Manage Your Social Media Across Cultures

November 26, 2020

Social media communication is an essential part of international growth strategy. With digital marketing and adverting agencies under ever-increasing pressure to deliver quality content and stay culturally relevant, here we discuss successfully posting on social media in a foreign language.

Research shows that more than 1 billion of the 1.7 billion people who use Facebook speak a language other than English, and that the 82 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it’s marketed in their native language.

So what should you consider when posting on social media in a foreign language?

In sales and marketing, language is one of the most powerful instruments. When you need your social media content to be used across a variety of regions and to accurately reflect your marketing messages, you need to consider the following:

Language proficiency

Your social media campaign could have all the elements to be successful overseas, but if you are trying to communicate only in English, people who speak a language other than English simply will not be able to find you.

In most languages, words can have several different meanings. Without expert knowledge of both languages, it can be difficult to know the correct translation for the context. When you need to create a post on social media in a foreign language, the reality is that inaccurate automatic text translation – or machine translation – can fall short. Ideally, you need a fluent English speaker to create a post in English, and a French fluent speaker to create a post in French for French-speaking audience. If you are managing social media posts in a language your audience is comfortable with, you are much more likely to get engagement.

Local and cultural context

When posting on social media in a foreign language, it is very important to be sensitive to different cultural norms and values. Each culture has its own. For example, in China, there is a list of keywords which will result in your content being banned by the government. Without truly understanding the culture of the people who speak the language, it becomes easy to offend people when interacting with them.

If you want to effectively communicate your content to your foreign audience you need to consider whether or not your social media post contains culture-specific references and how  you can adjust the content to make it relevant to them. For example, if the post was originally written for an English audience, and contains references to a respected British sportsperson, how can you adjust it so it’s relevant to your audience in Poland or Germany?

People tend to use social media for different purposes in different countries, so it’s useful to have an understanding of what people from different cultures will best respond to before launching. You need to ensure your social media marketing is appropriate for your target audience.

A consistent tone of voice

If you want to emotionally engage your global audience, it is not only about using the right words but also about adopting the right tone of voice. As a result, you maintain the power of your marketing messages, reinforce the brand with a consistent tone of voice, and build an authentic, long-lasting connection with customers.

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About the author

Iwona Lebiedowicz of PAB Group is passionate about helping businesses to succeed internationally. More Information

We offer dedicated localisation and multilingual copywriting services that enable businesses to avoid inaccurate or mixed messaging in B2B, eCommerce and digital content. In an increasingly digital world, we support British businesses in delivering high-quality content that engages different people around the world in their mother tongue and enables them to stay culturally relevant on a global stage.