With the rise of the online environment, we are witnessing an increasingly globalized marketplace with customers coming from different locations and cultures.
What brings these customers closer to your brand? The seamless purchasing process? The swift and trouble-free shipping? These certainly play a role in winning customers over, but by far the most important factor is your ability to communicate with them.
Languages offer the foundation on which we build successful business relationships. With English as the most widely used language in the world, many companies see it as the be-all and end-all of global communications and expansion into new markets.
However, this English-only approach can backfire. In fact, 80% of the world’s population does not speak English. Companies that appeal only to English-speaking customers are severely limiting their market share.
Therefore, a much more profitable strategy is to overcome language barriers and communicate with customers in their native tongues.
This is where multilingual advocacy comes in, playing a central role in your personalization and differentiation strategy.
What is multilingual advocacy?
Multilingual advocacy can be considered a predecessor of community scaling. Primarily, its purpose is to promote and develop strong bonds between brands and advocates with diverse backgrounds and cultures.
In today’s marketing landscape, personalization is everything. In the context of community building, personalization involves creating tailored experiences for your customers and advocates, delivered at the right moment and place according to their linguistic, cultural, and temporal preferences. Using multilingual advocacy, you can customize your community content based on your audience’s preferences, and incorporate cross-cultural communication strategies that keep your community buzzing.
A multilingual advocacy community is one where video, audio, and text content is localized according to the diverse needs of the group. This has a major impact on the perception of your brand by your new local customers, partners, and stakeholders—and especially by their native networks with whom they can readily share this content.
Such localization should be conducted by native speakers to ensure the right messaging and linguistic accuracy, taking into account the various cultural nuances. However, the use of machine translation services can also play a role when gathering customer feedback.
For example, customer-generated content from community surveys or social media, received in a variety of languages, can be automatically translated into a single language for your internal use. This data can be fed into integrated text analytics solutions so that your business has access to all customer insights, feedback, and business trends across the globe. It can then be used for sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, search, and other marketing activities.
Above all, multilingual advocacy is about enabling your advocates and customers to communicate with you—and to see your brand—in their native language.
The benefits of multilingual advocacy in a brand community.
Beyond personalization, a multilingual advocacy strategy creates, nurtures, and optimizes advocate interactions and experiences at every stage of the customer’s journey. It ensures higher differentiation compared to the competition, more brand credibility, and greater transparency in the eyes of the audience. It also eliminates miscommunication, increases customer loyalty, and bridges the gap between community members and the brand.
Being able to connect and communicate on a personal, sensitive level with members who might otherwise feel overwhelmed, left out, or unable to adapt to the dynamics of a foreign community is what makes multilingual advocacy so valuable for engagement.
When customers interact with someone who speaks their native language, they feel more comfortable sharing their stories. They express themselves better and with more personality, thus providing much more valuable advocacy content. Multilingual advocacy can lead to more positive, unique experiences and help members build a solid reputation among their peers.
Furthermore, research conducted by the European Commission and CSA Research shows that brands engaging with customers in their native language can generate astounding boosts in revenue.
How to build a multilingual advocate community?
First of all, define the languages that you want your community to support. You can base this on the demographics of your existing community, website traffic, the number of sales in the region, and/or on potential customers in your target markets.
Next, determine the personal and technical resources that you will need to deliver localized content and to interact with your members in their preferred language. Being multilingual is a wonderful asset for a community manager or team member. The ability to connect with members and be a resource for those in need is invaluable. Members will feel empowered to share their feedback and will appreciate the complete linguistic and cultural experience.
From a technical standpoint, consider which community management platforms and tools can support the languages you need, and if and how machine translation software could be useful for you. Additionally, determine where you can regularly obtain stimulating local language content for your community and how you can allow members to opt for their preferred language through a selector.
To ensure the best multilingual experience for customers in your community, it’s important to bring together the best people, tools, and know-how. It’s well worth considering outsourcing all or part of your multilingual advocacy program to an experienced agency that has the experience, tools, linguistic ability, and understanding of the advocacy niche.
Partnering with a specialized multilingual customer advocacy team requires much less investment of time, effort, and finances than recruiting, building, and training an in-house team. Importantly, it will give you more time to focus on other key aspects of your program. This is especially critical when you are crafting and adjusting your strategies, making first impressions, and developing brand relationships with your new community members.
Employing personalized multilingual strategies in your advocacy community and catering to your audiences’ specific requirements is a major selling point that can put you miles ahead of the competition on both a local and international level. Remember that customers have many options to choose from, and if your service does not cater to their specific needs, they will take their business elsewhere.
However, armed with the right tools and skills, you can successfully engage your customers all over the world and drive a far greater sense of loyalty and satisfaction towards your brand. Additionally, you will bring forward a diversity of ideas and untapped perspectives, while ensuring an environment of equality and inclusiveness.