Social Media Marketing Workshop for translators: thank you!

The 3h online workshop on Social Media Marketing for translators was held yesterday afternoon via the ProZ.com platform.

After a one hour introduction, we dove in the subject and covered LinkedIn most important features and tips, with a strong emphasis on how to make one’s profile SEO-friendly and LinkedIn-search friendly. Twitter was also largely covered during the last hour.
Thank you to all attendees who made this a very lively and interactive course, it was a very nice moment in your company.

You can purchase the integral replay of the workshop (160 min.) here


Upcoming events:

- March 2nd: co-presenter at the BDÜ webinar “Online-Marketing” (German association of interpreters and translators)

- April 28th-29th: I will be talking about Social Media Marketing in the translation industry at The Translation and Localization Conference, Warsaw, Poland

Watch out! A new trend in pharma marketing – GIGO – SEO

In the past few months, we were involved in localizing various websites targeting certain patient populations. These projects were all sponsored/run by big pharma and these websites all claim to provide useful information, e.g. for people interested in participating in clinical studies or supporting patient education on health problems.

After a while it became obvious that most of these websites contain highly SEO optimized content serving only one purpose:  driving traffic to the pharma companies’ websites or their dedicated websites for given products/clinical studies.

Since these sites are extremely SEO optimized, which results in high rankings in the various search tools, they divert traffic from more impartial websites run e.g. by patient organizations.

Some might consider this a highly questionable trend in itself, but this is not my point.

The problem for me lies in the fact that huge parts of these web pages’ content seem to be created by marketing copy writers – it seems they’re given a list of SEO keywords, and they just have to produce page after page after page using these keywords.

Wrong and even dangerous contents

In contrast with what you would expect from a responsible pharma company, nobody seems to check this content, which results in statements such as:

-    The objective in diabetes treatment is to achieve the lowest possible blood glucose level.
This is not only wrong, but also extremely dangerous, as this would cause hypoglycemic coma.

-    The red blood cells transport oxygen to the lungs
This is plain wrong. The red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissue.

-    Hemoglobin transports the carbon dioxide to the lungs
I consider this statement as being incorrect too, since only 5-10 percent of the carbon dioxide is transported by hemoglobin.

These examples have been edited so that you can’t identify the respective websites, but their aim is to help you understand my point that these websites don’t even get the most basic medical facts right. Looking at more complex content, e. g. relating to cancer treatment, the situation isn’t any better.

Localization requires more than just translating contents

Another aspect of these websites solely created for SEO purposes, is that they really don’t care about the reader. Quite often you will find that:
-    the only contact option they offer is a toll free phone number in the US (on the localized pages) which you can’t even contact from abroad,
-    they only provide links to English sources such as patient organizations
-    there are no literature references in the target languages.

What this means to the translation industry

As a language service provider, our role is to raise these issues with clients. We should not contribute to multiplying wrong or even dangerous content by translating it. We should also stress the fact that localization requires more than just translating the content.
By doing this we will not only help our clients by preventing costly legal actions if somebody gets harmed after following wrong instructions and by raising the quality of the content and giving the websites a more professional image. Badly localized websites also damage the reputation of our own industry, as many readers might believe it was the translator who introduced these errors.

Social Media Marketing workshop for translators: 1 week left!

Just a quick reminder : my upcoming 3h online workshop on Social Media Marketing for translators is happening next Thursday and there are today only 4 seats left!

Given the restricted number of participants and the fact that we’ll have 3 hours, we’ll be able to customize the course to each attendee as much as possible and it will be highly interactive and participative – no traditional webinar with just 15 minutes Q/A at the end.

The course costs 77€, a bargain for such a hands-on 3h workshop.

So grab your seat now before it’s too late!
Registration and course description

Social Media Marketing for translators – Part 3: Online visibility & Search Engine Optimization

This article is chapter 3 of the series “Social Media Marketing for translators, back to the basics”, by Anne Diamantidis

Part 1: Back to the basics & Introduction
Part 2:  Online Reputation & credibility


Welcome back! Today we’ll be talking about the basics of Social Media as an online visibility and SEO tool for the marketing of a freelance translator.

