In the 21st century, it’s never been easier to connect with people around the world. An online presence allows amateur and professional bloggers to talk directly to followers and customers, no matter where they are or in which time zone. It’s also the ideal way for a brand to reach a wider market, promote itself and build its international reputation.
Of course, a person’s or company’s – online reputation is an important asset and it can easily be put at a risk. If your experience and skills are trusted, then you’re well on the way to success. But it can only take a few negative comments or a bad service experience to alienate readers or customers.
Knowing how to monitor and manage your online reputation has never been more important. It can get harder when you’re working in multiple languages. Here are a few tips to help you make the right impression.
Localizing your reputation
English might still be the world’s most spoken language online, but it accounts for only around a quarter of total usage. Chinese is fast catching up, and is soon set to overtake English as the dominant language of the web. And use is growing fast among Arabic, Russian and Portuguese speakers.
If you’re serious about targeting a new market, then speaking to your audience in their own language should be a first step. That doesn’t just mean running your site through Google Translate. If you want it to be fluent, readable and easily understood, it’s best to use native-speaking translators or copywriters to translate your content.
Building trust and creating a positive customer experience means understanding your audience. Avoid jargon, colloquial expressions or cultural references that could cause confusion. The chances are your efforts will pay off. According to marketing experts Sak Onkvisit and John J. Shaw, the authors of International Marketing: Analysis and Strategy, people are three times more likely to purchase from an online site that is in their own language.
Target the best social media platforms
Social media sites can be a useful tool in building and maintaining your online reputation. As well as setting up accounts on key networks, monitor them closely for mentions of your brand.
Even though Facebook and Twitter are the most popular worldwide, they aren’t the leaders in every country. For example, if you’re targeting Russian users, you’ll want to use Vkontakte, which is reported to have over 100 million active users. The Russia-based site also has many followers in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and the Ukraine.
Regularly invest in your brand
It’s very easy to launch a Facebook or Twitter page, but you need to invest time and effort in it to see results. The key is to engage with your readers and followers, interacting with them and answering questions. If you find you only have time to update social media every few days, it could be worth employing a local social media manager. This has the added benefit in that you can choose a native speaker who’ll get the language and local references right.
Talking, and listening, to your customers will help you build a loyal following and boost your reputation. Encourage comments and reviews, and consider using online polls or running a live question and answer session. Getting customers involved is a good way of finding out their views and showing you care. The worst case scenario is people posting negative comments on Twitter because they feel ignored.
Keeping track of conversations
When it comes to finding out what people are saying about you, you need to do more than simply keep track of your own sites and social media accounts. This can seem a daunting task. But there are plenty of free tools such as Google Alerts, which can track mentions of your brand name or keywords. You can set the frequency of these, from immediate alerts to daily or weekly updates. It’s also possible to adjust the settings to monitor different languages.
There are only five countries where Google is not the leading search engine. But these include China and Russia, two huge markets. If you have a presence in China, you need to monitor Baidu , while Yandex is the key player in Russia. Meanwhile, Japanese users still prefer Yahoo! Japan, and Naver is the favourite in South Korea.
Always encourage reviews and discussions
Glowing reviews can go a long way to boosting your credibility. But a few negative ones can obviously be damaging. By actively encouraging feedback, it gives you a chance to respond to criticism and attempt to put it right. It also helps you understand your customers’ experience, and improve relations in the longer term.
A good way to encourage reviews is by running a competition or offering discounts. But make sure you treat all customers equally, whether they write good or bad comments! If you come across as only rewarding positive feedback, this could harm your reputation. Taking a leading role in discussions and responding to existing ones can help ensure you’re taken seriously in a competitive market
There’s no doubt managing your online reputation across different languages takes time and effort. But if you invest in protecting your brand from the start, you’ll find the hard work is rewarded.
About the author
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, one of the world’s fastest growing translation agencies. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 150 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
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