English no longer dominates the internet like it once did. The share of web pages in English are giving way to a number of other languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese. Indeed, although some 55% of web pages are in English,
Statista reports that just 25.3% of users prefer to browse in English these days. Chinese is the second most used language, accounting for 19.8% of all internet users. As such, companies looking to engage with customers to build their brand internationally need to use translation to communicate in multiple languages – and not just through their website, but through their social media channels too.
Why translation and social media go hand in hand
Broadly speaking, younger people use social media more than older people. Looking at the US as an example, 66% of adults use one or more social media sites every day. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, that figure rises to 88%. This means that brands that want to engage as fully as possible with future generations of customers need to have an active social media presence. And for companies that operate across international borders, that means developing a multilingual social media strategy that builds in translation as a core part of the business’s approach.
Localization versus transcreation
Doing so is about more than merely using translation to deliver posts into different languages. Each country’s audience will respond differently to things like the use of humour, informal language and images. This means that localizing your content is a key part of a successful multilingual social media strategy. Localization is a key part of marketing translation. It is the process of shaping content to suit a particular audience. Rather than translating a tweet directly, a professional translator tasked with localizing the content will adapt it while still maintaining the original meaning.
Translation services can go a step further than localization when required, as some clients will benefit from transcreation as part of their social media marketing strategy. Transcreation involves a more wholesale revision of content than localization. It still delivers the messages that the brand intends, but everything from copy to the company logo can be changed in order to adapt it for maximum impact with the target audience. A good translator will be able to advise when transcreation might be more appropriate than localization.
Social media platforms by country
One way in which content will need to be localized as part of the translation process is by adapting it to suit the different social media platforms that are popular in each country in which the company plans to operate. Think of social media in the UK or US and no doubt Facebook and Twitter aren’t far from your thoughts. Indeed, Facebook remains the world’s favourite social network in broad terms. Social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza has mapped usage around the world and found that Facebook is the most popular network in 119 out of 149 countries, with 1.8 billion active monthly users.
However, social networking varies from country to country. A business that’s serious about cracking the Russian market, for example, will need to focus on how to use V Kontakte effectively as well as on accurate translation and localization. Those looking to tap into the emerging economies in Africa, on the other hand, will need to pay most of their attention to Instagram and LinkedIn. In China, it’s QZone that dominates and on which businesses must focus their efforts, while Japan is the only country in which Twitter tops the ranking of most used social media sites.
Knowing which networks to use in which countries doesn’t take a vast amount of research time but is a core part of any multilingual social media strategy. After all, the best translation in the world won’t help a company that is focusing its energies on the wrong social media channels. It’s an area where the time investment is minimal, but the payoff can be huge.
Translating cultures as well as copy
Different cultures respond to marketing materials in very different ways. It’s something with which those working in the translation industry – and particularly in the field of marketing translation – are certainly familiar. A campaign that has been well received in one country can fail totally in another. How ‘salesy’ the marketing copy is, how heavy on (or lacking in) images it is, how jokey the messaging is… all of this has a direct impact on how customers respond.
This is why market research needs to take place long before the translation process begins. Market research can reveal how audiences are likely to respond to social media advertising campaigns, as well as to the products themselves. This will then become an important component of a brand’s social media strategy.
Understanding the different ways in which audiences use social media is also important. Thousands of shares and likes are all rendered rather pointless if they don’t convert, so companies need to make understanding localized user behaviour a key part of their approach.
Don’t only use translation professionals for translation
Thankfully, professional translation can help here too. Translators have a wealth of cultural as well as linguistic knowledge, so are an excellent source of advice when a business is targeting a particular country. As such, engaging a translation agency before developing your social media strategy can make the whole process flow more smoothly. A little input early on in the process can save both time and money later on.
It can also help to iron out any cultural misunderstandings and avoid any potential miscommunications, all of which can damage a brand and lead to it becoming known for all the wrong reasons – which is precisely what a well mapped out and considered social media strategy is there to avoid.
