Using Facebook as Part of your Global Translation Strategy

As we’re all aware, social media has become the number one viable method for businesses to grow and connect with their audiences. So much so, in fact, that in 2014 marketers admitted that 97% of their marketing strategy relied on social media, up from 86% the previous year (Source: Social Media Examiner, 2014).

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There’s no wonder, as almost every month it seems there are new social media platforms being added to the mix. While most of them fail to gain a lasting audience, however, there are still plenty that attract a large enough user-base to keep them viable. Still, of all the social media platforms out there now, Facebook remains the most popular and the most business-friendly platform for marketing your brand.

That being said, if you want to attract a global market using Facebook, there are some considerations and steps you would need to take in order to get the most out of your social media marketing strategy. The top two benefits of social media marketing are of course increased exposure, which in turn leads to increased traffic.   While these benefits are great to have, they are not always so easily obtained, especially on the global scale.

What works for some, may not work for all

When you are utilizing Facebook for social media marketing, you probably are sharing pertinent articles to your business on your timeline, interesting industry-related news, and note-worthy blog posts that may or may not be third-party posts (although you should probably make sure to write some yourself, as original content goes a long way).   This strategy may work well for your local audience, but it may not have the same effect on audiences in other parts of the world (or even other parts of your own country). Just because a story is interesting in your ‘neck of the woods’, it doesn’t mean it will draw the same kind of attention in other parts.

Like everything else, the best solution first starts with research. First, find out which areas in particular you want to target in your social media approach. The world is a big place, and usually the effort put into a blanket-approach to marketing doesn’t yield the results you would hope. When you do that, you will almost certainly end up exhibiting yourself as generic, and generic isn’t really all that appealing.

Instead, once you have a particular locale in mind, find out what is going on in that area. What local news is trending, what is the pop culture, what local businesses are comparable to yours, etc.?   Once you find that out, you can write or post more on-topic news and articles that will generate more “buzz” in that location.

On top of this, you also want to promote your business by relating it that particular location. Marketing is more about just gathering the most number of “Likes” as possible. “Likes” don’t really do anything in the long run. You have to be able to relate your business to that audience by addressing needs or concerns of that particular audience. So engaging articles may be great at drawing an audience, you must still “sell” your company to them once you’ve got their attention.

To Translate or not to Translate, that is the question

While it may be obvious, this concept more often than not gets overlooked by many social media marketers: Not everyone speaks English.

While English may be very prevalent, even in other countries, it may be surprising to some that only 27% of internet users are native English speakers (Source: Wikipedia). In the same vein, almost 75% of people will only engage in web content if it is in their native language, even if they do speak English as a secondary language. (Source: SiteProNews)  Of course, even if you happen to be multilingual, chances are you will not be able to post content in all of the languages you wish to target. For that reason, you will have to translate your content in order to reach your viewers.

While you may think Google Translate or some other free machine translation tool would be good enough to translate your content, the truth is that the quality of these translation tools is nowhere near accurate enough for any serious business. While the translations may give the reader a general idea of what you are talking about, the grammatically incorrect post may actually turn more people away than attract. If you read a post by a company riddled with spelling and grammatical errors in English, chances are it would leave you with a negative feeling towards that company. The same is true for other languages.   That is why professional translation services are needed to provide truly accurate and localized translations of your social media content.

Professional translation services can get quite expensive, however, especially when you are translating multiple posts a week into multiple languages. Just like before, research is needed to figure out exactly which locales you want to target with your posts, so you don’t end up spending money for professionally translated content in areas that would have a low ROI for your company regardless.

Track your Social Media efforts

If you are going to spend time (and money) marketing on social media, you will want to be able to find out categorically what is working and what isn’t. While the concept is obvious, it turns out that when surveyed only about one in three (37%) of social media marketers agreed that they regularly measure their ROI for social media activities (Source: Social Media Examiner, 2014). This can be for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the most logical explanation is that they just don’t know how to analyze their social media activities.

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While there are many tools, software packages, and fancy methods you could use to analyze your social media efforts, you really don’t need any of them as long as you stick with the main function, which is to categorize, categorize, categorize. For this, all you need is a simple Excel spread sheet to keep track and store your efforts on an ongoing basis.

Step 1:

In that Excel spread sheet, you will want to create categories for practically every element you can think of (or at least want to analyze). Some of the most important ones you can consider include:   Date, Network, Categories, Subcategories, Target, Calls to Action, Meta-tags, Posts, Impressions, Comments, Likes, Shares, Clicks, and Total engagement.

Step 2:

Under ‘Categories’ and ‘Subcategories’, you will want to fill in what subjects you are actually marketing in your posts. For instance, a Category could be “Product” or “Holiday”, and a Subcategory could be “Sweaters” or “Sale”. You will also keep track of posts that you share from other sources, labeling them as “Third-party content”. Depending on your company and your posts, these subjects (and the quantity) of course will be up to you.

Step 3:

Next, you will want to outline your Targets and your Calls to Action (CTAs). For Targets, again this is up to you. You can be very general about it, and say ‘Males’ and ‘Females’, or be much more specific. Your CTAs can be anything from ‘Subscribe’, ‘Visit Website’, ‘Buy Now’ or simply ‘Share’. Essentially it’s what your goal is for the viewer to do from reading your post. Please note, not every post has to have a money-making agenda attached to it. In fact, that’s a good way to lose your audience. However there should be a purpose to every post, even if it is just to engage your audience’s attention with an interesting or humorous post. In which case, ‘Share’ or ‘Like’ might be your only desired CTA.

Step 4:

After you have your Excel sheet set up, now it’s time to use it! Fill out the information you have gathered so far for each post, including a brief description of what your post was about under the ‘Posts’ category. Once you have finished you are ready to gather the data which includes ‘Impressions’, ‘Comments’, ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, ‘Clicks’, etc. To do this, Facebook offers a free tool (provided you have at least 30 Likes) called Insights, which gathers all of this data automatically. You will have to set this up for your page, however, but it is relatively simple. I won’t go into detail here, as you can read all about it on Facebook’s page here.

Step 5:

Now that all of your data is filled out on your spreadsheet, make the results of the best-performing content easier to see by sorting the ‘Total Engagement’ column in descending order. Now you have a detailed list of your best performing posts at the top which include all the details including subject matter, categories, subcategories, CTAs, etc. You can then use this information not only as an analysis of what worked and what didn’t, but also to gauge what your next post should include (depending on your goal), to be most effective.

*These steps were originally published in SocialMediaExaminer

In the end, it’s up to you how much time and focus you put into social media marketing, and how well you maintain your Facebook profile. But currently, social media offers the most expansive and dynamic solutions for reaching the most people. If you do your research and put the most energy into the right venues, you can be sure your gain will be worth the effort.

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