Post in multiple languages on Facebook – there’s no need to be scared!

If you want to expand the audience of your Facebook page you can do so by using a tool to post in multiple languages on Facebook. This will allow you to create messages on your page appears only in the preferred language of your Facebook users.

With Halloween coming up, the thought translating content for Facebook might all appear like a nightmare, but you really don’t need to be afraid!

Ghastly goings-on

At present there are quite a few pages that I follow that do one of two things:

  • Publish individual messages for each language (for examle one in Welsh and one in English)
  • Place the text of two or more languages within one Facebook message

Neither of these are inherently there wrong way, but they cause their own problems too.

The first option would involve a lot of duplicate content on your page. This would make it harder to find content. I suggest that it would be necessary to consider giving different images to your messages in each language as well, to make them look different to each other.

The second option is a problem because only a few lines of the full message will appear in your follower’s stream. If you have a four language, four paragraph post (one for each language), it is only the first paragraph that would probably be visible to the user, and they would need to click “read more” to expand the message and see all the text. And if they did not understand the first language in the message, it is unlikely that they will do so!

Post in multiple languages on Facebook: the options

In an earlier article on this blog about using Twitter bilingually, I suggested that it would be useful to some to have separate accounts for each language. But I will not suggest this in this case.

Why? Because Facebook is much more complex than Twitter in the way it presents content to its users. The algorithms at play are unlikely to display  irrelevant content to Facebook users, and that includes messages in languages that they don’t understand. (Tip: all you Facebook users can go to your profile settings and specify which languages you understand.

Tell Facebook what languages you understand

These are the methods I wish to suggest:

  1. Targeting audiences with separate messages for each language

On a Facebook page it is possible to create a message to target audiences based on their interests or demographic. When composing a message, look for the button that looks like a “Target” under the compose box and a menu appears like the one shown below. Please indicate the target language here.

Targeting the linguistic audience of a post

This leaves an element of luck, fate being in the hands of Facebook’s algorithm. It is not truly certain who will see what. Have the users set their Facebook language (e.g. Welsh like above?)? If not there is no black and white in this matter.

This is also still leaves the door open for displaying to users machine translation within Facebook. Facebook itself will translate posts automatically for some users who use another language.  This can obviously create erroneous messages, or embarrassing ones – at the detriment to yourself and your carefully crafted content!

2. Create multilingual versions within one post

For me, this is the cleanest and best option currently available to posy in multiple languages on Facebook.

To do this you will need to change some setting on your page and/or profile. On your profile go to Settings General > Post in multiple languages:

Turn on “post in multiple languages” for Facebook

Or, on your page, go to Settings > Post in multiple languages. Please tick the box and keep the changes “

In order to publish in multiple languages on a Facebook page, change this option.

From there, composing is simple. Firstly write a message in the language of your choice. As you do, a drop-down will appear that says “Write post in another language”. You can add as many languages as you like.

How to write a multilingual post in Facebook

In theory, therefore, Facebook users – your audience – should see your messages in the language (or languages) that they have set as their default.

Are there any problems with this method?

The complexities of Facebook’s algorithms leaves a little bit of luck in any marketing and communication through Facebook. Managing to get the attention of your audience by organic means (i.e. not paid content or advertising_ is becoming more and more difficult.

The biggest problem with this approach is also the unpredictability of how many people tell Facebook what their preferred language is. How many have ever changed the default settings of Facebook anyway?

If the figures are similar to the figures of users who change their web browsers language from the default (often US English, or UK English), that will be quite low. This may affect the ability of your messages to reach consumers in any language other than English – even if you have created a message in another language specifically for them.

I urge everybody to tell the web what your preferred language(s) are!

That’s how to post in multiple languages on Facebook

There are, therefore, several approach you can take to post in multiple languages on Facebook. I hope that I have shown you the options and which ones are best ones for you to use.

Whether it’s Halloween or not – there are only good spirits here at the CRYNO blog!

What’s your experience? I’d love to know and discuss in the comments below.

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