With native English speakers comprising only 22% of all internet users, and evidence showing that 85% of online consumers require information in their native tongue to make an important purchase, there’s a strong case for expanding your online reach across multiple languages.
The return on investment for every dollar spent on localization is estimated at $25 USD, according to a 2007 study by the Localization Industry Standards Association, which confirms that translating your website and online activities can prove a profitable business move. But how do you maintain your brand’s online reputation and monitor what people are saying about you if you don’t speak the language yourself (without hiring a multilingual PR and media monitoring agency)?
This can be one of the more daunting challenges when considering a multilingual roll-out, so below we’ve gathered a list of tools and tips that will help you feel confident and at ease with maintaining your online reputation across foreign languages.
1. Set up Google Alerts for your brand name in all your languages.
Step one in monitoring your online reputation in foreign languages is to keep track of all the mentions online of your brand across all your languages. With Google Alerts you get regular email updates of the latest Google results based on your selected topic or word (other locally dominant search engines, such as Baidu and Yahoo, offer a similar service).
2. Use Google Translate to get the gist of foreign language content mentioning your brand.
Once you’ve located foreign language posts, comments or articles mentioning your brand or company, you’ll run into the issue of how to understand them. As most of the time you’ll only need to get the gist of the message, you can run it through machine translation tools such as Google Translate or Babel Fish. But if you want to respond to anything, it’s recommended to use a professional translator to avoid mix-ups.
3. RepVine: Reference and reputation management combined.
RepVine is an online platform that allows companies to actively collect and display their references. Once you have an account with RepVine, you can see what people have to say about you, manage your online references and contribute references to others.
4. ReputationDefender.com: Reputation management and removal of negative content.
ReputationDefender helps you to promote a truthful and positive online image by monitoring your online footprint and actively combating false, misleading or irrelevant search results. They also help you remove personal data from sites that sell it.
5. Message board tracking services.
There’s a whole host of online message board tracking services that allow you to monitor the use of your brand name across different message boards. Keep a regular look-out on the following sites to stay on top of what people have said about you: BoardReader.com, ForumFind.com, Big-Boards.com, BoardTracker.com, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, and MSN Money.
6. Other places to monitor.
In some countries, such as China and Russia, Google isn’t the biggest search engine. With monitorThis you can search for mentions of your brand in 25 different search engines, keeping you abreast of your brand’s reputation across the world.
Similarly, Keotag allows you to search for tagged blog posts across multiple blog search engines, ensuring that you can follow relevant and trending topics in the increasingly influential blogging world.
And if you still don’t feel 100% confident that you’ve found and managed all the online mentions of your company in every possible language, track groups at: Yahoo Groups, AOL Groups, MSN Groups and Google Groups.
7. Consolidate your social media profiles.
Once you’ve decide to launch a series of translated websites, establishing a social media presence in each language is a great way to increase your exposure to your foreign language customers, especially in markets with high social media use (such as the US, UK, Australia, Brazil and China).
There are a number of tools to help you consolidate your multilingual social media presence, making it easier for you to keep track of your profiles and for visitors to link between them. Check out Comwat.com to get started linking all your online identities.
Finally, always take care with your content and responses to be open, friendly and culturally sensitive, and that will help more than anything else you can do to ensure people say good things about you!