I've just finished the excellent Inbound Marketing book of Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. I would like to implement some of their proposed strategies about social network marketing, like creating a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account or Linkedin profile.
I'm the owner of Zoomission.com, a construction and renovation quote portal for English and French Canadian consumers that need to find great contractors.
My question is, how should I create Facebook Fan Pages to support multi-languages content? Should I create multiple fan pages? Should I create multiple Twitter accounts also? Should I have an English and a French blog? If yes, how can I maximize SEO and keep content clear for the users? Ex. facebook.com/zoomission, twitter.com/zoomission... What are the best practices regarding Inbound Marketing and content localization?
I don't have any direct experience with multiple language support in social media sites.
One thing I do know (and will echo Montana's thoughts here) is to ensure that you really have the resources to maintain a presence and build a community in two different locations. For most startups, just keeping up with one presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a decent amount of work. I'd try to pick one point of focus to start and worry about layering in the other language over time.
But, I don't know your business, so that might not be an option.
Separate Twitter Accounts
Twitter is a tool for conversations; even if many of the tweets are starts of conversations your followers choose not to join. What will turn followers off, though, are tweets that start conversations they can't join, because they don't understand them. I'd have an @Zoomission account, and an @ZoomissionFr account.
Multi-Language Blogging with Wordpress
For your blog, I know Wordpress can do multi-language support; you'll need to do some research on how to best implement it, since ideally you want to be able to provide a human-written translation, that's displayed automatically based on the IP address of the visitor (or by choice, for french-speaking Canadians), with minimum variation in the URL, for SEO purposes (e.g. www.blog.com/category/post-title-goes-here?lang=fr vs. www.blog.com/francais/category/post-title-goes-here).
Facebook, Priorities, & Effort of Localization vs Translation
I'd agree with dharmesh that keeping up multiple presences takes a lot, but I'd disagree about the priorities of locations first, multiple languages later. Try multiple languages via the two twitter accounts (which I think will get you more results than a Facebook fan page anyways), and use them to get a feel for what effort is required for even short-form multilingual content. See if translating content you post on one account is enough, or if you're finding that people in different areas / part of different networks based on language respond better to totally different content.
I've seen some companies use one single account and post content in both languages (i.e: http://twitter.com/CanadiensMTL ).
Perhaps you should start with one single bilingual account and eventually start branching into language specific accounts whenever you get a large enough amount of followers that would justify the added overhead.
Bonne chance avec ton startup !