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How to Market to a Multilingual Audience with Video Content

Over the past several years, social media video marketing has grown in popularity, showcasing how effective it can be to focus on this aspect of your marketing plan when deciding how best to reach a multilingual audience. There are a variety of options on social media platforms alone. Some of the biggest players are YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. Each platform has its merits, depending on your overall goals, and the audience you’re targeting in your marketing efforts. So how do you begin?

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Which social media channels should you use to market to a multilingual audience?

The first step is to figure out on which platform(s) your target demographic is watching the majority of their videos. For example, the majority of Snapchat users are females between the ages of 18 and 24 in the U.S., followed by France and the United Kingdom. Instagram users are usually slightly older, with the majority of users under the age of 29, but with a large user base between the ages of 30 and 49. The largest demographic of users is still female, but 80% of Instagram users are based outside of the U.S., making it attractive for those who plan to market their products overseas.

Conversely, YouTube users are mostly male, with a growing population of users in the 35+ and 55+ age groups. YouTube videos span 76 different languages (from 88 different countries), and like Instagram, 80% of its users are outside of the U.S.

What are the key differences between the social media video platforms?

Once you’ve determined which platforms you’ll use to reach your target demographic, you need to know some of the key differences between the platforms so you can use them effectively.

Both Snapchat and Instagram feature short videos called “stories.” Once posted, these stories will disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat stories are 10 seconds long, and Instagram’s are 15. You can utilize stories to share a combination of videos and photos that your viewers will have access to for just 24 hours, which is why this platform is best used for sharing your brand’s personality with your viewers, or promoting engagement from your audience in a more time-sensitive way. Businesses can pay to sponsor and feature their stories, or utilize hashtags to help more users find them organically.

In addition to stories, Instagram offers minute-long video posts that can be placed in an account’s newsfeed, along with a connected IGTV channel for longer videos. These videos will stay in your feed and IGTV account forever, unless you manually delete them, so you can use these to further engage with your audience with content you wish to share long-term.

On YouTube, you can upload longer videos and keep them on your brand’s own channel. You can promote your videos on YouTube through sharing your videos on other social media platforms, encouraging viewers to like and subscribe to see new content when you post it.

For each of these social media networks, you can create accounts and channels specifically for your users who speak other languages. For example, if you are marketing to a French audience, you can create a channel that shares original content specifically for that group so that it is not missed within your English feed, and so that your English-speaking users aren’t confused by French content in the middle of your stories.

What are your next steps for successful video marketing with your multilingual audience?

Once you’ve figured out the best platforms to use and types of videos your brand can create for your new target audience, start posting! Be authentic, post content that showcases your personality, and start marketing to your new audience! There will likely be a lot of trial and error as you begin. You’ll quickly find what works and what doesn’t. That’s okay! Consistency is key on these platforms; stick with it!

What to Consider When Optimizing Your Multilingual SEO Strategy for Voice Search

Although voice searches have increased in popularity over the past several years, largely due to the rise of voice assistants like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, they’ve actually been possible since 2008. While customers can search for a variety of topics using their voice — similarly to how they conduct a search via desktop — there are some key differences between the two search types that are prompting businesses to focus on an SEO strategy that also encompasses voices searches. Just as you optimize your SEO strategy for desktop searches, you’ll want to pay attention to the nuances of your customers’ voice search habits when looking to grow your web presence, especially among multilingual audiences.

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Here are a few ways to ensure you are optimizing your SEO strategy to ensure you are accounting for your multilingual audience’s voice search habits.

Consider the characteristics of a typical voice search

First and foremost, it is important to understand how a voice search is different than a desktop search. Knowing the types of searches your audience is performing through this medium will help you develop the right SEO strategy to respond to the queries they make.

Voice searches are typically more conversational and longer than desktop searches, since users do not have to go through the physical effort of typing the query. They are also often phrased as a question, since voice assistants seemingly respond to the person asking the question. What’s more, 22% of voice searches are performed so that users can find local information. Many mobile users are also on the go and need a quick response. They may never actually click on your website, as long as the search yields the information they need on the results page.

So, while a desktop user might search for “best dog groomer New York,” a voice search user may instead ask, “Which dog groomers are open now near me?”

Determine how to utilize the information to optimize your SEO strategy

Now that you know a little about the characteristics of a voice search, think about how your target audience speaks. What types of questions do they have about your products or services? Which languages do they speak? Which dialects? How might they phrase those questions in their primary language?

