If your brand is to be truly global and effectively use Twitter, then you need to be tweeting across multiple languages. As yet, it seems many brands haven’t taken that step. Now is a crucial time for corporate tweeters to understand that going multilingual will be an essential building block for their future online success.
According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 9 out of 10 European internet users prefer browsing in their own language, adding extra weight to the argument that if you want to engage readers in non-English speaking countries, then you need to speak their language.
For those involved with social media marketing, in particular Twitter, this has special relevance, thanks to the enormous growth of Twitter in foreign language markets – last year over 60 percent of registered accounts were outside the U.S. and more than half of all tweets were in a language other than English (and that number is likely larger now).
Consultant John Yunker’s study last year found that only one third of global companies he surveyed supported Twitter feeds outside their domestic market. British business in particular seem to be lagging on updating to multilingual Twitter accounts, with only one British business in the top 10 of global tweeters.
Here are five multilingual Twitter account strategies.
1. Have Separate Feeds and Follows
Your first port of call is most certainly setting up Twitter feeds for each target language – whatever you do, don’t start tweeting in 20 different languages from the same account!
Make sure your biography for each account is optimized with keywords researched specifically for that language, so that Twitter users can find you. The assistance of a local Twitter user will be invaluable in identifying top Influencers to follow in each target country.
2. Integrate With a Translation Service
A simple way to manage to multilingual Twitter accounts is to integrate your systems with a translation service, to allow for the automated transfer of tweets to human translators, and then back to be scheduled in your Twitter feeds.
You simply type your tweet in English and click send and it gets sent automatically to the translators, who translate your tweets either one at a time, or in batches, and transfer them back for automatic scheduling.
3. Don’t Forget Local Content
Naturally, it would be much easier to simply research and write tweets for your target market and have them translated into foreign languages. But how relevant is will a tweet about a product launch or conference in New York be to a follower in Japan?
Don’t underestimate the importance of sending tweets tailored to the local audience – to do this properly you may need to employ a local social media manager to maintain your Twitter feeds for each language, translating relevant tweets from your main feed, and adding tweets specifically for the local audience.
4. Post Regularly
If you or your team don’t have time to keep your many accounts up to date with daily tweets, then hiring someone to do just that is imperative to your success. They’ll be able to keep your feeds loaded with quality content, see what works for your business and, most importantly, respond to your followers.
While Twitter can be a powerful tool in terms of raising your profile and boosting your rankings in real-time search results, that’s not going to happen if you’re simply sending tweets out into the stratosphere. Interaction is key, for all of your accounts, as is providing a consistent stream of quality “human” content – nothing’s worse than being spammed by a tweetbot.
For each of your foreign language Twitter accounts, your strategy should be to follow what people are talking about locally, put your own spin on it and try to get follows or retweets from influential users. The great thing about Twitter is that trending topics change all the time, so you’ll never get stuck in a rut!
With the right approach to managing your multilingual Twitter accounts, you can make your 140 characters count, whatever language they’re in.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!