Translators, whether they like it or not (and whether they’re aware of it or not), are also business people.
Regardless of translating and accounting, when it comes to marketing, well… they have to do all of it on their own – find clients by themselves, fight in the jungle out there to stand out in the translation industry. With the social networks storm in the already fast changing Internet marketing world, everything is spinning and constantly on the move.
I still read on various translations groups/platforms about translators wondering whether they should use social media for their marketing. While my personal opinion is that this question is long obsolete and that these translators are already 2 years behind the competition, it is still not too late to jump in the fast moving train. Many translators simply do not like change but be it CAT-Tools or Machine Translation, change is happening in our industry. And when it comes to Social Media marketing for businesses, change is happening anyway, regardless of industries. Don’t bury your head in the sand, don’t be scared, stop pretending it’s not happening – because, hey, it’s happening. Investing in Social Media is a business decision that needs to be taken into account in your overall marketing strategy thinking. Either you decide you won’t use these tools, or you do. It’s as plain as that.
In my opinion, not using these tools is a pity. Why? Let’s see. They allow you to:
- identify new potential clients/prospects, but also colleagues for potential collaboration;
- know when agencies are calling for translators, in which areas, language pairs, etc.
- create inbound leads generation (i.e. the potential client/partner finds you, you dont have to go look for them);
- create brand awareness online, be it among your peers, industry, prospects;
- gain credibility by positioning you as an expert, as the professional to go to;
- gain valuable insight and data on what’s going on in your industry, what the competition does and what you should be doing, what your clients are looking for;
- the vast majority of these tools are free to use (or at least features of most non-paying accounts on these sites allow you do to all this).
Now this all seems lovely and beautiful – and it truly is, because how many other tools do you know that can be do all of this at once for you? – but the big question behind it is: can I really do all the above at a low-cost?
No. Sadly – and frankly! – the answer is no. Implementing a successful social media strategy (where you get most of the benefits listed above, if not all) takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. And time is money. This is all time and energy you will not be spending translating, which is actually your core-making activity. Social Media marketing is an investment, a business investment, which is why it needs to be carefully decided, planned and prepared. And maintained.
Don’t think you will get clients directly through social media. Translation is not a retail, food or consumers’ goods industry. I’m taking this example because those industries can directly reach to their consumers via social media. Guess who those consumers are? Us. You, me, your neighbour. Everybody needs food, clothes and various household appliances/goods. So it’s kind of easy for those industries to implement a social media strategy to reach out to their target – masses – (they have other challenges in the social media jungle but that’s off-topic) and furthermore, most of them can actually afford paying one (if not more) staff members doing full time social media for them (so-called Social Media Managers).
That’s another story for a freelance translator. Stop believing that by just having a profile somewhere, clients will flow. Stop thinking you’ll get clients via social media. This is not what those sites can do for you and this is not what you should expect from them. They won’t bring you much until you decide to invest in them.
Now I can see you wondering “OK, what can they do for me then?” and “How can I invest in them?” Well, then I suggest you check out my upcoming webinar on the topic on September 16th – click here.
See you then!