Challenges and opportunities for companies
You will have to look long and hard to find a company that does not use social media. The reasons are obvious: Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have joined the company website as crucial tools in communication strategy as a means to reach wider audiences.
The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany primarily uses social media as a marketing instrument, a survey has found. A total of 47.5 percent of respondents use social media platforms to strengthen team work and optimize customer service, respectively. Forty-two percent stated that they also recruit talented employees on social media. But the big question is: Do the social media posts live up to their billing?
Every successful social media post tells a story. But not every story makes a successful social media post. Copywriting skills enable you to choose the right words at the right time and prompt people to respond to your messages. The writing of persuasive content is both an art and a science that professional copywriters use to add extra punch to your campaigns.
International companies face an additional challenge. Their social media posts must communicate the same message to several different markets at the very same time – all while observing language and cultural barriers.
How does this work? We will see how in this blog post.
Let’s start with a definition. Just what is copywriting anyway?
Copywriting uses content to win over a certain target group. These persuasive texts are frequently called “copy.” Copy generally ends with a clear, explicit call to action and prods people to reflect on your message.
A talented copywriter must be able to attract the attention and interest of readers and to induce them to take the desired action.
Not all copy will play the same role in your marketing and sales strategy. But companies must understand the difference between individual channels and the impact that they have on the target group. In this manner, you can use the right experts for each campaign, increase efficiency and generate a high ROI.
What is multilingual copywriting?
To ensure that individually tailored content lives up to the expectations of a certain target group in a particular market, you have to do something more than just translate the content into a language in which potential and existing customers feel at home. Cultural differences play a key role as well. For this reason, you should keep market-specific features like positioning, rates and advertising techniques in mind.
Why is the job of tailoring content to a specific market so critically important?
If you do not communicate with people in their native language, they will frequently feel as though they are missing out on key information. A survey of international Internet users found that a full 65 percent of respondents said they preferred content in their native language even if they spoke fluent English.
If you use a range of different languages, you will be able to better reach your target audience and create closer relationships that, in turn, will serve as the foundation for long-term growth.
Multilingual copywriting is the best solution
Customers who have their own particular cultural background will perceive the added value offered by a product or service differently. As a result, your products and services can differ from region to region and language to language.
Multilingual copywriting will also come in handy during your international campaigns if you want to ensure that your slogans comply with local laws. For instance, the Chinese market does not permit the use of superlatives. Your “best” and “greatest” products can become your worst nightmare there if you are not careful.
Your own home country can also affect the way that customers in individual markets view your product. As a result, you must fine-tune your message and decide on a case-by-case basis whether you want to tone down prejudices, clichés and local myths in your texts or to play them up.
When such needs arise, you will have to work with talented copywriters who are native speakers of the language you want to use. Such individuals are much more than creative writers. They are also treasure troves of cultural information. Drawing on this vast reservoir of knowledge, they can write persuasive, well-written texts that will produce the desired effect.
The message will be written in the language of your local target group, eliminating any possibility of ambiguity or misunderstanding.
With the help of multilingual copywriting, calls to action can be tailored individually to the habits and social norms of your target market. Think for a moment about cultures in Eastern Asia. A strong, direct call to action like “schedule a demonstration right now” can be quickly interpreted by a target group that places a high priority on politeness as being overly emphatic or even aggressive.
As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of copywriting is to persuade the reader to heed the call to action.
This call can extend beyond encouragement to buy a product. It can also be designed to generate clicks, raise money, download information or arrange a product demonstration, etc. This call is generally aimed at the readers’ emotions. As we know, 95 percent of buying decisions are made subconsciously.
Good copy will create a link between you and the brand while sharing a credible message. You won’t remember a slogan or tagline simply because it was grammatically correct and spelled all of the words correctly. Rather, you will remember it because the text was catchy, touched your emotions, awakened feelings of nostalgia or zeroed in on your values.
Copywriting is much more than sales. If you really want to reach a particular target audience, you will have to understand this audience and get in touch with it. Talented copywriters frequently draw on market research, surveys and cultural insights to understand the things that make a target audience tick, the things that occupy their minds during the day and the things that inspire them.
Successful copywriters keep the following points in mind:
- Objective – every message must have an aim.
- Structure – the copy must flow freely and be logically organized.
- Authenticity – the words reflect the things for which the brand stands.
- Accessibility – simple terms and phrasing that people can quickly grasp and process are used.
- Belonging – the person who reads the text can easily identify with the brand.
Sounds tough?! You bet. But these are just starters. Social media components also come into play and make things even more complex.
Social media copywriting
Composing marketing content is nothing new for language service providers (LSP). Copywriters’ computer files are jammed full of such content, which is also complemented by press releases and brand campaigns. A new format like social media should not pose much of a new challenge, should it?
Obviously, the medium has some potential – particularly for the relevant audience. The job of writing pointed messages that meet rigid length restrictions and tight deadlines requires a special form of creativity.
The job of social media copywriting requires talented individuals to be two things at once: They must first be language mavens and stylistic artists. But they also have to be specialists who thoroughly understand the companies for which they work and the relevant sectors.
What’s more, they should also have an extremely good understanding of their target group – no matter whether it happens to be a clearly defined geographic group of customers or business partners located around the world. Content for social media activities should and must be produced in all desired languages.