About a decade ago, SEO was not something commonplace or even something considered to be a business necessity. Today things are very different. According to an article published by Forbes magazine, SEO services are essential for businesses today. Some of the reasons for this include outreach, cost-effectiveness and the fact that it is currently a marketing norm.
Evidence of how important SEO services are in this day is evident with the amount being spent on the same. A current forecast suggests that an excess of USD 80 billion will be spent on SEO services within the US alone by the year 2020.
How Can I Tell if the SEO Services I am Investing in are Worth It?
The SEO industry, like the digital world in general, is one that is fast changing. Apart from known current trends in SEO, clients need a way to gauge whether or not the services they are investing in are doing their business any good. We’re going to elaborate on a number of metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you gauge the level of the SEO services you are receiving.
A Little more on Metrics
For those of you who may be unclear on what we mean by metrics or KPIs, we’re talking about standards of SEO success that can be measured and hence, can also be quantified. The data points we elaborate on below are ones that can help you judge how effective or not the SEO work being done for you is or isn’t.
This relates to the number of visits or hits you get on your website via general web browsing as well as information on user activity while logged in to your site. The reason this is an important indicator as opposed to the total web traffic is that SEO services are meant to help your company or business rate higher via Google rankings when relevant keywords are searched. Higher rankings mean your site link and meta details will show up on the first page (ideally) of Google search results and higher up on the list of results.
This helps generate organic traffic; hence, good SEO services can translate to an increase in organic web activity. You can use Google Analytics to easily track your progress in this area and see if your organic traffic correlates to your SEO efforts.
Your CTR (click-through-rate) is indicative of how many people proceed to visit your site against how many people ran search queries where your details showed up. A poor click through rate may indicate to a need to improve aspects of your SEO.
Aspects you can work on to improve your CTR include page content and even more importantly – meta tags. A high CTR means your meta tags and other site information is catchy enough to generate attention or curiosity.
The bounce rate is the term used to measure the number of site visitors who do not stick around on your page and leave after viewing the first page they click on. This could mean that your SEO is lacking once again by way of web content or even by way of overall website design.
A low bounce rate would mean that people are clicking on your links and continuing to explore your site which means you have managed to hold their attention.
If you have a highly optimized website, one of the things you will need to be mindful of is page speed. Your page speed may be inversely affected by certain site additions, which is why it is important to keep ensuring that your site can take the load of whatever is being added.
A reliable SEO service provider will also help ensure that your site speed isn’t affected. Efficient site speed means higher usability and user retention.
Keyword rankings are quite changeable hence most reputable and competent SEO companies make sure their professionals are up to date on the same. Luckily, as a business owner who is investing in SEO, keyword rankings are also something you can look into yourself. Relevant Google searches will tell you exactly where the keywords being used rank in the general scheme of things.
If you find the SEO company you have hired is consistently using low ranking keywords, this might just be a red flag.
Domain authority or relevance describes how the Google engine algorithm/interface reads and perceives your website. Relevant and up to date content and SEO strategies result in higher domain authority. This means you rank higher and will also have access to an automatically generated knowledge graph. Though it is not easy to gauge your domain authority, you do have online tools that can help you with the same.
Fresh Back links/Referring Domains
The term incoming links is used to describe the general body of web-based links which direct users to your main site or page in their entirety. Referring domains, on the other hand, refers to domains that are not directly related to your site and hence can be described as unique.
References and links from external or unrelated sites improve your overall domain authority and any good SEO service will ensure that these are in adequate supply!
The metrics or KPIs mentioned above are the ones most easy to gauge and understand as a user or client. There are other indicators that you could also look into such as crawl errors and local visibility. Other metrics such as conversion rates require setting up of priorities and goals, which is in a sense one of the most important things to do when it comes to your SEO.
Proper search engine optimizing is a specialized process; working with an experienced and competent SEO company is of utmost importance. If the SEO services you receive are up to the mark, the benefits it will bring to your business are immense. The points discussed here should help you determine whether or not the company you have chosen is really on the ball!
Roland G.Cardoza /