Content on the web is not governed by its producers but rather its users. In the meritocracy of the global internet a narrow cultural focus significantly reduces the effectiveness of the content.
Recently The Net Impact president, Steve Thomas, addressed the St. Louis chapter of the National Hispanic Professionals Organization. As the keynote speaker, he discussed “Social Media for the Hispanic Professional”, emphasizing the importance of embracing multiculturalism in all efforts online. Here are five takeaways from Steve’s presentation on building a web presence that is truly multicultural:
Understand Your Audience
For content to connect with other cultures, it’s imperative to understand them. Research the community and listen to other voices in those cultures. For example, look at Hispánicize, a blog for Latino social media marketers and bloggers, as a resource that offers a different cultural perspective.
Engage the Community
Look for ways to experience and interact with different cultural groups through social networks. Twitter users can follow the popular hashtag #latism (Latinos in Social Media). This widely used tag facilitates a multicultural dialogue and provides a way to listen and join in on the conversation.
Don’t alienate audiences with culturally specific terms and phrases. An international landing page selling services that “score a touchdown” limits engagement from international users. Maintain the brand identity, but adjust the message to aid clarity.
Optimize Site for Global Consumption
Of course, to best speak to a culture is to use its language. Languages such as Arabic, Mandarin, and Russian have grown exponentially on the internet, representing enormous opportunity. Additionally, different cultures use and navigate the web differently. For example in late 2009, mobile web use surpassed fixed-web use in Africa.
Broaden Perspective of SEO
Effective search engine optimization requires extensive knowledge of keywords used to find your offerings. Different cultures search the internet differently, so it’s important to optimize appropriately. Hybrid language search terms, such as those in “Spanglish”, present a great opportunity for SEO.
These are just a few ways to add multicultural appeal to your web efforts. The internet has no borders, and to ignore global cultures is to ignore an opportunity.