or insensitive remark, you could create a problem that takes even longer to resolve.
Takeaway–Take your time and plan how to expand your business, focusing on what you will do and say to your customers around the world. When you respond in an appropriate manner, they will feel that you respect and understand them. You can continue building trust, not to mention a great CX.
If you are planning to take your company global and want to use social media to make that happen, we can help. Talk to us so that we can help you localize your social content plan to take your business to multiple customers around the world.