This guest post is by Christian Arno of Lingo24.
With just 140 characters you can reach a global audience. Hardly a newsflash, I know, but think about it. Followers around the world can give your blog the kind of exposure you could only have dreamed about in the past, everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. People eagerly await your posts on every continent. Tell me that doesn’t sound good!
Of course, going global on Twitter means embracing other languages. The English language only stretches so far. But building a multilingual presence on Twitter doesn’t have to be difficult.
When it comes down to it, whether you are representing a company or going solo, Twitter is a great way to attract a global audience to your blog. Get it right by following a few guidelines.
Target, aim, tweet
Like most things in life, it helps to have a strategy. Don’t be misled by how easy it is to fire off tweets. Sure, you could machine-translate your next message into umpteen languages and hit the Tweet button. If you want to destroy your reputation, that is.
Instead, think back to your overall marketing plan and where the non-English speaking countries fit your blogging strategy. Which markets are key for you? Your stats for other online content can be revealing here. Where do you need to build a presence, and where should you be improving your reach?
After all, why waste time tweeting in Russian if you are aiming to build your blog readership in South America? When you stop aiming for the whole world, it becomes a whole lot easier to be relevant to the people who matter.
Do your Twitter research
Not all countries and languages are represented equally on Twitter. The impact of your multilingual tweets will in part depend on how actively each language is used. For example, Arabic is the fastest-growing Twitter language, according to a Semiocast study. The same statistics show the rapid rise of Spanish and Dutch. When it comes to the most used languages, Japanese and Portuguese lead the pack. Malay and Korean speakers are also sending their share of the millions of tweets sent each day.
Reach out to these markets and your exposure can skyrocket.
Take care with translations
Unless you are tweeting about what you ate for lunch, resist the lure of instant translation tools. Producing accurate foreign language content can be tricky. You need to strike the right tone (not too stuffy, but avoiding offending anyone) as well as choosing just the right words. Add in the restriction of 140 characters (which gives you even less to play with in some languages than in English) and it becomes an art. Native speaker input is invaluable here.
Follow the right people
Your focus shouldn’t only be on who your followers are, but on who you are following. Stay tuned to the tweets of the big influencers in your overseas markets. These can range from celebrities to the leaders and popular bloggers in your own particular field. Re-tweeting the right people can build your own reputation for having your finger on the pulse.
Finally, keep your tweets relevant. That means different accounts for each language, so that your followers don’t have to sift through unfamiliar languages. (They will probably just unfollow you instead.) And stay culturally aware. Some topics will offend in particular countries, others will simply be of no interest.
What you stand to gain
Fact: Twitter is a big player on the global social media scene. For over a year now, 70% of Twitter traffic has come from outside the US. If you can tap into the non-English speaking sectors of this international traffic, your exposure will increase dramatically.
Those fast-growing languages mentioned earlier give you a chance to get in early on up and coming markets. On the other hand, countries such as Japan lead the field in terms of posting activity, with more accounts actively posting messages than either the US or the UK.
Actively involved users mean a better chance of re-tweets. If you write something people want to share, you can end up with them doing local marketing for you. For free. It doesn’t get much better than that.
You also have a chance to tap into multiple consumer pools around the globe without leaving your seat. Being part of their conversations lets you monitor what they are saying: about your blog as a whole or your latest post, about other bloggers, about wants, desires and frustrations. Think how valuable that can be.
Twitter brings that information and that potential army of followers to you. But you can’t close the deal without being willing to send those 140 character tweets in other languages. Make the effort, and you’ll probably wonder what took you so long.
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a top translation service in the USA. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.