E-marketers are now more aware than ever of the difference that a good online reputation can make. To create and manage your web reputation, you need to get involved in digital spaces, communicating with existing and potential customers and, just as importantly, listening to what people say about your products or services.
English is not Enough
For businesses hoping to expand into markets overseas, naturally, you’d also want to manage that precious online reputation in languages other than English to claim your stake in foreign-language online spaces and garner feedback about your brand. After all, only one in almost five of all internet users is a native English speaker, so if you’re only communicating in English, you’re missing out on a large market.
In addition, a massive 85% of web users would be much more likely to buy a product if the information available was in their native language – so it’s well worth getting your brand out there in more languages than your own.
Essentially, the rules for managing an online reputation in different languages are no different to the principles of keeping your English standing in check – you simply need to be honest, clear and human.
Listen and Learn
So, how do you know what your online reputation is in foreign markets? One free, easy way to gauge it is to set up Google alerts for your business – you’ll receive an email of all your brand mentions in any language. Don’t forget to include blogs – now major social spaces – in the search.
Initially, you could run the comments through online translation software. You won’t get a perfectly accurate translation, but you’ll understand the gist of what people are saying and whether it’s positive or negative.
Everyone gets negative feedback every now and again and indeed, the beauty of keeping track of your online reputation is that you can see where your business can improve. If relevant, you may want to respond to feedback on some occasions.
It’s advisable to enlist a professional translator who will make sure your response is honest, correct and not open to misinterpretation. Be polite and address each point professionally – never get into a row or disagree in a disrespectful way. If you’re finding a lot of bad reviews, you may need to investigate issues within your organization.
Monitor Message Boards
You can also use a similar approach to listen in on forums to find out what people are saying about your brand. Some sites may emerge as key hubs where your business is being mentioned. You can use services such as BoardReader.com, ForumFind.com, Big-Boards.com, BoardTracker.com, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, and MSN Money to monitor message board conversations.
Don’t forget to track your brand mentions and direct feedback in social media spaces, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Don’t Overlook Local Search Engines
Different search engines are popular in different localities and, hard as it is to believe, Google isn’t king in all countries. Luckily, there are nifty tools you can use, such as Monitor, which allows you to monitor mentions of your brand in 25 different search engines.
A service called Keotag alerts you to blog posts in which you have been tagged, using data from multiple blog search engines.
Get Your Brand Out There
Just as it is crucial to listen to customer feedback, you need to be getting your message out there in a positive way. Make sure you’re active in all the key social media spaces in each target country and use a native speaking marketer to create correct, culturally sensitive updates. Pay attention to cultivating a consistent tone and voice for your brand – friendly but professional usually works.
Get your message across in all digital platforms – blog, take part in interviews and get involved in useful online discussions. Part of earning a good online reputation is letting people know that your brand is out there.
Encourage people who’ve been happy with your business services to say so, too. You can offer an incentive, such as a voucher or competition entry, for customers who leave reviews. Of course, you can’t coerce or bribe them into leaving a positive review – they can say what they like – and you should make this clear. However, negative feedback can be easily avoided – ensure impeccable business and customer service, communicate effectively in multiple languages across all digital platforms and your positive web reputation will soon look after itself.
About the Author
Christian Arno is the founder and managing director of Lingo24 – one of the fastest growing translation and localization companies in the world. Launched in 2001 in the UK, Lingo24 now has hubs on three continents and translates more than 60 million words a year for clients in over 60 countries, including world-recognized brands such as American Express, Orange and MTV. Follow Christian (@l24ca) and Lingo24 (@Lingo24) on Twitter.