Don’t Let Language Be A Barrier…Especially On Social Media

Do you know what hashtags are trending right now in Japan? How about in Sao Paulo? What are they saying about your brand or product? Don’t know? Well, just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean the conversations aren’t happening and that they don’t matter.

While customers at home – wherever that may be — could be raving about your brand, the conversation could be quite different half way around the world. If a person posts a bad comment or negative experience with your company, and it goes viral, is anyone in your company monitoring for it? How about if it’s in a foreign language? Is anyone at your company equipped to quickly respond to this urgent situation if it’s not in your native tongue?

Too often we view social media as a megaphone where we can blast a message and walk away, when in reality social media is a two-way street where people expect a dialogue. Ignoring social media complaints is a huge mistake, as contributor Roger Dooley points out in his Forbes article.

“It amazes me that even in today’s social media savvy business environment there are still big companies that fail to engage with their customers, particularly customers that are frustrated and unhappy. In fact, a variety of research shows that ignoring those customers is the worst possible strategy.”

And ignoring or not responding to complaints because they’re in a different language is just as bad. Failing to overcome a language barrier could be damaging.

As a member of our @Rackspace Social Media Team, we view social media as an extension of our Fanatical Support. Social is it great tool for our customers to get answers to their concerns and questions, but it also lets us track conversations and be proactive about shaping the discussion around our brand and products.

So how does this translate to a global strategy? At Rackspace we believe in Thinking Globally, Acting Locally, which means we empower Rackers to be engaged on social and to support local communities. This is why the Social Team works closely with our Latin America Team and global offices to be sure we’re getting customers what they need. We recently launched Spanish and Dutch language blogs to keep customers and interested parties in those areas informed about important developments at Rackspace., and more are on the way. What resources does your company provide for global customers? Remember, if you decide to go this route, you’ll need to establish a strategy for translating content. A machine translation solution might be a tempting option, but as we explored in a previous post, translation apps just can’t cut it when it comes to customer service.

Make sure you’re not ignoring the inherent global aspects of social media. If you are, you could be missing out opportunities to engage with you customers. Take the time to develop a global social media strategy and most importantly Be Helpful.

Elizabeth's passion for connecting with people knows no boundaries. In college, she seized the opportunity to intern in Sevilla, Spain with only an elementary level of Spanish. However, the initial language barrier did not stop her from developing lifelong friendships with the people she met and led to an inevitable love affair with Spanish language and culture. In November of 2011 she joined the Rack as an Enterprise Account Manager, and immediately saw the parallel between her experience abroad and immersion into Rackspace culture. Her favorite part of her job is getting to help employees build strong personal brands online and share their expertise via social media. You can find Liz (as she is referred to by friends) in Austin where she does her best to Keep Austin Weird and teaches yoga in her spare time. Connect with her on LinkedIn or @CreatingLiz on Twitter.


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