Creating a Successful Multilingual Social Media Marketing Plan
Updated: Apr 14
Over three billion people use social media worldwide. At the beginning of 2020, the most popular social media platforms were Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp and English is one of the most widely used languages on these platforms. This means that most people are comfortable browsing social media in English to some extent. But, if they cannot find information about a product in their own language, they are less likely to buy it. Multilingual social media accounts are a great way to connect with international customers.
There are a few things to consider when creating a multilingual social media marketing strategy.
1. Which language(s) do I need?
Brands need to connect with customers on their turf, this means understanding customer’s language, culture, and traditions. Identify your target market, their language, and country. Create a relevant and localised social media marketing strategy. Different countries speak different variations of a language, so be clear about which country you'll be marketing in. For example, “chips” in the US are called “crisps” in the UK. So, if a US brand advertises their new “chip” flavour in the UK, it could lead to confusion about what the product is, as “chips” don’t have a specific flavour in the UK.
2. Will multilingual social media complement my existing content and marketing strategy?
You've identified where your target customers live and which languages they speak. Now, consider whether a multilingual social media marketing strategy will complement your existing marketing strategy. For example, your website is in German, but your target customers are in Mexico. Interacting with followers on social media in Mexican Spanish but directing them to a website written in German may lead to frustration for your Mexican Spanish speaking followers as they won't be able to access information about your product or service in their native language. Before creating a Mexican Spanish social media profile, consider translating your website into Mexican Spanish too. This helps you support your Mexican customers throughout their journey.
3. Do I need a translation or original content in the target language?
You can either translate your pre-existing copy into the target language or write it in the target language. Both are effective ways of speaking to your target audience. But writing original content in the target language helps you avoid repeating information on your social media channels. Choose which service best suits the content that you want to share on social media.
4. Should I collaborate with a translator or multilingual copywriter?
Yes. They are experts in their fields and have their finger on the pulse in your target market. They understand your target market and can create valuable and engaging content. You can find a list of places to find a translator here.
5. Should I create separate social media profiles for each language that I am using?
Separate accounts can prevent excess clutter across your social media channels, avoiding repeated information. Additionally, some followers may unfollow if they see posts in a foreign language, as they tune out irrelevant information.
Can’t I use the built-in auto-translate function?
The auto-translate function built into most social media platforms is improving. But it still isn't perfect. It doesn’t understand your brand's tone or style, so, it can't recreate them in a different language. It also creates content that sounds unnatural to your target audience, which they immediately tune out. Relying on these tools may result in unreadable and unprofessional copy that doesn't engage your followers.
Creating multilingual social media platforms allows your brand to connect with a larger audience, but you can’t do it alone. Reap the benefits of engaging with your followers in their language by working with a translator-copywriter to create unique and high-quality content for your social media profiles.
Catherine is a translator, blogger, and content creator. She works with German, Spanish, and English and specialises in the sustainable consumer products and wellbeing market. She is an Affiliate of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. She has an MA in Translation and a BA in Spanish and German Studies from Lancaster University, UK. Her mission is to help you create and cultivate long-lasting and meaningful relationships with your customers to ensure that you can support them throughout their buyer’s journey. You can find her on LinkedIn or contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.