Social Media Localization: The Thorough Guide

Gaurav Sharma
May 3, 2023
6 min read

Social media has become an indispensable part of any brand’s marketing strategy. And it’s easy to see why.

These platforms offer unparalleled reach and engagement opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

However, to truly connect with your target audience and build a strong brand identity, it’s essential to adopt a localized approach to social media marketing.

Localization will ensure your message doesn’t get lost in translation.

In this guide to social media localization, I’ll share six tips to help your brand thrive in different regions and cultures.

Why Do You Need to Localize Your Content?

It’s no secret that the popularity of social media is growing. More than 4.26 billion people around the world use it currently, and by 2027, this number is set to go up to six billion.

It’s no wonder, then that 92% of businesses are leveraging social media marketing to reach out to their target audience.

But merely having a social media presence is no longer enough if you want to target audiences in different countries. Messages that you’re putting out in English may simply fail to resonate with your target audience in different parts of the world.

To ensure your social media marketing campaigns are successful, you need to speak the language of your prospects and consumers.

In other words, you should focus on social media localization.

The objective of social media localization is to create tailored content in the language your target audience or market understands.

The benefits of localization include increased brand authority and higher engagement that enable businesses to establish a firm foothold in new markets.

6-Step Guide to Social Media Localization

This guide to social media localization will take you through the strategies and steps to use to achieve effective localization and expand into foreign markets with ease.

1. Understand Linguistic and Cultural Nuances

Before you start creating content or localizing for your social media audience, it’s crucial to gain a deep understanding of your target audience’s cultural and linguistic preferences.

By researching the local culture, language, values, and customs of the regions you’re targeting, you can avoid embarrassing translation errors such as this one from Coors.

The slogan “turn it loose” is perhaps one of the most quoted infamous examples of translation without localization. When translated in Spanish, it is interpreted as “suffer from diarrhea.”

There are also dialects that you need to keep in mind.

For instance, the Arabic spoken in Egypt is different from that spoken in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Getting this difference right could be the difference between a great or failed campaign.

The first step in this guide to social media localization is to understand what resonates with your target audience. Based on that, you can create content that is relevant and appealing while boosting brand value.

This may include using local colloquialisms, humor, and pop culture references that your audience can relate to.

2. Tailor Content for Users Across Regions

Each social media platform has its unique style, tone, and audience. For example, Instagram is more visually oriented, whereas Twitter is more text-based.

You should pay attention to the tone, slang, and the style of communication your target audience uses on specific social media platforms in different regions.

For effective social media localization, it’s also important to focus on local events, seasonal festivals, holidays, relevant social issues, or news.

Depending on your industry, even the weather and climate of a region can make a difference.

For example, companies in the fashion industry often promote spring and summer wear in regions with hot weather and vice versa for colder regions. If you’re opting for contactless marketing, it’s important that you get this right for your shoppable Instagram posts.

Before going to the next point in this guide on social media localization, let me emphasize that localization will also include:

  • Address formats
  • Currency
  • Pricing
  • Units of measurement
  • Date formats
  • Market-appropriate visuals and graphics
  • Culturally appropriate colors

3. Utilize In-Country Social Media Platforms to Expand Reach

While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are popular worldwide, many regions have their own social media platforms that are more popular than the global giants.

For instance, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram are the top social media platforms in Australia.

Source: SimilarWeb

But in Germany, only YouTube and Facebook make it to the list of the top social media sites.

Similarly, WeChat dominates the Chinese market, while VKontakte (VK) is popular in Russia.

4. Use Localized Hashtags to Boost Visibility in Specific Regions

Hashtags and geotags are powerful tools that can help increase the visibility of your social media content in specific regions.

By using localized hashtags and geotags, you can target users who are interested in specific topics or located in particular regions. This can help increase engagement and build brand awareness in new markets.

Local experts may sometimes be mandatory to help you write just like locals do, as different regions and languages often come with “rules” that are impossible to predict.

For example, if you have a picture with cherry blossoms targeting Japan, you can add “さくら” as a hashtag. And you’d be correct. But what you may not know is that a lot of people may also use the Kanji variant, which is “桜”

Overall, use localized hashtags and, if possible, have a local expert assist.

5. Invest in Professional Translation Services

As mentioned above, a core part of a solid social media localization strategy is using professional translation services from locals.

By working with professional translators who are native speakers of the target language, you can ensure that your content is high-quality, accurate, and culturally appropriate.

This will help you control business spending, as a more robust localization strategy will result in a higher localization ROI.

Speaking of ROI, investing in the appropriate localization tools to automate and speed up your localization process can further increase your return. Tools such as:

  • Integrated machine translation tools
  • Localization experts
  • Workflow management tools
  • CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools
  • Translation memory
  • Quality assurance and translation checking tools

6. Partner with Local Influencers to Reach Their Followers

One effective way to increase your brand’s visibility and credibility in new markets is with ambassador marketing by engaging your consumers.

Another way is to partner with local influencers who have established followings in specific regions and can help you reach new audiences quickly.

Don’t forget to track the performance of your posts with tools such as Semrush. Read this Semrush review by Attrock to know if it is the right tool for you.

Get Ahead with Localization

I’m sure you know that in today’s globalized world, social media localization is no longer just an option, but a necessity for businesses that seek to thrive in foreign markets.

These six tips I’ve listed in this guide on social media localization can help businesses expand their reach, increase engagement, and drive conversions across borders.

With the right approach and attention to detail, social media localization can be easy—and rewarding.

Gaurav Sharma
Gaurav is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. He grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions |  300K organic monthly traffic. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.
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