Doing social media right is a challenge as it is: understanding your audience, speaking to your audience in an authentic and compelling way within the restrictions of a 140 characters or battling EdgeRank, and a host of other considerations that take time and effort to get right. Now, imagine that while some of your audience was most comfortable interacting with you in English other segments of your tribe were native Spanish speakers or any number of other languages. That’s add a whole new dimension of complexity when connecting with people through social channels.
Here are a few different ways to approach this challenge on a high level:
Separate Accounts for Each Language
This is the best approach when you have large audiences in several languages and a large audience more generally because this is the most resource intensive method of managing a multilingual audience. You’ll need software like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to be able to scale this model, or you’ll be spending an exorbitant amount of time posting on social media.
The benefits of this approach are clear and simple: you’re doing the heavy lifting so that your audience is able to consume your content in the language that they are most comfortable in. That benefit alone shouldn’t be underestimated.
Incorporating Multilingual Content Into Existing Social Channels
Logistically, this is a lot simpler than having separate accounts for each language in your audience. If you’re most interested in leveraging social media for SEO purposes, this is also the preferred method because instead of building a number of smaller social media accounts you’ll have larger, higher authority accounts.
In this case, you’d update your social media channels in your audience’s primary language but also include other languages from time to time for special occasions. If you opt for this method, it’s important to think about what language you should use to engage individually with someone who is following you. While they are not always accurate, sometimes laughably so, consider making machine translation options available for your audience. It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s a simple option that will help keep your audience engaged with your content.
Finally, Leave Well Enough Alone
Use your Google Analytics, or other website analytics data, to determine if “well enough” is the case with your social media strategy. Look at the social media traffic to your website from countries that speak other languages and see how much of a disparity in metrics like time on site and bounce rate there is, if any, from social media referral traffic from your audience’s primary language.
If there isn’t a significant difference, you’re safe to continue updating your social media accounts in a single language.
Chances are one of these three approaches is the right one for you and your multilingual audience. Maybe you never considered whether your audience warrants a multilingual social media strategy in the first place. In that case, again, check out your analytics data or just ask your audience to determine whether you need to evaluate what language or languages you interact with your tribe in.