You have found the ultimate guide for multilingual social media. Social media has made the world a much smaller place. Now, more than ever, companies are using social media to connect their brands with customers around the globe. Multilingual social media, which refers to social media content that’s been translated into multiple languages, can give your brand an upper hand. This is especially true when it comes to consumer confidence. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that more than 70 percent of consumers require information in their own language before making a purchase.1 Facebook, who also published a study on the topic, found that Hispanics in the U.S. view brands that advertise in Spanish more positively than those that don’t.2 Across the globe there are 3.499 billion active social media users,3 with the average person having 7.6 social media accounts.4 With users spending an average of 142 minutes on social media each day 5, there are billions of reasons for publishing your social media content in multiple languages. In this guide we will review some of the necessary steps to go through when pursuing multilingual social media.
Research before launching your multilingual social media content
Before diving into multilingual social media you will need to do some research to know who you will be targeting. You will want to identify what languages your audience speaks. Most of the major social media platforms provide audience language statistics within their analytics dashboard. This is a great place to gauge your existing audience. If you operate in a place where there is a large number of speakers of a particular language, but you are not reaching them visibly in your analytics, you might consider actively targeting them with your content. For example, if you are a craft beer brewer operating in Southern California, where there is a large Spanish speaking population, you might find opportunity in actively targeting this audience with social media content in their language.
Industry experience will help your translations
You should choose to work with translators who have experience in your industry. This added industry experience gives you the ability to connect with people on a technical level, which can make your content extremely effective in reaching your audience. Language service companies (LSCs) can offer you teams of translators with experience in a multitude of industries. They’ll work around the clock to make sure that your social media content is accurately translated so that it resonates with the audiences you are targeting.
Localize your content and create better multilingual social media content
Connecting to multicultural audiences on social media is impossible without quality content and culturally appropriate translations that are localized for their consumption. Localizing your content means adapting it to the nuance of the cultural groups you are targeting. This can include converting to local conventions such as units of currency and measurement, using local preferred formats for dates, addresses and phone numbers, and being mindful of local regulations and legal requirements. When working with your language services vendor, you’ll want to discuss your target audience as you begin your project, as this will determine how the content will be localized.
Create a workflow with your Language Service Company for better multilingual social media
When working with a language service company it’s a good idea to create a workflow where you hand off your social media content for translation well in advance of when you will publish the original English content. This will allow for adequate translation turnaround time. Your goal as a content provider is to publish your content simultaneously across all languages.. If you are targeting language speakers in time zones in other countries, you will want to schedule your social media posts during times that work best for those audiences.
Select social media channels to publish your multilingual social media content to
Once you’ve researched your audience, picked out a language service company and have planned a productive workflow, you will need to select social media channels to publish your multilingual content to. Selecting the right social media platforms is an important step as it will dictate the style of content you produce. Many brands choose to publish on multiple social media platforms. By doing so, they increase their chances of reaching a wider audience. You will want to weigh which platforms work best for your brand; these may vary according to your industry.
Here is a breakdown of some of the major social media platforms available today for multilingual social media content providers:
1. Facebook as a multilingual social media channel
Over 50 percent of Facebook’s two billion monthly users speak a language other than English. That means that half of the people using the platform are doing so in over 100 other languages.5 Posting on the world’s most popular social media platform means you will also have a lot of competition vying for the attention of users. This means your translated content will have to be extremely engaging. Also, because of the amount of posting options available: videos, images, text, stories, live mode, you will want to work with a translation company that is flexible enough to cover each of these options. The way you publish multilingual content to Facebook also matters. One widely used approach is to set up different pages for each language. By doing so, you will not be inundating users with content in languages that they can’t read or understand. This will help you to better engage with each of your language groups.
2. YouTube as a multilingual social media channel
By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic.6 YouTube has firmly established itself as the social media platform for video. Building connections and networks on YouTube can be done in several ways, including; commenting on and responding to videos, signing up subscribers and networking with any of the platform’s 1.8 billion plus users throughout the world. Localizing your videos with translated subtitles and voiceover can help your content resonate with non-English speaking audiences. Not every language service company will offer subtitling and voiceover services, so you will want to make sure the vendor you choose to work with has these capabilities. Then you will want to design a workflow that works best with your video production efforts.
