What is a freelance translator? Many in the industry think we’re artists, but the ugly truth
is that a translator is a CEO. A business person – with everything this entitles: accounting, office space and supplies management, training, marketing… and client acquisition.
Here’s the challenge: get clients and keep them while fighting in the industry to stand out to be able to do so… and ultimately being found by clients. In the 21st century, what better tool than Internet to serve this purpose? With the Social Media revolution in the Internet marketing world, Web 2.0 generated Marketing 2.0, a powerful tool for any freelance and small business. If they know the rules of the game and have a clear idea in mind of what to expect from these tools.
This is why I felt the need to write this article, the first of a “back to basics” series.
So many freelance translators are still wondering whether they should use Social Media marketing, whether it works…
So many have so high expectations from Social Media marketing that they find themselves bitterly disappointed…
So many just throw themselves in the Social Media jungle without any idea as to which direction they want to go into and without taking some basics (a map, a compass, a bottle of water or whatever) and ultimately don’t really achieve anything concrete and feel it was just a big waste of time (which it probably was).
And of course there are those who never (really) tried it out or just did the bare minimum (like a half-empty profile on LinkedIn, usually with a picture of their dog, and have not logged-in to LinkedIn for so long they forgot their password) who say it did not work out for them and this is all silly and useless.
Step 1 – What do you need/ want?
I think that many professionals throw themselves in there for the wrong reasons, or at least without any clear idea in mind of what they want to achieve and what Social Media marketing can actually do for them – and can’t. Each freelance business is different – a young translator starting out in the industry does not have the same needs and goals at all than a seasoned translator with 30 years experience and a solid and loyal clients base.
So here we go – here’s the big, basic question you should ask yourself: “What do I need?”
Maybe you just want to meet fellow translators and have fun with language buddies from all around the globe?
Maybe you want to stay on top of the industry’s latest news?
Maybe you’d like to start out a new branch of business (say for example you have unique expertise in patents translation, you’re planning to offer training opportunities and you need the exposure to promote it and position yourself in the industry as the patents translation expert)?
Maybe you need to create a team of translators for one of your clients?
Maybe you need more clients?
(You can have more than one need/wish/goal)
Step 2: Know what Social Media Marketing can do for you
First things first: what is Social Media Marketing? On paper, it’s simple: it is one of the many branches of Internet Marketing and it’s the art of using social platforms for marketing purposes.
Here’s what Social Media marketing can do for one’s business:
- Online Reputation building & management
- Visibility & SEO help (“Search Engine Optimization”)
- Direct access to decision-makers
- Networking opportunities with peers and clients (and make some real friendships along the way!)
- Power of mouth-to-ear
- Latest news, tools and trends in the industry
Defining those basics is absolutely vital and we’ll go over these items in more detail to best help you understand what to expect and what is there to gain so you have as many keys as possible to take a decision.
So, stay tuned here for the next post in this “Back to Social Media basics for translators” series as we’ll go in detail over the first item “Online Reputation building & management”.