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User driven social media localization

in Market Research

As social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter continue to make headway in emerging markets, a new trend is leading the way in creation of localized content on social networking websites. Users from different parts of the world use local terms, phonetically written, and country-specific social characteristics for their social media communication.

Even though English remains the most used language on the Internet, the non-English speaking world has seen increased use of localized social media content being created by users. The unavailability of local language support often results in local terms being used, often phonetically, and cultural characteristics being displayed in social networking sites. This is an indicator of how important localization is for different markets. As a result, localized engagement results in higher market penetration for the networking sites. Such findings are very useful for companies who operate in different markets and intend to have a multilingual social media campaign. Social media communication has to target all markets and a strategy should aim to be culture/region specific.

For companies, adapting social media communication for different markets can be challenging. Just consider the amount and frequency of communication that occurs through social networks and imagine having to replicate the same in many different languages. Add to that how cultural differences would significantly alter the messaging because of local differences and sensitivities. What might be acceptable in a western country might not work well in a conservative one. This is one such example of differences that exist, and this is why native users of social media can be used and studied to create localized strategy in social networks.

Social Media penetration is still considerably low in the non-English speaking world but it is increasing and with a higher number of users online. Targeting these users would require a social media strategy that is localized and caters to the target market. Users are already leading the way in localizing content for themselves; the trend should be an indicator of their preferences and companies should follow accordingly.

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