Social media localization: Mastering the art of content translation

Mattison Hofstedt


March 21, 2024

March 21, 2024

Woman looking at localized content.

Are you looking to appeal to a new market on social media? The key is to speak their language—literally. Translating your content into the local language goes beyond mere courtesy; it's essential for grabbing your audience's attention in any market.

Entering new territories without a localization strategy is a wasted effort. Keep reading to learn why translating your social media content is pivotal for global reach and how to make content translation swift and impactful, setting you up for success in the diverse and dynamic world of social media.

What is social media localization?

Social media localization involves tailoring your social media content and strategies to meet the cultural and linguistic preferences of different regions. This practice is crucial for brands striving for global reach, ensuring that your content resonates with people across various cultural contexts.

For example, a SaaS company selling email marketing software would benefit from translating their social media campaigns into Spanish to target Spanish-speaking markets. By providing content in the local language, they can effectively communicate the benefits of their product to a wider audience and increase engagement among Spanish-speaking users.

Why is social media localization important? 

Localized content significantly boosts engagement, reach, and market effectiveness on a global scale. Here are key reasons why it's vital for businesses:

  1. Consumer preference for native language: Adapting your brand to connect with local audiences in their language can greatly enhance market penetration. For example, 75% of consumers prefer to make purchases in their native language.
  1. Boost in engagement levels: Communicating with your audience in their language can significantly increase interaction. For example, 86% of localized advertising campaigns see higher-click through and conversion rates compared to those in English. 
  1. Enhanced trust and credibility: Using the local language not only overcomes linguistic barriers but also builds trust. For example, 56% of consumers prioritize language over price in their decision-making.

In summary, tailoring your content to different linguistic and cultural contexts is not just strategic; it's a necessity in today's global market.

For example, SKF, the world’s largest bearing manufacturer, localizes their social media content into over 12 languages for brand building purposes, to maintain a strong relationship with their customers, to attract new workforce, and to reach out to new potential customers.

The challenges with localizing video content

Now that you understand the critical importance of translating your content for different markets, the next step is figuring out how to do this efficiently and in a way that maximizes value. 

To make localization more effective, focus on the content that works best on social platforms, such as video. Video outperforms plain text on almost all social platforms. So, by putting resources into translating video content, you're concentrating on what works best, which makes your localization efforts more impactful.

However, localizing video content presents several challenges, including:

  • Word count variations: Translating languages often results in differences in word count due to variations in expression. For example, when going from English to French or Spanish, the text can expand by about 20%. "FAQ", for example, will be "Preguntas frecuentes" in Spanish, an increase of 700%. When it comes to German, you may use fewer words than in English, but the expansion rate can still reach up to 35%. This makes it challenging to keep the same design layout after translating your text.
  • Adapting the timing of background assets: Changes in text length during translation directly impact the video's duration. Consequently, background assets such as video footage, images, or music tracks may require adjustments to ensure synchronization with the translated content.
  • Adapting the actual background assets: Different countries have varying cultural contexts and preferences. For example, in certain areas of South America where snow is uncommon, using snow imagery in a Christmas video may not resonate with the audience. Therefore, it's essential to localize visual elements like background imagery to ensure they are relevant and relatable to the target audience.

Achieving harmony between the visuals and the translated text can be particularly challenging, especially when using traditional editing software. This may result in the feeling of creating an entirely new video, which is not efficient. 

This is why it is so important to have the right tools on hand to successfully navigate the localization process.

How Storykit makes localizing social media content easy 

Enter Storykit, a game-changer in simplifying the localization of social media video content.

Here’s how it works.

Once you've crafted your video in your native language in Storykit, simply click on the "translate script" option. 

Storykit instantly generates a new script in your target language, seamlessly integrating the translated text with the right timing, appropriate length assets, and correct formatting in the generated video.

It's a hassle-free process that eliminates the need for manual editing. See how easy it is below. 

Storykit localization feature

Streamlining global engagement: SKF's localization journey

Understanding the importance of localizing social media content and achieving success is best illustrated through real-world examples, such as SKF's localization journey.

Faced with the challenge of making an impact across 130 markets in 10-12 languages, Sarah Larsson Bernhardt, Head of Social at SKF, realized the power of video to stand out on social media. However, the prospect of localizing this content seemed daunting.

“It used to be hard to localize our video content. It was just too difficult and tedious. We tried using agencies for translations, mainly for subtitles in different languages. It was both expensive and time-consuming, and therefore we only produced a few videos that could be used in several markets.” says Sarah.

Sarah and her team initially toyed with the idea of keeping all their social content in English, considering it an easier route. However, they quickly grasped the necessity of catering to local languages.

“In Latin America, for example, the audience is mainly Hispanic, and therefore the content needs to be in Spanish. The same goes for countries like France and the Czech Republic because they want videos in their native languages.”

Moreover, SKF understood the value of adapting visual assets to resonate with diverse cultural contexts. For instance, when creating a Christmas greeting for all markets, they noticed the Brazilian office swapping snowy images for more suitable visuals, given the lack of snow during Christmas in Brazil.

Customizing content in this manner significantly enhances engagement and with the adoption of Storykit, SKF can do this and more. In fact, with Storykit, SKF was able to churn out 300 localized videos in just a year.

This case study highlights the importance of adapting content to meet the linguistic and cultural preferences of diverse markets, showcasing how SKF's localization journey has led to enhanced engagement and global reach.

For more insights, dive into the full case study detailing SKF's localization success or book a demo with one of our experts and discover how easy it is to localize your own content. 

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