Recently I shared a case study on virtual events via Facebook, and in this article I briefly touched on the concept of posting in various languages. The interactions we saw spiked when we posted in various languages, but there were also issues with English readers complaining about the messages they didn’t understand. We decided to run a few tests.
First of all, on Fan Pages, you have an option to target posts. Click on the lock icon, and select customize (I know, lock icon = customize??)
Now you have the option to target countries, states, cities, and languages. For our purposes, we first thought targeting languages would be appropriate. The results were not impressive. We then experimented with the idea that if users aren’t using the localized GUI of Facebook, then Facebook thinks they are English speakers.
We posted two identical messages, one targeting Arabic language (the control), and the other targeting a list of Arabic countries (via Wikipedia).
First the post targeting Arabic speakers:
And then targeting Arabic speaking countries (note: Syria, Sudan, and Iran are not an option, ask your local congressman):
Targeting countries was more successful than targeting language, but this also excludes users that might not be in the targeted country.
My take on this? The customize option is very useful if you have a large fan base, but be aware of the limitations.
(Thanks @HilalChouman for helping me test this theory.)