Your online reputation might not have been at the top of your to-do list a decade ago, but now it could make or break your business. Connecting directly with consumers and clients via blogs, social media and managing how you are seen is a vital way of developing a reputation on the Internet. Yet if it isn’t tackled properly, if the right research isn’t done you can easily end up alienating your target markets around the world.
If you are the head of a global brand and want to communicate with customers and clients in the same places where you work then before you start posting you need to start thinking. Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to say? And most importantly, how do you want to say it?
Translating Your Message
It has never been easier to communicate directly with consumers and clients. Via blogs and social media you can tell customers directly about the work you are doing and how you are doing it. The way these methods work is personality. Instead of being a stiff, formal multi-national company you become a human face and a human voice able to engage with customers typeset to typeset.
If you are only talking to customers in your native tongue this is easy enough. But if you’re competing with multi-lingual firms and you have clients in every corner of the globe then you need to start researching. First of all what audience do you want to talk to and what language do they speak?
The next step is about how you talk to them. Online translators like Babelfish and Google Translate are popular to translate text because they are free, but their lack of price can come with a cost. Their translations are not always reliable and can give you a standardized version of the language.
The power of the personality driven blog and social media feed comes from its use of a less formalized language, using colloquialisms or even slang. Even in English this can be jump out at you if you use British English instead of American English. It can alienate customers, making them think you don’t understand them at all. Before they’ve even understood what you’re saying, they’ve stopped listening.
A professional copywriter who can speak and write the language will help translate your message and help you connect with customers. It might be more expensive, but in the long run it is more cost-effective for your online reputation.
But managing your online reputation in a global marketplace is not just about language. Think about colour schemes on your blog and website. Different colours have different meanings around the world.
Where Are We Talking?
Social media is popular around the globe as it has given people a voice to engage with the brands that matter to them, but not everyone uses the same networks.
- In China Twitter is blocked so users prefer a localized network similar to Facebook called RenRen.
- Orkut is the most popular network in India and Brazil while in Japan Mixi and Gree come out on top.
- In Russia Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki have, between them, over 100 million users.
Research each network and understand how people communicate on them.
In the same way you’d conduct a poll on Facebook but would be more likely to ask a direct question on twitter each network comes with its own trends and practices. Get them wrong and customers will switch off. Get them right and you engage with a whole new audience on their level.
What Did You Say Again?
You start your online campaign; you target it for each market using different methods of engagements for each network and community. But how do you know how it’s being received?
Regular reports and research might be costly in terms of time, but knowing what is being said and responding if you need to is a vital part of managing your online reputation. You might find you need to tweak your message.
Google Alerts is great for countries that use Google, but it is not the most popular search engine everywhere.
- Baidu is used most frequently in China also think about Yahoo, Yandex and Naver.
- MonitorThis is a good tool to find out what people are saying about you in 25 different search engines.
The key to managing a global online reputation is to start with research knowing the target markets you want to communicate with and how you can get involved in their conversation. It might involve investment but the initial outlay is worth it to ensure you are speaking to clients and customers in the right language. This helps manage your reputation and make sure your message is getting out there effectively.
Knowing the networks people use and also how they use them means you can understand how you can get involved. Monitoring and managing what is said and the reaction of different markets is vital to understand whether what you are saying is being understood.
About the Author
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a provider of quality translation services in the US. 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 60 million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.
** Note from Gera: I take this opportunity to wish You an Excellent Start of this New Year 2012 🙂 **
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