If you’re running marketing campaigns for a multinational company, should you create local social media accounts or stick to just one global page? What’s the best way to choose which language to post in, and on which channels?

At VeraContent, we’re experts on this topic. As a multilingual content agency, we work with global brands in various sectors to help them engage audiences worldwide through tailored content and localized social media management in multiple languages.

To answer your questions above, here’s some insight on how many of our current clients currently do it, plus our two cents about four of the most popular platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

A few general pros and cons that apply to all social media platforms:

Global social media accounts: 

  • Pro: You can control your brand’s image, content quality and publishing frequency all in one place, which is much easier than managing multiple local accounts. 
  • Pro: Your in-house marketing team can most likely run all your main channels. 
  • Pro: You can also create targeted ads from your main account to reach niche markets on most platforms.
  • Con: You can’t connect on a personal level with all of your followers with the same content, especially if they speak different languages and are located in different parts of the world.

Local social media accounts:

  • Pro: You can engage users more effectively and personally, resulting in greater community, impact and conversion. The payoff can be high if done right.
  • Pro: You can provide better customer service in your customers’ own language(s) and time zone, with faster response times, which in turn improves brand perception.
  • Con: You’ll need to have a dedicated team of local translators and social media managers who you can trust in representing your brand.
  • Con: Running local accounts is high maintenance—they require a lot of time, budget and effort to keep up, so you need to assess whether it’s worth it for your brand.
Image of flags from around the world, in an article on the main pros and cons of global vs. local social media accounts for businesses

What you need to know before creating local social media accounts: 

You should only consider creating local social media accounts once you’ve created a strong global account with clear messaging and an effective strategy. And if you do decide to create local pages, each one would be its own standalone page and this requires working with local community managers to run each one. 

Don’t create local pages if you can’t commit to them in the long term. It takes time and effort to build a loyal audience and see results. So you need to have the capacity to keep them up.

We recommend working with a localization agency like VeraContent, as they’ll be able to provide a single point of contact for you while managing a team of translators and community managers. An agency will also ensure your brand’s core message is adapted to each market accordingly, and maintain the quality of your content and posting frequency across all of your channels.

Pro tip: For each new market you enter, make sure that everything from your brand’s content strategy to your imagery resonates with your local audience. To do so, download our free interactive worksheet

Specific pros and cons of global vs. local social media accounts on the 4 main platforms:

1. Facebook 

Image of a Facebook logo, in an article to help you discover the main benefits of local social media accounts for businesses, plus the main setbacks. Decide what’s right for you.

This is the platform we have the most demand for localizing for our global clients. Why? Because Facebook is designed to offer a localized experience through global pages. When someone visits your main Facebook page, they will be redirected to the local content based on their IP address. 

That said, most clients choose only to offer localized pages for strategic markets. Others don’t localize organic content at all, but create targeted local Facebook ads in the local language, while keeping all of their page content in English.

  • Pros and cons of creating local Facebook accounts: The tool is already designed to help you do it with its own multilingual functionality: “global pages.” The main setback is that you’ll need to assign a local community manager to run each page and assure your content is adapted properly every time you post.

See also: 12 multilingual social media tips that really work

2. Instagram 

Image of Instagram's logo, in an article to help you discover the main benefits of local social media accounts for businesses, plus the main setbacks. Decide what’s right for you.

This is the second most in-demand platform that our clients request localization for, and we’re going to dedicate a long explanation to it.

Instagram is tricky, as there are many benefits of having local accounts, but also a few reasons not to. 

Benefits of having just one global Instagram account:

Since Instagram is such a visual platform and does not have the “global pages” of Facebook, some clients decide to stick to one corporate-level Instagram account. This allows brands to create a strong strategy for their main page and really focus on providing valuable content and engaging followers in one place. 

Content creation for Instagram can be more complex because of all the different formats, such as Stories, Reels and IGTV. 

That’s why it might make more sense to do one account really well rather than run several—unless the other accounts have a substantially different purpose or content angle. 

Like Facebook, you can still do targeted local ads on Instagram from your main account. 

Benefits of running local Instagram accounts for businesses: 

Several of our clients do opt for local Instagram accounts, such as PopSockets. We manage their accounts for the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which have directly resulted in increased traffic and growth in each market. Read our client story.

You can also check out global brands like L’Oréal, which has several accounts, including @lorealparis, @lorealindia, @lorealaustralia and @lorealspain.

The main benefit of having local Instagram accounts is that the platform is all about user-generated content and engagement—and people prefer to engage in their native language. That means they’ll be more likely to purchase something that’s presented to them in their own language, as well as comment, share and follow.

