How Multilingual Social Media Strategies work

In many cases, brands have not only one single social media profile online, but many of them. One of the reasons companies do this is so they can connect with their global audiences in their own languages and provide a better communication experience.

Building a brand reputation and image requires time and effort but, when done well, the results can be outstanding. Now more than ever, customers expect to interact with companies differently by hitting the “like” button, sharing content and leaving comments, mostly in their native language.

We think that all our clients’ language projects, such as website localization and transcreation, are about connecting with this new type of customer in an effective and meaningful way, not only speaking their language, but also learning a bit more about their experiences and expectations towards the brand’s service, products and messages.

As we reviewed in a previous blog post, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and other Social Media platforms have developed different multilingual features for their interfaces. But what about the brands that use these platforms? How do they adapt? Are there any best practices they can follow? Let us provide some insight on this subject:

Tips for going multilingual on social media

  1. Don’t mix languages into one account

If you are planning on going bilingual or multilingual on social media, the common rule is not to post the same content or write the same copy twice, in different languages. Users that want content in a certain language usually prefer to have a specific profile and feed targeted at them.

Think about how major brands that work at a global and multilingual level made their social media approach. A good example of this is Netflix, one of the kings of content localization. The video streaming giant has social media accounts that take good care in using puns, nuances and asking their followers’ questions and engaging in conversation with them. Also, with a lot of work on their content localization, Netflix’s Social Media accounts in English emphasize the fact that their content is available in another languages, with many popular posts for English speaking followers being in Spanish.

Another example is the popular cryptocurrency broker Binance, which is expanding quickly to worldwide markets. Binance U.S. and Binance UK have different social media accounts, even though their audiences speak essentially the same language. Something similar happens in Latin America, where Spanish is the most spoken language but social media accounts are separated by country. This also allows for the digital customer experience team of the company to follow their users’ feedback more efficiently.

However, multilingual social media approaches are not limited to business. For example, take the project for social media communications aimed at reaching Spanish speakers in the U.S. -called GobiernoUSA at the time- started in 2010. It provides translated public information not only on their website but on their social media channels.

The project eventually changed its name to USAGov en Español and continued implementing its own social media accounts to provide public information to the Spanish speaking community. As a result, Spanish speakers living in the US can now follow USAGov en Español on their preferred social media, be it Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.

  1. Work with professional translators

It always makes the difference. In the age of machine translation, nothing can beat the accuracy and reliability of professional human translators. As our company provides a full suite of language solutions, which includes translation services, transcreation and localization, we can definitely help your brand dive into the Social Media world while taking into account not only language nuances, style and grammar, but also culturally effective and appropriate messages.

Especially in social media, users want content and messages that they can understand and relate to. But appropriate content and language are not enough; the tone of the messages posted has to be strategic as well. We are used to considering social media as a space to tell engaging stories in a more or less informal way, so our messages sound more familiar and closer to our audience.

As it is widely known, all social media platforms have automated translation active by default. But even though it may seem handy to have a quick translation of a Facebook or Instagram post right away, in most cases the meaning of those messages is partially or totally lost.

  1. Hire a multilingual social media management

In our experience as multilingual recruiters, companies that hire bilingual or multilingual employees provide better customer care and communication management. Social Media managers are not an exception: being able to write, copywrite and moderate content in more than one language has become a valuable skill.

Think about it this way: since your company is active on social media, where your customers will comment and ask about your products, not only will you need to have properly translated and localized posts and content, but you will also need good conversation management skills in the customer’s language.

When your brand is on social media it means that you want to have a conversation with people. Your community manager and strategist will have to answer questions and engage with the audience. This means not only posting content, but also working to increase your company’s online presence. Having a multilingual voice on social media can really make a difference in how your customer care strategy works and how professional your brand looks.

  1. Understand your multilingual audience: Use your insights

All social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, have developed their own analytics and insights to provide brands’ social media managers with information about their followers. To know more about what your language approach should be, you can take a look at the information related to countries and languages.

Are you providing content in English on Facebook but you notice a substantial number of your followers speak Arabic? Perhaps running an alternative Arabic account would be a good solution.

Social media insights are especially handy when thinking about paid campaigns, as they let you configure the target audience in terms of language and country. Even if your target audience is in the United States but they speak a different native language, social media platforms have tweaked their content system to adjust to your users’ settings.

  1. Dates: consider when and what to post on your social media

While planning your social media content calendar, consider local holidays and important dates. There are some well-known special dates for Western culture, such as New Year or Christmas, but depending on your audience, you may need to consider additional dates or totally different ones.

For example, the lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Chinese New Year. This means that every year the date is different (in 2022 it will be February 1, in case you would like to know). If you’re focusing on the Chinese community, this is perhaps not the best date to plan an important sales campaign on your social media.

National and local holidays and celebrations differ from culture to culture. September 16, when Mexicans celebrate their Independence Day, is another useful example. This may be a good time to engage with an important date for that Spanish speaking community: a celebration message can actually boost your brand presence all over your social media.

Having special dates in your social media agenda will show your followers that you are connected to them and will also provide better results in finding the best and most engaging posting schedule.

You can follow our social media profiles in LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to get more insights on language and technology. Also, if you are looking to translate and localize your social media communications, reach out to us!