Once you get to know how your target audience speaks, make sure your website provides answers to these questions so that users can get the information they need on the go. If your website is translated into another language, search results should be displayed in the language detected in a voice search.  

In addition, keep your business listing up-to-date with your current hours, address, and phone number, and try to encourage positive reviews from customers. Whereas a desktop user may have more time to browse other websites of potential options, the customer who searched for “Which dog groomers are open now near me?” will likely never click on your website, but will, instead, look at the list of potential dog groomers and either call or visit the groomer based on proximity and ratings.

Bonus tip…

Check to see if voice search is already available for the language your target audience speaks. As of 2019, Google Assistant was the voice assistant with the largest number of languages it understands, conversing in over 30 languages to date. However, if the language your target audience speaks isn’t one of these 30, voice search traffic will not be as relevant…(yet!). Of course, it is still important to gather the data you need for when a target language is added, as the list of available languages is constantly growing.

How to Attract Chinese Real Estate Buyers

Chinese home buyers have led the pack in foreign sales for the past four straight years, and according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, Chinese buyers account for over 27% of all international home sales in the United States. Not only are Chinese buyers purchasing more often than any other international buyer, but they’re spending more as well. In 2016, the average purchase price for other foreign buyers was $477,462. The average purchase price for Chinese buyers was $936,615! And ~71% of those purchases were paid in cash. If your company is not already focusing on this demographic, it’s a great time to start. Here are a few ways you can appeal to the Chinese homebuyer.

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· Translate listings. A Chinese buyer will likely be using search terms in his/her native language. If your listings are already translated into Chinese, it will simplify the process for potential buyers and ensure your listings show up in more search results for them.

· Attract via social media. It’s important to note that the Chinese do not use traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter that we use here, due to strict Internet regulations in China. Instead they use apps like WeChat, and it’s likely they’ll prefer communicating directly within the app since it’s actually the primary way the Chinese connect these days. You can download this app now and create your professional profile to start promoting listings right away.

· Learn about Chinese culture. Take a few minutes to look into what is considered proper etiquette to a Chinese buyer. You can find a great list here. This will help you learn more about Chinese customs in order to make positive first impressions.

· Consider the language. You can, of course, hire an agent who is also fluent in Mandarin. However, this is not necessary. Even if buyers do not speak English, you can communicate with them by utilizing on-site or telephonic interpreting services.

· Be patient! These clients live in China, which means they are 12 to 15 hours ahead of realtors here in the U.S. Email and text communication may take 24 hours to complete, since each person is in an entirely different time zone. Be patient and know that building a proper relationship with this person may take some time, but if you are consistent, prompt and helpful, they are more likely choose you as their realtor when they decide to invest in a property.

If you’ve had success with Chinese buyers in your area, we’d love to hear success stories and your own pointers. Feel free to comment below and share them with us!

Localization Fails in International Markets: Don't Let This Be You!

Localization is the process of adapting a product to your target market’s cultural, technical, and linguistic requirements. Localizing your product and marketing strategy ensures your international audience is able to interact with your product effortlessly in a way that seems like it was created just for them. Having a professional team handle the localization process is crucial, as these 5 brands found out after their own localization blunders!

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1. Apple. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the Apple II was localized for various European markets and Japan. In a race to launch before competitor IBM, Apple failed to localize their keyboard for European markets, and did not include umlauts, accents and other punctuation marks necessary to write in many European languages. They also neglected to translate their user manuals entirely into Japanese! IBM may have reached these markets more slowly, but their focus on proper localization meant they had greater success over Apple’s hastily handled global product release.

2. Pepsi. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pepsi decided to go international. Their slogan at the time? “Come alive! You’re in the Pepsi generation!”. The campaign was a success in the West, but ran into some hitches when they tried to localize it for China and Germany. In China, it was mistranslated as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead!” and in Germany as “Rise from the grave with Pepsi!” Not exactly the slogan they were hoping for!

3. Honda. In 2001, this Japanese car manufacturer decided not to change the name of the Fitta when releasing the compact car in Sweden. Unfortunately for Honda, “fitta” is a vulgar word in Swedish, referring to a woman’s genitals. Yikes! Honda quickly made a change and decided to call the car the Honda Jazz in Europe and the Honda Fit in the U.S.

