English is the most popular language on the internet with 1.1 billion internet users speaking the language. More than 860 million people on the internet speak Chinese, and more than 500 million people speak Spanish, making these three languages the top options on the internet.
If your demographic speaks Chinese or Spanish, you don’t want to promote to them only in English. Nearly three-quarters of global consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product if information for it was written in their own language.
Even if you have a small company, you may benefit from taking a multilingual social media approach. One of the best ways to determine if you should consider it for your audience is to take a look at your Facebook and Twitter insights. These social media analytics can help you find out where your people are.
On Facebook, all you have to do is click on the People page from your insights. The page will tell you the country, city, and language of your fans and followers. It’ll also provide demographics of people reached and people engaged so you can see the people who saw your content in the people who reacted commented or shared it respectively. If your page is new or there is not a lot of activity going on, the demographic data will not appear until you reach a certain level of engagement. If you find that the majority of your engagement comes from a non-English-speaking country, it may be worth considering marketing in that language.
On Facebook, the analytics system isn’t as comprehensive, but third-party applications can help you. Using a platform such as Facebook allows you to map your followers by location all the way down to the city level.
You can also look at your website analytics through Facebook to determine where your visitors are coming from. It is best to put more weight on where your visitors are coming from then where your followers are coming from.
If your company needs to build a multilingual social media presence, follow these tips to help you keep followers while also appealing to a broader audience.
Double Post in Different Languages
You can manage multiple social media accounts each in a different language but that takes a lot of time and effort. One recommendation is to treat the same demographic as two languages.
For instance, if you’re a lawyer in San Diego that caters to both English and Spanish speakers, you may want to use a post title: “abogados de accidentes de carro” rather than “car accident lawyers”. Double posting is a good idea for bilingual account, but you need to pay close attention to how many followers drop off after a Spanish post.
If you notice followers are leaving because of posts in another language, it may be in your best interest to open a separate account for each language.
Use Translations in One Post
As an alternative, if you don’t want to double post or you find that your account is losing followers because of posting in another language, you can offer translations in a single post. This would allow you to cut down on the number of social media resources you’re using while still targeting both demographics without anyone being turned off by a single language post.
Use Professional Translations Only
Whether you decide to double post in different languages, operate different social media Pages for each language, or include translations in a single post, it is critical that you use professional translations only.
Why? Native speakers will know the difference between a professional translation and someone using something like Facebook. Relying solely on Google Translate means that you risk saying something that is improper or even rude to native speakers.
Professional translations will be able to convey your message in a proper way without insulting the audience that you’re trying to appeal to. Paying for a professional translator to assist you with marketing to non-English-speaking demographics is well worth the investment. It is easy to find professional Facebook all over the internet.
One advantage to using a professional translator is that you will be able to convey your message with the same intent and persuasion as you would in English. Relying on a generic translation service may easily lose that undertone so the message no longer has the intended effect.
Rely on Visual Content
Visual content can work well across audiences that speak multiple languages. this is a particularly good option for broad messages. However, it is important to consider social norms and what may insult some followers and not others on a cultural level.
If your visuals are considered taboo outside of the English language culture, you may insult the followers you’re trying to appeal to and do damage to your online reputation.
Ad Filtering is Your Friend
If you’re using any kind of paid advertising such as Facebook, make sure to utilize any filtering options that are available. users will set their desired language when they open their account and the ad filtering will ensure they see ads in their chosen language. Other platforms such as Twitter allow you to do the same thing so that you can target these users specifically.
This type of Facebook allows you to run ads for Spanish speakers in San Diego rather than the ads being shown to English speakers and vice versa. If you are spending money running Spanish ads to English speakers, you’re wasting your money and the user’s time.
Remember Time Differences
An often-overlooked aspect of building a multilingual social media presence is time differences. Different demographics often fall across different time zones. In the United States, the ideal time to post may be at 11 a.m. however, the same post is being seen in Italy at 5 p.m. if you are in Eastern Standard Time. Knowing who your demographic is and where they are allows you to adjust your posting times so that you can Target your individual demographics at the ideal posting times for them. Doing so may be able to slow down the rate at which you lose followers if you adjust your post to the timezone of your International demographic.
Though building and maintaining a multilingual social media presence is not an easy undertaking, when done properly it is well worth the investment. It allows you to truly connect with your audience regardless of which language they speak. International customers will appreciate the fact that your brand has taken time to communicate with them in their native tongue.