What are the challenges with influencer marketing and translation?

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a way to create interest in a product or service by harnessing the appeal of a social media “influencer” (blogger, streamer, YouTuber), with their quantifiable number of followers, and paying this person to create a video or ad for their followers.

The budget spent on influencer marketing globally has skyrocketed to 20 times its level in 2015 as of 2021.

Why has this ballooned so much?

Today, 87% of the population prefers making purchases online and 94% are swayed towards purchasing by a positive review of a product.

On top of this, the majority of users pass upwards of 2.5 hours per day on their smartphone, so they have plenty of time to watch influencer’s videos.

And, the more international an influencer’s audience and appeal, the more your brand benefits internationally.

First step: localize your website

You would just be burning money if you targeted an international influencer if you haven’t translated your site. And, even beyond the potential loss of revenue, this could have a negative impact on your brand image.

You’ll need to prepare the customer pathway for orders and work on localizing your website and any landing pages used for the marketing campaign.

And of course, these means calling on a professional translator, not just utilizing the Google Translate plugin for automatic Machine Translation.

Numerous statistical analyses have shown that a lack of adaptation to your target market leads to reduced click throughs and fewer completed orders.

Build trust with your prospect: allow them to find testimonials or reviews from fellow countrymen (or at least ensure that they’re in the right language), ensure any order summaries or quotes are translated throughout, that you allow multiple and pertinent payment options (not just PayPal), etc.

Second step: choose the right message

Be aware that your choice of influencer needs to be weighed on more than just their reach.

Perhaps the most important factor is the influencer’s persona, and ensuring it is shared by their audience. You must also be ready to trust in the influencer’s ability to choose the best way to transmit your message; after all, no one knows their audience as well as the influencer themself.

Even then, it may be necessary to adapt your message for an international audience. Some brands – a bit overconfident in their messaging – have already tested the waters and proved the importance of adapting. For example, an American tea company, Teami, faced a $15M fine for falsely advertising the “thinning” effect of their product as well as not mentioning that their agreements with influencers were paid advertisements.

And, of course, when it comes to culture, it is just as important when spoken word is used as written.  At TradOnline, we often evoke the importance of putting yourself in your clients’ shoes when adapting your marketing hooks internationally, and in order to do that right, you need native translators. They are the best placed to tell you if a certain turn of phrase works or if your play on words is possible or needs to be forgotten.

That lack of attention to detail landed Dolce & Gabbana in hot water with the Chinese audience after an ad shot with actress Zuo Ye came across with “insulting and racist” undertones.

In short, proper upstream preparation seems like the true key to success. As the French proverb goes, “There’s no sense in running, you just need to leave on time.”

Do you have a influencer marketing project you want to launch with an international audience? TradOnline is here to help guide you through the pitfalls of content and content localization.  Contact us.