What’s more, audiences in different regions have different beliefs, needs and contexts. If you create a local Instagram account, you’ll be able to tailor your content for your specific audience, including adapting holiday campaigns, working with nano influencers and choosing the right visuals.

See also: How to localize your content for more effective marketing in Europe

Pro Instagram & Facebook tip: Add custom location tags 

For brick-and-mortar businesses with multiple locations, take advantage of custom location tags on Facebook and Instagram so people can “check-in” at your business. This is a good solution for driving local engagement from a corporate-level page. 

According to Kate Busby, social media expert who we interviewed on The Content Mix podcast: 

“If your local team reminds customers and partners to upload Insta content and apply this tag before publishing, you will build up a stack of Instagram content under that tag. Should someone using Instagram search for your business in the search bar, they will encounter this tag and see an archive of tagged photos and videos that give a real sense of the people, activities and opportunities taking place in that locale.You’ll literally put your local business—and your brand—on the map.”

Check out our interview with Kate Busby, and read her in-depth guide to B2B Instagram marketing in 2021.

  • Pros and cons of creating local Instagram accounts: It doesn’t have a multilingual functionality and it has complex features, so it might not be worth creating separate local accounts unless they have very different purposes and audiences—and you have the time and budget. Plus, the platform is very visual, so global video and photo content with English captions could be more appealing to international audiences, when compared to some of the other platforms that are more text-driven.

3. LinkedIn 

Image of LinkedIn's logo, in an article to help you discover the main benefits of local social media accounts for businesses, plus the main setbacks. Decide what’s right for you.

Your LinkedIn page represents your company, so the general best practice is only to have one account—unless you have different business units you want to separate, in which case check out the affiliate pages feature.

The unique thing about LinkedIn is the ability to target both paid ads and the organic posts that show up on your followers’ feeds. For example, geography and language is one aspect you can target. See more info about LinkedIn target audiences

In our experience, we’ve seen clients invest less in localization on LinkedIn compared to Facebook and Instagram, most likely because English is more generally accepted as the lingua franca on LinkedIn. 

At the least, we would recommend including your company’s “About” information in your company’s main languages used in marketing which is a feature LI offers. (See “manage languages“). 

  • Pros and cons of creating local content for LinkedIn: While you can target local content that shows up on your followers’ feeds based on location, all of it will show up side by side on your LinkedIn page (unless you create multiple pages for your business, which we don’t recommend as a best practice). This is why many companies decide to only have one corporate LinkedIn account and post content primarily in one language.
  • What you can do on a single account: Include your company’s “About” section in your company’s most important languages with LinkedIn’s manage languages feature. Also use LinkedIn’s targeted updates feature to control what shows up on your followers’ feeds based on location and other factors, and create ads targeted based on geography.

4. Twitter 

Image of Twitter's logo, in an article to help you discover the main benefits of local social media accounts for businesses, plus the main setbacks. Decide what’s right for you.

The considerations to make for Twitter are similar to Instagram, although for slightly different reasons. The issue isn’t the post types on Twitter, but the frequency of engagement that’s needed to reach traction there. 

For Twitter—and all other platforms—we would first recommend really working to grow your main corporate account and then deciding whether to expand that strategy to local markets. For example, it’s worth spending more time following and engaging with relevant influencers in your sector from your main account versus creating a lot of multilingual content at an early stage.

If you haven’t already developed a strong main Twitter account for your brand, it would be costly and time-consuming to set up a strategy for several local pages at once. It makes more sense to refresh the strategy on one page, and if that strategy works, consider a similar localized version of that strategy in key markets. 

Meanwhile, like the other platforms, you can still do targeted ads in local languages on Twitter. 

  • Pros and cons of local Twitter accounts: It’s probably not worth considering for your business unless you’ve already created a really strong main page—and have the time and budget to localize it. First focus on growing your main page and engaging followers.

Continuing the debate on global vs. local social media accounts for businesses

While all of the above tips are based on our personal experiences with a range of global brands, none of them are full proof for you

You’ll need to decide the best route for your business based on your goals, the current state of your main accounts and how well you’ve developed your brand’s messaging in your home market, as well as time and budget constraints. 

We highly recommend working with a team of local experts to help you make this decision, based on market research and truly getting to know your business and needs.

If you need help, check out our free worksheets:

And get in touch with us!

At VeraContent, we work closely with our clients to not only manage their local social media accounts, but also advise them on whether or not it’s worth doing so. We also help them set up the localization process from the ground up and put together the right team of local community managers and copywriters to keep their accounts up to date and engaging.

If you’d like to set up a meeting with us so we can discuss these steps and questions further, get in touch with us.

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