A few weeks ago we presented in a Webinar hosted by TechSoup that was all about Internationlization and Localization. I've posted my presentation on SlideShare here. In this article, I've put together the following key points and provided some more color around implementing this project.
Begin By Setting Your Goals
The first point is: Don’t just internationalize to internationalize. As with any process that needs to have measurable success, you’ll need to set some goals that you want to achieve first.
Some questions to ask in setting these goals might include:
- Are you trying extend the reach into new markets?
- What markets and why?
- What does success in extend reach mean to you?
- Are there numbers you are targeting?
Remember - It’s really only possible to measure success if you set measurable goals before you start the project.
Select Key Targets and Go After Those First
Once you have a good sense of your goals, you need to drill down to specific tactics or targets to go after. This will probably include key languages AND countries. Be as specific as possible here.
It’s not as simple as just choosing, say, Spanish. Are you going to target Mexico, Central America, South America, or Spain. These regions not only use different forms of Spanish, but also use different words to describe and relate to different things. Don’t try to tackle just a language, target a country to help you focus and improve chances for success.
Identify Dominant Social Media Platforms for Targeted Countries
Many people assume that Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are the dominant social media channels across this world. This is not necessarily true. Part of focusing in on specific languages and countries allows you also target the more widely used social media platform in that country. Is it Tuenti in Spain, Orkut in Latin America, StudioVZ in Germany, or Vkontakte in Russia?
Even among the top Social Media sites, Facebook may be more prevalent in one country and Twitter or Linked in may be in another. Again, get specific and target the key areas.
Setup Unique Communities for Each Country
It’s really important to show a region that you’re serious about engaging them, don’t intermingle English content with content in other languages.
Set up different communities for each country and/or language. These could be separate Facebook pages, Twitter Accounts, or Pages on your own platform.
It’s also a good idea to ensure branding is translated and localized.
Don't Just Translate, Localize
Yes, you need to translate first. There are plenty of companies out there that can help you with this. But it’s not as simple as just translating your English campaign material into another language. You need to localize that material to be relevant to your targeted audience. The more local feel you can give to your stories, the more adoption and success you are going to see.
Find Potential Fans and Engage Them
You’ve got potential existing fans out there, they just don’t know it yet. You’ve already identified what platforms they are on. Find them and invite them to your new community. Don’t be shy. Reach out via email, Friend them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, or repin them on Pintrest.
Recruit Locat Evangelists
Too many organization drop the ball at this step – maybe because it’s a type of heavy lifting. It’s also probably the most important thing you can do:
Try to identify local evangelists to help you in creating content and moderate your campaign. These may be people in country that you already know, or, they may be people who adopt your campaign early and with vigor. They’ll be the ones liking everything your post, commenting, and generally interacting with you, the campaign, and your audience.
You may not have any evangelists at first, but don’t worry, if you’re passionate about what you are doing, they’ll be attracted to you soon enough. And the best part? You don’t have to pay them. Just give them status and/or recognition and they will do it for free.