Social media are versatile communication tools that can effectively help freelance translators and language professionals boost their visibility and authority in the language industry, a vast market which keeps growing every year.
Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn seem to be the most popular platforms used by the translator community. Even if creating an account and start posting content is free of charge, building a reputation over social media will take more than that: in this quick guide, we will give you an easy roadmap that will help you build your communication and network strategy to win the Internet and multiply your reach to potential clients and collaborators.
In today’s digital jungle, visibility can be hard to acquire. It is not about becoming a desperate attention-seeker, rather learning who are the key players you would love to exchange information with and engage in conversation with them.
Start by following a few relevant, high-profile professionals in your field —and avoid self-entitled gurus, as you seek conversations, not monologues.
Find out the specific topics that drive most comments.
Do make some occasional comments, but only when relevant to the topic (again, try to avoid becoming an attention-seeker, as you will be quickly dismissed) and you will soon start exchanging ideas with fellow translators, eventually becoming a familiar name in the circles you have chosen.
Oh, and avoid raising topics that may divide your network in split factions and drive animosity. We’re here to build and grow a solid professional network. Keep the word professional in mind at all times.
Remember that valuable tip you were given on how to handle complex PDF files?
And that great tool you have been using on a daily basis to improve your project tracking system?
That blog post about best practices to manage your social media effectively? ?
Well, don’t keep those treasures for yourself. If these have worked for you, they are most likely going to prove just as useful to your fellow translators, customers, or partners.
The more content and tips you share, the more you will build your name as a go-to professional. Link the information you share with your service portfolio in a subtle way (avoid upfront self-advertising, it does not usually work) and your contacts will quickly connect the dots.
Once you have already built a decent contact network —possibly featuring different roles and profiles within the language industry—, it is time to expand and learn about new topics and players that might be worth your time.
Set aside a few minutes off your schedule to stay up to date on industry news , technologies, trends, events, and persons of interest, then assess whether they are worth your valuable time to develop your network or fields of interest.
Yes, we just mentioned that your contact network should be diverse and bring you the opportunity to learn about the language industry from different angles. However, if you intend to build your authority, you should focus on a rather narrow set of topics and avoid talking about every possible thing on your daily social media interactions.
It is OK to let people know about your personal interests and other side activities, but always keep your core fields of interest on top of your social media profiles.
Developing an effective social media strategy is a long-distance run. Even if your initial strategy proves to be successful, and you effectively gain visibility and authority in your niche or broader industry, you cannot simply rely on the same communication strategies and the same people to ensure your social media status in the future.
Test new types of content: commented news, surveys, requests for help, job postings, funny (yet industry-relevant) content… Some might work better with your audience than others, some will leave people indifferent, but you should try changing your strategy every so often to keep the level of attention towards your account high. Although not too high: don’t become obsessed with social media interactions (you have a business to run, remember?) and read the bonus tip. ?
Yes. Social media are arguably the greatest time stealers since the dawn of civilization. No matter how enticing they may feel, you still need to run a business: planning, translating, managing requests, invoicing… And even if social media will drive business towards you, you need to balance the time you spend on them.
Do not let social media burn most of your working day. How?
- Schedule and allocate a few time slots daily to take care of your social media interactions
- Avoid at all costs having your LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram tabs running in the background while you are at work.
- Likewise, avoid having your phone at all times on your desktop, or at the very least turn off your notifications during working hours.
Your ability to focus and your overall productivity will drastically improve!