4. Parker Pens. In 1994, Parker Pens decided to market its pens to a Mexican audience. Their headline was “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you” but the word for “embarrass” was mistranslated as “embarazar” which means “impregnate” in Spanish! The mistranslated ad read “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. Oops!

5. Starbucks. In Italian, “latte” means “milk”, so Starbucks used the term to sell their café latte drink in their European and English-speaking markets. This worked well pretty much everywhere… except in Germany. In German, “latte” literally means “pole”, but is used as a slang term to mean “male erection”, so you can imagine the reaction when Starbucks began selling lattes in its German locations! The German people, however, took it mostly in good humor and Starbucks actually still includes the untranslated drink on its menu there even today!

To successfully launch a product globally, be sure you’ve got a professional team handling it for you. This will ensure you do not succumb to potentially disastrous errors for your company abroad (and it keep you off of lists like these!).

Specific Challenges for International Students and How to Overcome Them

When it comes to starting a career at a new college, all students have their own sets of challenges. International students, however, face a unique set. Not only are they beginning a new semester at an American university, but they are beginning this journey in an entirely new country. Here are a few of the challenges international students may face when they arrive on your campus.

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  • Culture shock. Coming to the United States from another country can be quite difficult for international students. They have to become accustomed to things like what foods we eat, how we dress, how to address their fellow students and professors, etc. Also, students may find themselves with more or less structure or leisure time than they would in their home countries, which can be quite an adjustment. These may seem like minor issues, but culture shock is real.
     
  • Academics. The academic world can be very different in the U.S. as well. Grades may be calculated differently here than back home, and they may not be used to the idea of having homework every day to complete after classes have finished.  There is also a larger focus on general education requirements in the U.S. than there are in other countries, so international students may be confused by having to take Gen. Ed. courses that are so far removed from what their major actually is.
     
  • Classroom structure. International students may not be used to having discussions in class, as in many countries, the professor leads lectures and students simply listen, only speaking when spoken to or asked a specific question. This means that international students may not be comfortable speaking up in classroom discussions and may need some extra encouragement to participate. Some professors may be more or less formal than what they are used to in their home country as well, meaning the student has to figure out the appropriate way to adjust to each individual class.
     
  • Language barriers. Even though international students have to pass an English proficiency exam to study in the U.S., this does not always mean adjusting to life in a completely English-speaking world will be easy. Students come to your campus from different parts of the country and will have differing accents, slang terms, and speak at different speeds.  Over time, this should get easier and easier for your international students, but there is certainly an adjustment period.
     
  • Homesickness. International students are usually excited to be here, but that does not mean they do not miss friends, family, and their way of life back home. For some, this can make the rest of the adjustments all the more difficult.

While you may not be able to necessarily relieve these issues for international students, understanding some of their unique challenges is key in being able to help them adjust to student life here in the U.S. more easily, making your university a more welcoming place for them to spend their semester. This, in turn, means that they are more likely to recommend your university to their peers back home.

Foreign Language Social Media Marketing: From Post to Purchase

Social Media is a key strategy for just about any business’ international marketing strategy. Having an engaging foreign language social media presence is not enough, however. Once you engage your users on social media platforms, it is essential that users have a positive experience from the moment they click on your post to the moment they check out and purchase your service or product. Here are a few ways you can ensure this experience is seamless for your foreign language market.

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1.    Choose social media channels carefully depending on your target market. Facebook and Twitter may be dominant players across many international communities, but you may also find that your target market hangs out on social media channels you are unfamiliar with. If you are marketing to consumers in China, for example, you will want to familiarize yourself with their top 3 social media channels: WeChat, Tencent QQ, and Sina Weibo.

2.    Localize your content. Language is the first step, and it’s vital to getting it right. Proper translation of your posts is critical to making sure your message is received in a positive way. Since “speaking” to your audience in the U.S. is different than speaking to those in another country, localization is the next step after translation. Not only do your words need to translate well, but the images, colors, slogans, etc. that you use must also resonate with potential customers. Knowledge of trends and culture will take you far with this step. But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to tackle localization. Professionals specializing in localization for various markets will be a key factor in the big picture, and you can hire someone to help you.

3.    Focus on where your content takes your audience. Once you’ve engaged your audience with social media posts, make sure the pages you link to are also translated and localized for this market. If the page your post directs users to is only in English, potential customers will get confused. Instead, provide links to pages specifically designed for them. They will be more inclined to continue reading about your product or service if it is in their own language and localized to fit their demographic and culture.

