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Apr
19

Social Media Marketing – How to Market to Two Different Languages

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Take a second to consider this – you’ve got a market in two different languages. How would you go about marketing to them? For most of us, we’ve never even thought about doing this before. But the world is truly getting smaller and it’s likely in the near future that you’ll have to market to two language groups.

Multiple Accounts or One That’s Bilingual?

The first question is whether you should create a different social media profile for each language or market to two languages simultaneously on one. Let’s say you’re marketing to English and Chinese speakers. Imagine setting up and managing two different social media profiles for each social media site you use – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and so on. That would be a major headache!

You pretty much have to stick to one profile to market to both language groups through it. But this presents serious challenges as well. The next question is whether you should have posts in only one language at a time, or whether you should provide a translation.

There is no right answer, but here are a few things to consider:

– Translating your posts (in other words, each post is in both languages) makes them twice as long. For Facebook, this could create posts that are too long to read. On Twitter, where you get a limited number of characters, it can be downright impossible.

– Posting in only one language may alienate the other language. To use the above examples, your English audience may get annoyed by seeing Chinese characters in your posts.

Segmenting Your Audience

The solution is to segment your audience. On Twitter, you can create categories for all of your followers. Whenever you get a new follower, put them into the appropriate language group. You can tell which language they prefer by having a quick look at their profile.

Unfortunately, Facebook and other social media sites don’t offer the easy segmentation that Twitter does. Facebook has its targeted posts feature, which allows you to choose specific demographic information (in this case language or country) and the post is only seen by these followers. But you need to have a certain number of fans before you can use this feature.

Listening to Your Fans

Just like all things social media, the key is to listen to your fans. Different language groups have different preferences. In many European countries, for example, English is widely spoken and most of the population can read a simple social media update.

In some cases, you may need to offer a summary translation. In Asian countries where people have a general working knowledge of written English, it may be time consuming to read English posts. A quick one-sentence summary of the contents in the other language can tell them whether it’s worth their time to read.

Just make sure that you have bilingual that can respond quickly to questions or comments. Also make sure that all of your marketing materials match. In other words, don’t send your Chinese Facebook fans to an English-only website. You should offer both languages everywhere.

Toby Russell

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