Mind your language and speak clearly on social media

  • September 26, 2019

In a global society, social media cannot help but be multilingual. Reaching and engaging an audience, in Europe especially, is like walking a tightrope. Communicators find themselves torn between trying to reach a broad audience – by using different languages – and focusing their message to engage the right stakeholders. So how can social media professionals have their cake and eat it?

By considering language from the very start of a social media campaign, you can widen your reach and also maintain a conversation with a certain demographic.

Make people care

Why consider multilingual posts? Simply put, you want users to care. While many Europeans speak at least two languages, you always want to engage the emotional core of your audience.

As Emil Cioran, the Romanian philosopher and essayist, said: ‘One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland — and no other.’

By personalising the content and respecting your audience’s mother tongue, you raise the odds that they will interact with your social media accounts.

Creating flexible content

Your key messages can still be grounded in one language, so develop them using the one you are most comfortable with. For translation, can you use a common language that your audience will all understand, or is it better to use regional dialects?

Once you’ve identified the best languages to use, keep your content short. Don’t forget to make it visual! A universal image with a short text can be adapted more easily into different posts.

Don’t get lost in translation

There are a few tricks you can implement to reach out to more users than ever before. Facebook, for instance, offers a multilingual composer that lets you post in several languages at once.

You can mix your languages by double posting (multiple posts in different languages on the same account), so long as it fits your audience’s preferences.

Alternatively, you can keep languages separate by managing two or more accounts. If you want to keep translated content out of your main feed, go for paid promotions or dark posts.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, but always monitor and track who engages with your content so it can be refined over time.

Now it’s your turn. Go find your voice!


Maxime, ESN social media specialist
Maxime knows it’s not easy navigating languages.
He’s currently wrestling with Dutch lessons.
Veel success!