Multilingual Instagram Social Media Optimization

5 Tips for Increasing Instagram Interactions with Hashtags in Multiple Languages

Posted by | Dining, Food for thought, Instagram, Personal, Social Media | No Comments

Now that I’ve been using Instagram and toying with social media optimization for a while, I’ve become far more adept at using hashtags to garner interactions — even to the point where one friend proclaimed “You might be the food hashtag king.”

One day I decided to try adding Chinese hashtags in addition to English hashtags, and I noticed the photos I posted seemed to be getting more and more interactions. Had I discovered a means for social optimization through use of multiple languages?

I recently decided to try to perform a crude measurement of the impact of posting to Instagram with Hashtags in multiple languages, and the difference seemed tangible. I took interactions from the most recent 7 posts that had both Chinese and English hashtags and compared them to the most recent 7 posts that had only English hashtags, and here’s what I found:

English + Chinese English only
39 32
38 26
16 40
24 37
51 8
20 14
32 12
Average: 31.43 Average: 24.14

rp_Screenshot-10-27PM-May-15-2014-576x1024.pngAs you can see from the table above, average interactions for photos with both Chinese and English hashtags were about 30% higher! Now, clearly this is a small sample size with plenty of variables left unaccounted for (photo subject matter, quality of tags, etc.), but I don’t really have time to do a larger study (sorry). That said, I think there really is something to using more than one language to get more Instagram interactions, and I think there are some tips and guidelines that you can use to do it smartly:

Use a language you’re familiar with. Maybe you also speak Spanish or studied French — that’s perfect! The last thing you want to do is try using Google to translate into a foreign language that you’re unfamiliar with because you could translate things incorrectly or miss out on better hashtags. Remember, real people are going to be reading these, so if a bad translation makes you look incompetent, it could backfire. Think about it: how could you even Google translate #nomnom? Nothing good can come from that.

Focus on strongest hashtags and keywords per language. Let’s say you tag 10 hashtags per photo. Chances are once you get through five or six hashtags with one languages, the marginal return measured in interactions will start dropping off significantly. For example, if I post a picture of sushi, I’ll probably start with #foodporn, #nomnom, #sushi, #food, #Japanese. Beyond that, I would start getting into really specific hashtags like #fish, #salmon, #handroll, etc. Rather than trying to scrape the bottom of the barrel for interactions with these super specific hashtags, switch languages and start over with the most popular tags in that language (you may need to experiment or snoop around to find them). Continuing with this sushi example, I would probably switch over to Chinese with #美食, #壽司, #好吃, #生魚片, #日本料理, #日本, #日式.Bonus: You may have noticed Chinese can actually fit more hashtags in the same amount of space, nice!

Use “loanwords” (borrowed words between languages). Chinese and Japanese share some hashtags, so I’ve actually gotten quite a few Japanese followers through Chinese hashtags. However, this phenomenon is not unique between these two languages. You may have similar findings with other languages that share borrowed words or proper nouns (for example “weekend” is the same in English and French).

Follow people who hashtag in your target language. See which hashtags work best for them, and see if you can apply them to your photos. You may want to follow people who have a similar subject matter to you.

Don’t stop with hashtags. Make your descriptions, comments and replies multilingual also! By using more than one language is all areas of your Instagram account, you’ll do a better job of connecting to people in that language and boosting interactions through subsequent likes, more followers, and more comments within robust conversations that otherwise wouldn’t happen when using only one language.

And that’s it! Those are my five tips for now. I’ve noticed far more interactions since using more than one language, although it could be because Chinese and English are the two most commonly spoken languages in the world or simply because the subject matter of my photos lends itself well to a dual audience. Have you tried posting in more than one language? Have you found any of your own strategies or tips? Leave a comment and let us all know! Remember to also follow my Instagram account!

Chinese Fridge Website Redesign

Chinese Fridge Website Redesign

Posted by | Gaming, Mobile, Personal, Professional Development, Resources, Web Design, Web Development | No Comments

Just in time for Chinese New Year (Friday), I decided to do a much-needed redesign of the Chinese Fridge website.

For those not familiar with Chinese Fridge, it’s a growing suite of Chinese learning game apps that I started a while back on weekends to help my friends who are teachers entertain their students while also providing reinforcement for vocabulary.

The old website was just a really basic implementation of Twitter Bootstrap that I threw together out of nowhere when the project was getting started. It was a good learning experience in the realm of responsive design, but this new version is much swankier.

While putting it together, I even picked up a few new tricks to use at work, which I recommended to my design colleague. One such resource is Font Awesome, which is a font that includes tons of useful icons instead of letters.

Why use font awesome? The reasons are many:

  • They scale beautifully with CSS, unlike images — in fact, they scale “INFINITELY” which sounds mind-blowingly amazing, right?
  • Instead of loading several separate images, you simply load one font file (kind of like an image sprite) — and less server calls = faster load time = nice SEO benefit as well
  • I’ve seen images randomly disappear from our Amazon cloud hosting, which wouldn’t happen with this unless the single font file went missing — and even then you can actually load from an externally hosted location on a CDN that Font Awesome provides the URL for
  • The designer I talked to expressed great joy at the idea of potentially not having to design very standard icon images anymore (common symbols representing things like download, delete, edit, copy, arrows, quizzes, videos, play buttons, etc.).
  • What about fancy dropshadows and whatnot? Simply apply CSS styling, my friend
  • Retina display ready

Drawbacks? Everything has drawbacks:

  • The designer pointed out the CSS file size is 21.1kb so technically if you only use it for one or two icons on the page it might not provide much benefit in terms of speed, but the more images you can eliminate with it, the more utility you get from it
  • If you need a fancier UI with a more distinct look, these may not have enough personality for you
  • If that file path breaks, all of those icons break

Well, looks like I went on quite a tangent there. Hope it was interesting. Stay tuned as I’m starting to pick up the app project again and will release some new vocab sets soon.

Want to get in touch? Let's Connect