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In social media marketing, language barriers can pose a challenge when trying to reach an international audience. Your Facebook post in English may perform well in the United States, but if you run it in Japan, you neglect the larger segment of the population that aren’t fluent in English.
Facebook breaks down these barriers with their multiple languages tool. With this setting, your audience will view your post in the language that’s most relevant to them.
Some Facebook page admins may decide to go the “dark post” route. Dark posts are targeted posts set as ads that will appear on your followers’ newsfeed and will not populate your page’s newsfeed. Each language may have its own post copy and visual.
We weigh in the pros and cons of language optimisation and using dark posts on Facebook here:
- Target audience by language.This multi-lingual setting allows you to reach out to a wider audience with the same post, without clogging your newsfeed.
- Gain follower engagement.Providing posts in multiple languages – specific languages your page followers are likely to set when they view Facebook – will mean they are likely to engage with your post in a language they understand.
- Social proof on one post.You can see how a single post in multiple languages performs, instead of spreading it over multiple individual posts. This improves the chances that someone will engage with a post that already has some likes and comments as opposed to a post that’s just rolling past like tumbleweed in the Facebook engagement desert.
- Dark post option.Aside from this multi-language setting, you may opt to have individual dark posts in multiple languages. On Ads Manager, your dark post will have the same reporting capabilities as a regular boosted post. This will give you insights on specific post performance.
- Tedium of multiple dark posts.Though posting multiple individual dark posts in different languages can avoid spamming your followers on your newsfeed, it also creates multiple post IDs which can be troublesome to track after several campaigns.
- Miss out on Facebook learning.Facebook learns to match your ad objective with the right audience within the first 24 hours of publishing your dark post. Opting for multiple dark posts means targeting a smaller audience segment and each ad will limit Facebook learning and thus reduces ad spend effectiveness. It is also difficult to gauge how well a single post performs when it is spread across multiple posts with the same content.
- Effects on overall page engagement. If all posts are dark, this will limit new content from appearing on your page, which ultimately could lower overall page engagement and ranking.
- Relying on auto translation if you don’t read the language. Facebook’s feature can only automatically translate your text to the desired language, which like any other online translators out there, can get lost in translation (we’re looking at you, Google Translate*). To ensure accuracy in wordings and context, it’s best to get a proper translation done separately.
Are you ready to try this option? Follow our guide below.
First, you need to allow posts in multiple languages.
- Settings> General> Click “Posts in Multiple Languages” > Check the box next to “Allow people who manage this page to write posts in multiple languages” > SaveChanges
Secondly, create a post in more than one language.
- Draft your post. The language you use to write the post will be the “default language”. This will be explained later on.
- Click “Write post in another language”
- Click “Select”, and choose an additional language
- Facebook will automatically translate the post to your desired language, but you can insert your own translation to ensure accuracy.
- Publish your post!
How the post will be viewed:
Let’s say you wrote the original post in English and choose Spanish and Chinese as the additional languages. Facebook users with their primary language set as Spanish and Chinese will view the post in their language.
What happens to users who’ve set their primary language in another language, like German or Bahasa Indonesia? These profiles will see your post in its “default language”—English.
Use this handy tool to ensure inclusivity and expand your reach to audiences across various countries.
*A note on translation: We’ve been blessed with Google Translate, but we’re not going to use it for corporate brochures and collaterals just yet. On the other hand, getting lost in Google Translation is great for faffing about.