4.    Ensure your checkout experience is tailored to your market. If you have spent the time and money to localize your social media posts and product landing pages for your target demographic, the last step is the “buy” button or checkout experience. If your target market resides in Germany, for example, the total amount due should be shown in Euros and the shipping and billing address fields should populate with the proper fields for a German address and not request a U.S. zip code, for example. The consumer should not feel confused by this step. Instead, they should feel confident that their items will be delivered to them without any hitches.

Knowing how to guarantee a seamless experience, from the time your team uploads your posts to the moment the consumer makes a purchase, is key when beginning your international social media-marketing journey. When done correctly, international and foreign language social media marketing can deliver tremendous ROI and turn a sizable profit for your business.

What the General Data Protection Regulation Could Mean for Your Company

If your company has access to data from customers within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards by the GDPR will be made effective on May 25, 2018. This not only affects companies based in countries within the EU, but it will also impact U.S.-based businesses that have access to data for their EU consumers. Since violating the new GDPR standards could result in serious fines for a company, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the changes coming up on May 25th.

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  • Do not assume you will not be affected just because you don’t have offices in the EU. All companies that have access to data from EU consumers need to be aware of the changes. If, for example, your company manufactures and sells products via a website that is accessible in Europe and provides the option to pay in Euros or British Pounds, this affects you, too.
     
  • The regulations do not only apply to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If your company has not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your organization will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:
    • erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
    • provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
    • provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected about them at their request.

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your company’s annual worldwide turnover. Fines this hefty could put some companies out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on every company’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection. So if your company may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25 changes. Should you need help providing the information to consumers from any of the bullet points above in specific languages, now’s the best time to get the ball rolling and plan for 2018. We’re here to help!

How To Involve Students' Parents Who Speak Foreign Languages in End-of-Year Celebrations and Events

As this quarter and semester come to an end, it's time to start thinking about those end-of-calendar-year celebrations your school puts on for students and their families. Whether these celebrations include classroom parties or outdoor game days, having parents around as volunteers can be helpful (and necessary!) to make sure everything runs smoothly. As you start to prepare these fun and interactive events on your school's campus, consider making some simple, but special, efforts to include those parents who may not speak English and may or may not have the same cultural customs as we do here in the United States.

So, how do you inform these parents of what's going on and how do you get them involved? We have some simple tips that you can put in place in the next month or so that we know will make a difference in their involvement!

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1. Start thinking now about the notes you will send home with your students and any social media messages you will post to school-specific groups and channels.

Do you have a series of notifications you send out to let parents know about the special activities and events coming up to celebrate specific holidays or end-of-year events? Consider having these announcements professionally translated so that these parents know you're making efforts to include them and inform them about what's going on in their children's classrooms. Be careful not to use any automated tools for this, as your translation will likely come back riddled with mistakes. If children need to bring something specific to class or to an activity or meal, these are important details to relay in the parents' primary language. After all, no child likes to show up to school empty-handed when his/her peers are prepared.

2. Ask for volunteers in order to get parents interested and involved. 

Many parents whose primary language is not English may seem uninterested in what's going on at their children's schools, when in reality, they just don't have the information they need in their language. Most parents are happy to be involved and asked to take part in their children's activities. So, while you're at it, ask them if they'd like volunteer to hand out art supplies for a special holiday project, bring a favorite dish, or prepare an activity. You may even have the opportunity to learn more about this family's culture just by having them share something special to them that pertains to a certain holiday or season.

3. Say "thanks".

A gesture that is absolutely universal across all languages and cultures is saying "thanks". Take a moment to recognize these parents and family members at the event/celebration so that they know you appreciate their time and work. You might even prepare a small token of your appreciation with a thank-you note in their language. It may seem like a small gesture, but these are the types of details that will keep these parents coming back and getting more involved in their children's school activities.

Finally, think outside the box. If you know that the end of the year also lines up with a holiday that several families in your student population celebrate, ask them to come to their children's classrooms and share their traditions and a special activity or dish with the class. Not only will they be touched that you asked, but the other students in the classroom will be intrigued by this extra opportunity to learn something new.

If you have any special announcements, social media posts or informational materials you'd like to send out to students' parents who speak other languages, feel free to request a free consultation. We'd be happy to help with your end-of-year fun!