8 Best Practices for Building a Multilingual Social Media Presence

multilingual translation services In this digital age, engagement is king. And what is engagement, if not simply people talking about you or your business? Increasing your online engagement may come down to one simple thing- appealing to a larger audience. Building a multilingual social media presence can be a good way to increase that engagement. Social media platforms are the great equalizer online, making it easy for people to connect with others outside of time zones and country lines. But languages barriers can still present a challenge for businesses and users. Over 50% of the content that lives online is in English- but less than 1/3 of internet users speak English! With such a language gap, one of the easiest ways to increase your social media reach is creating content for a multilingual audience. People search and engage in many languages when they are online. So, it is important to pay attention and think if multilingual social media is a good investment for your business:

  • What are the languages of interest for your business?
  • Is multilingual social media a good channel for your business?
  • What do you need for your social media content: translation, transcreation or a new copy in another language?
  • What keywords to use in each language?

Why Have a Multilingual Social Media Presence?

When it comes to consumers, a common language builds trust. Consumers prefer to read posts, messages, and content from businesses in their language, regardless of the brand’s preferred tongue. No consumer wants to run their own translation services simply to read a piece of marketing material. Using your consumer’s language to meet them where they are establishes a sense of trust, respect, understanding and interest in that demographic. Social media is about building relationships, a crucial part of converting new customers. And the easiest way to start is to speak the same language. But just how important is a common language? Studies show not only do customers prefer to receive ads in their own language- they’re willing to pay more to get it. 72% of customers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their language, and 56% said information in their language was more important than price. I am bilingual Spanish-English, but I love to read in Spanish since it is my native language. I really find it offensive when brands have bad translation, misspells or bad usage of words because they used machine translation raw without a review. It really affects your opinion and perception of that company forever. They worked to appeal to another audience, using Spanish language but when they did not execute their translation services project well. Creating a multilingual social media presence is no small task because translating content goes beyond a simple exchange of words. When you’re ready to start, consider these best practices.

Best Practice for Creating Multilingual Social Media Content

1)    Plan for the Translation of your Social Media

The same way you have a calendar and a plan for the company’s English social media, you need to plan and create a calendar for the social media in the different languages. Study if you need to use translation or transcreation, that will depend on your content. Create content that is neutral and easy to translate and localize. Create images that are appropriate. Planning will help you execution. Select early in the process that translation agency that will help you with language translation services.

2)    Research Your Audience

To create a social media presence that speaks to an international audience, you need to know what language your audience speaks. You can learn a lot about your social media followings through your page analytics. Every platform has analytics, and these can tell you who is interacting with your content, where they live, and their known language preferences. Use your analytics to start researching your audience base, but don’t be afraid to expand beyond that. Social media allows you to connect directly with your customers, so you can also poll your audience directly. It’s also important to understand what platforms your audience prefers. Social media preference is largely determined by age and geographic location. If you’re posting on Facebook, but your audience uses Snapchat, Instagram and What’s App, it doesn’t matter if you have translated content or not since you are using a platform that will not be effective.

3)    Don’t Use Google Translate

Don’t throw your carefully crafted social media post in Google and hope for the best. Free translation tools are good to try to understand content like an email buy have limitations, not the least of which is an utter lack of cultural context for your posts. It’s easy to spot a copy and paste translation on social media channels- it’s almost always incorrect for conversational language. And for hashtags? Don’t even bother. Hashtags aren’t meant to be translated, but you can seek out specific hashtags in your target audience’s language. Professional translation agencies can take the social media posts your team spent hours crafting and create the translated equivalent while retaining the important brand messaging.

4)    Consider the Cultural Context

Every piece of translated content has some cultural context to it, but this is amplified on social media, where trends come and go in the blink of an eye. Utilizing a professional translation company with cultural knowledge in both the source and target language takes your content from average to thumb-stopping. It’s not enough to simply translate the words of a social media post – you must consider the content and context as well. For example, using the bunny for your easter social media campaign might not be appropriate for countries where the ester bunny is not use, it will be completely detached and foreign for them even in their language.

5)    Think about Multilingual Keyword research

Do keyword research in the languages that you are working on and use the selected terms in translation of your social media. The keywords and their search volume change per country, so consider the countries that you are targeting, do your homework before creating your multilingual social media campaign. Use the appropriate hashtags in each language and establish early which keywords to use in your hashtag.

6)    Localize Your Content

Your social media content needs to be relevant across cultures or tailored to specific audiences. This is where localization comes in. Localizing your content ensures the message is relevant to your audience and is presented properly. This can include unexpected things like ensuring music is licensed in certain countries, avoiding culturally specific forms of humor, and understanding the slang and colloquialisms of your audience. Not only does localizing your content serve as a vote of confidence with your audience, but studies also show that localized content performs 6 times better than general content. For example, when doing Spanish Translation of a term be mindful of the country. In the example below we are analyzing the usage of the translation of the word “marketing” and which one to use. As it is easy to understand it really depends on the country. In Mexico they use the word “Márketing” less while “Mercadeotecnia” and “ Mercadeo” are used more. “Mercadeotecnia” has more searches in Mexico of the 3. Below the search volume and the volume in different countries







7)    Create Multiple Channels

Creating translated content can create a new challenge for businesses- too many posts for one day, containing the same message in different languages. This is easily fixed by creating separate accounts for specific markets in the target language. Separate channels allow you to share messages across channels in as many languages as necessary without invoking the ire of the algorithms, which can suppress your reach. Each channel should post in one language. That is the best approach nonetheless it generates more work, but it facilitates the moderation and engagement. This can also create a sense of community within each page where customers can interact with each other and you in their native language. Please only use native speaker when you are working and answering in the different channels

8)    Measure Performance

Measure results to see what works and what doesn’t. That why you will be able to improve and focus on the content that works, the channel that is more effective for your business and focus on the language that produce more traffic, engagement, and leads for your business products or services. You will need to measure and adjust constantly to improve your results.

Don’t Forget About User Generated Content

Translating your own content isn’t enough in today’s digital world. User-generated content (UGC) is essential for both businesses and consumers. Having translated forms of UGC available can go a long way with improving customer relations. Translating your user-generated content for global appeal is important for reaching new, international audiences. A 2017 study found 90% of respondents said user-generated content holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and search engine results.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is all the content about your business or company produced by users- people not affiliated with your business. This includes user reviews, product ratings, blogs, videos, podcasts, photos, captions, and comments on social media. Businesses benefit from UGC with an abundance of content they don’t have to create or fund, and customers appreciate hearing from other people rather than corporations.

Work with an experienced Partner

Adding multilingual social media content to your marketing mix can be rewording. Like any element of your marketing strategy, you need to plan, measure, and follow best practices to be successful. You also need to select the right partner to guide and help you with the best translation services quality along the way. Select a translation company that has the experience and the resources to walk along with you during your multilingual journey. It will be exciting, and you will learn what works in different languages.

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