By

Fran Puddick

Copywriting
10th January 2022

Your clients are putting pressure on you to get the same returns on your global social media activity as your local campaigns, but not investing in the copy or content. How can you convince them to change tack?

Use the numbers!

There are 2.91 BILLION active Facebook users, but less than 400m have English as their first language. Now, clearly, your content and campaigns are not for this entire 2.91billion, but it stands to reason that if you’re aiming to broaden your content appeal and have a particular country or market in mind, you ought to use their language to speak to them.

For your B2B platforms, the same rings true. LinkedIn boasts over 756 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide, with Asia counting for its biggest proportion of users.

But it’s not just about the language (part 1)

As marketers, we recognise that social media is first and foremost about people and their shared experiences. Relating to people is at its core. So, having a good understanding of a region or country’s cultural experiences is key to creating relatable content. If your client is passionate about listicles, that’s great, but there’s no point creating a list about memories from teenager hood when we know nostalgia is culturally or geographically specific. It’s why we love nostalgic lists after all; we can relate!

So, at the very least, you need to speak to someone who shares the experiences of your audience – which can be tricky to come by when you’re speaking to a new audience on the other side of the world!

Finding the right hero content

At the risk of sounding too deep, our heroes are rarely global. Neither are our obsessions. You’ll need to do extensive research to really understand the people, sports, food, traditions that will play a role in your audience’s emotions and engage them in your posts. Or you take the smart route and speak to someone who grew up with your audience and knows what’ll spark a conversation or response.

It’s not just about the language (part 2)

Think of all the places in the world that speak French—Djibouti, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Belgium, Haiti. Globally, there are 29 francophone countries, but it’s fair to say that the French spoken in Port-au-Prince, for example, is different from what you’ll hear in Paris. So how do you get around it? Well, that’s where localisation comes in. Localization uses linguistic AND cultural elements to speak to your audience. This could be about your copy, but it could also be your hashtags, imagery and headlines.

Getting it wrong costs more

In China, there is a list of keywords that’ll result in an immediate government ban for your content. In Thailand, an auto-translated post from their public broadcasting service offended so badly that Facebook demanded an official apology.

And whilst these are fairly extreme and specific examples, we all know someone who has been offended by something on social media. Without truly understanding the culture of your target audience, the risk of offence inevitably increases.

Social customer service

And no, this isn’t your responsibility as a marketing agency, but poor customer service always damages social activity – and what could be poorer than a mangled response through Facebook or Twitter? Making sure your client has a fluent or native speaker on hand to respond to customer concerns and enquiries through their social media channels will help you get the right kind of engagement on your posts. And if that’s not practical, check out some virtual multilingual PA services as an option.

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