How Does Localization Relate to Social Media?

This post was inspired by an article written by Clinton Lanier on Technorati. 

Many companies use social media to get in direct contact with their customer base. This allows consumers to engage with each other as well as the product makers about their issues, concerns, recommendations or satisfaction with a product. This instant feedback approach has reshaped how companies deal with customers: feedback is instant.

But what if there is no forum for your company’s customers to discuss their concerns in their own language using their own forum? Companies that have localized their product to multiple locales need also to consider localizing their social media messages for that same location. As I wrote before in a post about localized software in China, a successfully localized product considers all aspects of a product, not just translation. This same idea applies to the social aspects of said product.

A feedback avenue should be established for international customers to discuss their concerns, just as there is for domestic customers. In his article, Lanier suggests companies establish a social media presence in every locale they sell in, but his argument doesn’t necessarily apply to tech companies. His examples include Starbucks and Panera Bread shaping their message to specific demographics across a country (Happy Cinco de Mayo! Show this tweet and receive a free drink!). This messaging is effective for its goal, but goals, as they relate to software and technology, are obviously different (and that’s what we’re focusing on here).

Companies that have localized well have already established a presence inside the locales they sell in. Assuming a trust has been created between the company and the consumer in a locale, setting up a social media avenue should be easy. My suggestion would be to do a little research on what social media platforms are most popular in a given locale, and set up an account focused on that area. Assuming your product has already been localized to that area, you should be familiar with the concerns of customers in that locale. Use this background information to establish a dialogue with customers to help further refine your product. Localization isn’t a one-time process, it’s ongoing and never ending as technology improves at an incredible rate. Staying on the front lines through social media will undoubtedly help shape a successful localization campaign.

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