Social media . . . an audience of 1.2 billion around the world

If you use social media in the UK, you’re likely to have followed (or ‘Liked’) some businesses on Facebook or Twitter. YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest are just a handful of the other biggest players and offer fantastic opportunities for brands and businesses to interact with their customers.

Many UK businesses are already recognising the benefits of using social media as part of their marketing campaign. But do you know how important it is to consider localisation of social media when planning your international marketing strategy?

We can’t get enough social

Social networking has quickly become the most popular online activity in the world, reaching a massive 82% of the world’s internet users and representing 1.2 billion users globally. So when planning to take your business abroad, don’t underestimate the importance of social media.

The rise and rise of Facebook across the globe

Clearly Facebook is the most popular social network in the West, but what percentage of the population are using Facebook in other countries?

  • Brazil – 76.7%
  • Italy – 70.5%
  • Spain – 67%
  • France – 66.9%
  • UK – 63.9%
  • Germany – 54.6%
  • New Zealand – 79.8%
  • Taiwan – 77.9%
  • United States – 69.6%

(Source: Nielson)

This would suggest that Facebook is where you need to be. The site is expanding into new markets all the time. It didn’t launch in Russia until January 2010, yet today has more than 4.5 million regular users, many who have switched from home-grown networks such as Vkontakte, indicating a trend towards more global networks.

There’s always an exception to the rule . . .

However, the same isn’t true in all countries. China has the world’s largest online population (about 550 million users), but due to the country’s extensive web censorship program Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other foreign social networking sites are banned. Yet despite this, 91% of internet users say they have visited a social media platform in the last six months, with sites such as Qzone (used by 44%), Sina Weibo (19%), Renren (19%), Tencent Weibo (8%) and Kaixin (7%) playing a part.

Social media has made such as impact in China that Chinese consumers say they are more likely to consider buying a product if they see it mentioned on a social media site.

Considering China is expected to be the world’s biggest e-commerce market by 2015 – with a projected US$2.83 trillion spent in online purchases by 300 million online buyers – it is well worth including Chinese social media in your international marketing campaign and seriously looking into Chinese language translations.

The same is true of many other markets. Social media is continuing to grow and offers huge potential to businesses wishing to expand. See the social media use around the world: http://en.ria.ru/infographics/20110228/162792394.html.

Right place, right time, right language

The businesses that put in the effort when it comes to researching social media usage in their target markets and carrying out appropriate website localisation and marketing translations are the ones that will really reap the benefits of the social media boom. It is simply a case of determining which social networks to use and tailoring your language and marketing translations accordingly.

Comtec supports businesses with their international expansion plans by providing a full range of language, translation and localisation services, including website translation, software localisation, transcreation, marketing translation, website internationalisation, international keyword research and international social media research.

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