Do you really need to ‘pay to play’ on social media?

So I have a question: how the heck are we supposed to get noticed and win SEO points nowadays when literally everyone is adopting the same techniques and competing for the same space?

Continue reading “Do you really need to ‘pay to play’ on social media?”

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The Essential Guide to International Domain Names

If you are reading this, chances are you already understand a bit about International Domain Names (IDN) or at least the concept of fully localising your website to suit local market needs. Perhaps you are wondering how important they are for your business. Do you really need to worry about IDN’s? Do other companies similar to yours have them?

To clarify, IDNs are domain names represented by local language characters. When a user types out a URL address in local language characters, an IDN resolution process is required to locate the corresponding website or e-mail address. The goal of IDN’s is to improve the international accessibility and functionality of the Internet by allowing users to register domain names in non-English languages.

Here are three examples (UX Magazine):

country-domains

Domain names in general are hot property. Securing even a local one in your brand name can involve high costs and negotiations with existing proprietors, and most start-ups will need to consider available domain names before deciding on a brand name.

People are growing increasingly aware of the importance of international domain names. Once ‘.com’ (the world’s most popular top level domain) goes multilingual, it is safe to assume costs for IDN’s will soar and availability reduce.

Securing an IDN in your brand name now could be the best investment you make this year.

I’m not operating an international business – why would I need an IDN?

The internet opens us all up to a global market, whether we intentionally target overseas or not. Ensuring your brand ‘translates’ in international markets is essential in maximising the online success of your business.

A new European Union study – Born Global: The Potential of Job Creation in New International Businesses, supports the opinion that start-up businesses should look to tackle overseas markets regardless of how established they are in home markets. The study suggests that start-ups driven to do more business abroad in the early stages of development tend to be more profitable and innovative than those that don’t, showing faster growth and incremental work hires.

English currently dominates the number 1 position for languages used on the web, but Chinese and Spanish are not far behind. We tend to forget that most of the world’s population is non-English speaking. Globalization and the adoption of technology by indigenous and less developed countries means that the web is now more multilingual than ever before, and we can expect this sociographic trend to continue.

LC Top languages

China now has 564 million internet users and an internet penetration score of 42.1% according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Populations will naturally perform internet searches in their native language – this is where localisation plays an essential part in your online success. Adoption of an IDN is just one element of localisation, but an essential one. Without ensuring your site is as searchable as possible, additional localisation efforts will come to nothing as traffic will not be driven to your pages.

Who else has made the move towards international domain-ation?

Russia

In 2010, Russia opened its own top-level IDN, .Рф (which is the Cyrillic abbreviation of Russian Federation) for registration. In less than a year, nearly one million IDNs were registered, making .Рф the most popular IDN and one of the world’s most popular country codes.

India

With over 20 official languages using a range of scripts, India now boasts seven approved IDNs.

So what next?

By registering all international domain names you think you may need for your products and services now, you will ensure you are at a distinct competitive advantage in a global marketplace.

Businesses have already started paying above market value for IDN’s currently owned by other companies so get researching and secure the global future of your brand.

Mastering the art of multilingual Twitter engagement

#Get to know the basics

If you aren’t one of the 500 million active Twitter users across the globe, it’s time to learn some Twerminology before you proceed with your multilingual engagement tactics.

Twitter can be a valuable business tool if used correctly. Here are some basic pointers to get you started:

  • Follow your clients – an obvious but essential tactic. You need to understand what they are tweeting about to gain industry insight and ensure you are engaging their interests.
  • Research your key industry sectors – position yourself as an industry leader by engaging in conversations on latest issues with key influencers. Track industry trends and monitor feeds.
  • Follow your competitors – keep your friend’s close and your enemies closer! Monitoring what your competitors are doing means you can differentiate or duplicate to gain competitive advantage.
  • Nurture your Twitter account – provide topical content a few times a week (at least) or risk losing followers.
  • Be as objective as possible – Twitter shouldn’t be used as a ‘hard sales’ tool. Share occasional corporate accomplishments but focus primarily on engaging discussion.
  • Listen and engage

#Understanding online audiences

If your company is not already cultivating a strong presence on Twitter, now is the time to integrate this activity into your marketing strategy for 2013. Your competitors, prospects and customers are all part of the Twitter community – you must get involved in order to remain competitive.

At present, few solutions exist for managing a global presence across social media platforms. As the bulk of social media engagement has remained English-centric (the English language accounts for 26.5% of all internet use) many business fail to see the value in pursuing a multilingual audience.

However, the use of foreign languages on social networking sites has significantly increased in recent years, and continues to do so. To engage effectively with multilingual communities, an international social media strategy must be developed.

LC Top languages

#Your online multilingual marketing plan

Step 1 – will Twitter work for your market?

Profile your consumer demographics and monitor online engagement to understand which social networking sites are popular in your market/s. You will need to adapt your social strategy for each market segment and consider different online channels in keeping with market culture. The differences that exist amongst users from different countries are not only restricted to languages, but also on how they like to engage online and where they are concentrated.

A company expanding into China will use Sina Weibo instead of Twitter, because it is the most popular micro-blogging service in the country.

Step 2 – engage at a local level

The ‘needs’ of online users must be satisfied by the provision of high quality content tailored to cultural norms. I would always recommend setting up social media accounts specific to each country or language you are penetrating. Coca Cola is a great example of a brand using nation-specific pages to cater to local preferences https://twitter.com/CocaColaEgypt

CC Egypt

Multilingual Twitter engagement can be streamlined by the use of multi-posting platforms such as Hootsuite, and managed on an international scale through the use of tools such as Sprout Social.

In addition to the use of local language, knowledge of local trends and the use of colloquial words will positively impact your brand image in foreign markets. Content published across social networking sites will need to be transcreated, i.e. adapted from one language to another whilst maintaining intent, style, tone and context. If possible, a native language speaker should be used for local engagement to encourage a natural connection with the overseas audience.

The need for multilingual social media engagement will almost certainly grow in the coming years.

Step 3 – get tweeting!

Set goals and assign someone at your company to ‘follow’, ‘tweet’, ‘retweet’, insert hashtags, generate lists, and direct messages on a regular basis. Your team will be uncovering valuable data and trends, and expanding your business network in real time before you know it.