3. LinkedIn as a multilingual social media channel
When it comes to engaging its global users, LinkedIn has been a leader. The platform offers the option of publishing user profiles in a secondary language. Additionally, for those that manage company pages on LinkedIn, there is an option to create company updates to audiences in regions throughout the world. This means you can create a post specifically targeting Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, the Middle East, etc. LinkedIn also offers the ability to publish company information in a number of languages. Because you only have one chance to make a positive first impression, you will want to make sure your translations are as accurate and precise as possible. Making sure your vendor has teamed you up with translators with industry experience is key, as the content on LinkedIn is often industry-specific and technical, which means the translations must be spot-on.
4. Instagram as a multilingual social media channel
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media service. With 90 percent of Instagram users younger than 35 years of age,7 it is considered “the” place to reach millennials. It also has global reach. The top three countries that use Instagram are the United States (110 million users), Brazil (66 million users) and India (64 million users).8 Users on Instagram who have established credibility and a large audience are referred to as influencers. Translating your video content for Instagram with subtitles and voiceover can help you develop a more authentic experience for viewers and create stronger relationships with followers across the planet. Translating your write-ups and using multilingual hashtags can also help generate a multilingual following. This can extend to making your comments and replies multilingual also! You’ll want to work with a language service company that can provide all of these different types of translation services under one roof for your Instagram content. Make sure your localization vendor has these capabilities.
5. Twitter as a multilingual social media channel
With only 69 million of Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users based in the United States,9 and with the platform supporting more than 33 languages, taking your latest news or memes to new audiences has never been easier. After you have identified what languages you want to target on Twitter, you’ll want to set up Twitter feeds for each individual language. This includes setting up your account information and biography in each language. And because Twitter is all about following and interacting with influencers, you will want to follow those who are most prominent in each language. This is where working with a language service company becomes extremely valuable in your efforts on Twitter. When you’re interacting with posts and crafting responses, your translations will need to be of the highest quality.
Learn about the benefits of translating other types of digital content by reading Double your Digital Content with a Translator.
Levon Guiragossian, Marketing Consultant
Levon is a marketing consultant and writer. His current focus areas include content marketing, digital strategy and multilingual branding. Before working with Language Link, Levon led corporate marketing efforts through various management and leadership roles with companies around the world. Levon is a graduate of the University of Queensland in Australia where he holds a Bachelors of Business Management with a major in Marketing.
1 Nataly Kelly, “72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language,” last modified August 03, 2012, https://hbr.org/2012/08/speak-to-global-customers-in-t
2 "US Hispanics see brands that advertise in Spanish in a more positive light." July 14, 2019. Facebook Business Insights. https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/gains-in-translation-what-your-language-choices-say-to-us-hispanics.
3 "Users had an average of 7.6 social media accounts." Statista. (2019). https://www.statista.com/statistics/788084/number-of-social-media-accounts/
4 "Digital 2019 Q2 Global Digital Statshot." April 30, 2019. Digital Statshot. https://www.slideshare.net/DataReportal/digital-2019-q2-global-digital-statshot-april-2019-v02
5 "1.1 billion Facebook users speak English." July 15, 2019. Hootsuite. https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-statistics/
6 "By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017." Cisco Visual Networking Index. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/white-paper-c11-741490.html
7 "Instagram behavior for teens different than adults." July 12, 2019. ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150616155028.htm
8 "Leading countries based on number of Instagram users as of April 2019". July 18, 2019. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/578364/countries-with-most-instagram-users/
9 "Number of monthly active Twitter users in the United States from 1st quarter 2010 to 1st quarter 2019". July 18, 2019. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/274564/monthly-active-twitter-users-in-the-united-states/
10 "Languages supported by Twitter for websites widgets and buttons." July 20, 2019. Twitter Developer. https://developer.twitter.com/en/docs/twitter-for-websites/twitter-for-websites-supported-languages/overview.html
About Language Link
At Language Link, we excel at helping our customers grow their brands through our translation and interpretation services. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and incorporated in 1991, Language Link has more than 27 years of experience as a full-service multilingual communication agency. We have highly qualified linguists working in over 240 languages and dialects. We also offer a comprehensive suite of translation options, including audio visual services and eLearning and website localization, as well as Over-the-Phone and Video Remote Interpretation.