Ultimately, the aim of social media – perhaps more clearly than other communication channels – is authenticity.
Pandora’s box or let’s not do things halfway
In this context, authenticity means communicating with followers in an understandable and credible manner and urging them to engage in a dialogue. Because a dialogue is the point of the message, the next step taken in the process differs from the one used in other media: New information must be delivered continuously – and quickly.
A company that simply posts content on such platforms as Facebook every blue moon will ultimately suffer more damage to its image than it would if it posted no information at all. It’s just like real life: Who wants to talk with a person who walks into a room, puts on a big show and then spends the rest of the evening in a corner and evades questions?
Visibility and trust can be generated only with the help of communications and good content: through reactions to comments and retweets, through comments about posts in which the company was tagged and through the sharing of LinkedIn Pulse articles by followers, etc.
Collaboration vs. outsourcing
Do you have a dedicated social media team at your company? Or has responsibility for your social media activities been placed in the hands of a single individual as an additional task? In the end, it does not matter which approach you take – if you have the right LSP on your side, you will not only gain an additional perspective about your campaign, but also profit in particular from comprehensive and lightning-fast support.
Even if LSPs are responsible for only a portion of your social media activities, they should gain an in-depth understanding of them. This will enable the LSPs to generate added value for you and to develop a long-term partnership.
It does not matter how close an LSP’s relationship with your company is – a collaborative partnership will certainly be more successful than a sterile outsourcing arrangement would be. The word “social” is used in the term “social media” for good reason. Regular discussions should be held to talk about long-term strategy and style. But both sides should also have an opportunity and be encouraged to submit ideas regarding relevant hashtags or current content.
But one key question must be addressed before such issues mean anything at all:
How do I find the right LSP?
When you are looking for the right language service provider, you should not select the first company that happens to knock on your door. You can certainly put your trust in the recommendations and tips you get from others. But you should also rely on your own gut feeling. After all, your company has its own requirements.
A well-maintained social media presence by the LSP itself will send some very important initial signals to you. During in-depth introductory meetings, you can also gain a better impression of the LSP’s sincere interest in learning about your company and its goals.
The right LSP will understand your briefing and ask thoughtful questions about your goals, key performance indicators, desired tonality and sought-after results – and is capable of precisely adapting its own work to meet your expectations and achieve your success.
To create a uniform social media presence, the LSP should fluently speak your company’s language. This is the only way to ensure that your values and your philosophy will be consistently reflected in all channels.
If you operate in the financial sector, the pharmaceutical industry or any other heavily regulated business, it is critically important to find a LSP that has already gained wide experience with industry-specific features.
Good preparation pays off
The working relationship starts long before the first post appears. Depending on the complexity of your project, you will need to perform an extensive amount of preparatory work to devise the right strategy and the exact approach. Your LSP should help you select the right time to launch the campaign.
The right post at the right time
Your LSP should draw up a well-structured plan that clearly shows the timeframe during which each particular message is planned for which channel and which target audience. Once you, your communications team and possibly your Legal Affairs and Compliance Department have approved the plan, you can tell your story by using the right posts that appear at the right time to attract the interest of your followers.
Efficient use of hashtags
Your LSP should also tell you how you can increase the visibility of your posts by using popular hashtags – in addition to the hashtags you’re already using.
Trust but verify
If you are completely satisfied with the results, you should consider the possibility of providing the LSP with the access data to your platform.
Putting quality to the test
Even though the job of reviewing drafts may not be part of the official approval process, you should work with relevant team members to ensure that every post appropriately reflects your company’s image and objectives.
Your LSP should always be informed about your key performance indicators and tracking efforts. It is your job to measure the progress being made to achieve your overarching goals. With the help of regular check-ins, you and the LSP can modify the project schedule as needed in order to achieve the desired results.
The strategic use of social media pays off. But you do not have to tackle this challenge all by yourself. With an experienced LSP at your side, you can strengthen your social media presence by using high-impact texts and images, publishing the right post at the right time, expanding your reach and moving more quickly toward your goals.
Social media as a megaphone for management
Board chairmen, managing directors and CEOs could profit in particular form a social media presence. But they frequently lack the time and opportunity to venture into these uncharted waters. In such instances, LSPs can stand by the side of CEOs and turn the expertise and the know-how of top management into brand- and Internet-designed content to reach your target audience. Even if a post was written by a native speaker in your communications department, you should let the best experts handle the preparation of the content, individuals who are well-versed in the tonality and functions of the respective social media channels.
How social media copywriting impacts your business
Texts that you prepare for your social media marketing and sales messages communicate the image of your brand to your audience through tone, language and recognizability. Good social media copy promotes the growth of brands, while bad social media copy tarnishes your image.
Texts that are sloppy or carelessly prepared will put your company in a bad light. The impact to your brand’s image is difficult to control. Amit Goldenberg, a professor at Harvard Business School, put it this way: “Although people produce much more positive content on social media in general, negative content is much more likely to spread.” This means one thing for you: If you are too careless in preparing your social media content, your other marketing activities may possibly be ruined.
The bottom line:
Social media copywriting impacts purchasing behavior and directly affects your revenue and the profitability of your brand. The right LSP will support your marketing and sales efforts – from the development of a community based on your brand and the generation of leads to the conclusion of business and the production of recommendations.