One of the key issues identified in Twitter’s most recent earnings report was that user growth in the US had pretty much stopped.
Given this, it makes sense that Twitter would look towards growth in international markets to continue their expansion with a view to assuring investors and potential investors of their ongoing potential – and in two new blog posts published by the micro-blog giant today, they’re doing just that.
Found In Translation
In the first post, Twitter has announced that it’s expanding support of Twitter into six more languages.
“Before long, Twitter will be available in six additional languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, Catalan, Greek, Serbian, and Slovak. Our goal is to support all six languages across twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for iOS and Twitter for Android.”
Twitter’s multi-language offering relies on a mix of volunteer translators and moderators who work to develop language interfaces (not translating tweets themselves), making it easier for users in different markets to access and utilize the platform. This is an important step for Twitter, and one which could have significant benefits in the longer term – analysis from Northeastern University published in 2014 showed that Kuwait has the highest concentration of Twitter users, per capita, with the US and UK coming in at 4th and 5th on the list, respectively.
These findings, in line with official Twitter data, highlight the platform’s potential in markets where English is not the predominant language of choice, and given Twitter’s ongoing need to expand its active user group, it makes sense that more focus would be placed onto new markets to expand the product.
In a second, related post, Twitter outlined how small businesses can expand into international markets via tweets.
From the post:
“Twitter Ads can now help you target potential customers in over 200 countries. We’ve previously offered tips on tailoring Tweets for unique audiences – but presenting your business to entirely different cultures can be a challenge. So we’re getting more specific with some global guidance.”
Twitter’s first piece of advice on this front is for brands to experiment with different language in their Twitter ads.
“English is spoken and understood in many countries, but adding a few sentences, or even creating entire ads, in other relevant languages is an effective way to show you understand and appreciate new markets.”
This is a solid tip, and one which many smaller businesses in particular may not have considered. With internet access widening across the world, so too are opportunities for all brands to reach new markets via connective platforms like social media networks. Even if you’re just a home business, you now have the capacity to reach global markets, and incorporating language variations like this can be a major step in opening up new opportunities and connections.
Twitter’s second note is to mention a specific location in your messaging to better ingratiate your brand with the local audience.
“Maybe your business is extending service to a new city or you want to better target an area you’re already in. Mentioning a specific location grabs the attention of the people who live there. You can also do this by using a photo of a famous landmark or a cultural event from the area you’re targeting.”
This may seem like a somewhat cheap tactic – it reminds me of Spinal Tap’s appearance on ‘The Simpsons’, where the bass player had the name of the town on the back of his guitar so he could announce it:
“And we thought they knew how to rock in Shelbyville, but nobody rocks like (checks back of guitar) Springfield!”
But the basic principle of the matter here is that it works – adding in a familiar element, relating to the crowd through association, this is a tried and true tactic that can greatly benefit response. Consider it like this – if you saw a generic ad appear in your feed, you might scroll past. But what if that ad mentioned your town and had a picture of a local landmark? You’d be more likely to take notice, right?
By using local relateability in ad content, advertisers can improve their appeal to international markets and enhance their standing through familiarization, a great note to consider when looking to reach new areas and audiences.
For Twitter, putting a focus on new markets makes perfect sense. User growth has been the platform’s biggest headache and as evidenced by the numbers, its international audience potential may be its best bet to expand and grow more in line with market expectations. While it’s only a smaller part of the bigger puzzle, it is interesting to see how the platform is putting a focus on this element and on finding new ways to connect brands with new markets to facilitate greater business potential. In this sense, Twitter might actually be best placed, given its focus on shorter messaging and connectivity into specific, regional user groups.