Everything you do on social sites has this ultimate goal, the Holy Grail: online visibility boost! This is the whole point of the Internet marketing game.  And what is this goal about, ultimately? It’s about being found before the competition.

Many translators ask “How can I use Social Media for SEO?” Thing is, most of us take the question from the wrong end. Social Media is not SEO, Social Media is a SEO tool. Probably one of the most important and powerful ones, but it’s just another tool.

The three basic SEO elements

The art of SEO is about optimizing your online presence in order to rank higher in search engines (Google, Bing , Yahoo…) when a given research is done on those search engines. They use complex algorithms for their rankings and I won’t bore you with technical details but here are, basically, the three fundamentals elements you need to take into account for SEO :  keywords, traffic and activity level.

Keywords: identify what keywords a potential client would use to search you, and use these keywords in your website and online profiles (LinkedIn, Xing, ProZ.com, TranslatorsCafé, etc.) etc.

- Traffic: the more traffic a given page gets, the higher Google ranks it. So far, so good.

- Activity: a profile / page that gets regularly updated keeps its current Google rank. Google will detect if it has been inactive for a few weeks and will immediately throw it way back in the search results.

How does Social Media help?

Social Media can become your best SEO ally.
First, the biggest Social and Networking sites already have a very high Google ranking. For example, Facebook is the second most visited website worldwide after Google according to Alexa due to its massive daily traffic – so a Facebook Profile or Page automatically gets a very high Google ranking from the start. This applies to LinkedIn and Twitter as well, it obviously applies to Google+ for Google ranking optimization only – since it’s a Google product. That works for Xing, Viadeo, ProZ.com, TranslatorsCafé and others as well. So, just having a profile on high-ranked sites already boosts your ranking and increases your online visibility - but that is not enough.

Another aspect, often underestimated, is the traffic generated by Social Media – remember that the more traffic a Web page gets, the higher it ranks in a search.

What are keywords and how to use them?

Your various profiles across social & networking sites must be what we call “SEO-friendly”, that is filled with your keywords (translator/interpreter/localizer, languages, specialty, etc.). Basically, the more you repeat a keyword, the more you increase your search engine ranking.

Everything that makes you different from the competition is a keyword and should be there. Those of you whose headline on LinkedIn says “Freelance translator” or “Specialized Freelance Translator”, raise your hands! There. Guys, that headline is not SEO optimized at all. You are so much more than just a “freelance translator”, each translator has unique skills and is different from the next. So say it! Use your online profiles to tell what makes you different: languages, background, field of expertise, specialty, etc. Remember that the goal is to be found, so enter all your keywords on your online business profiles for Google to rank you on Page 1 in search results. Because, who goes beyond page 2 when doing a Google search? I rarely do. Page 3? Forget it.

Let’s take LinkedIn for example: don’t be afraid to put that you are a “French to German legal translator with 25 years experience as an lawyer” in your headline, and write it again in your “Summary” section and then again in your “Specialties” and/or “Skills” and obvisouly in the job descripion of your current Job “French to German legal Translator”. That’s the idea!

Your updates should also be SEO friendly – your Tweets, Status updates or any content you share on Social platforms should also contain your keywords as much as possible.

So you’re a technical translator and localizer specialized in IT? Make sure you have a fair amount of tweets, LinkedIn status updates, etc. related to IT (share articles, tech news, etc.) – in English and in all your working languages. Well yes – if you are, say, an Italian to German IT translator, your clients can be both agencies in Germany and in Italy.

Last tip but certainly not the least: don’t make your updates private, and this applies particularly to Twitter; what’s the point of having a profile on Twitter that you are using to interact with fellow translators (so, not so much of a personal profile), if you hide your tweets from people who are not following you? Private tweets are not indexed by search engines. (See one of my previous articles here)

Conclusion

- Identify your keywords and the keywords an agency could use to find you on in Google search – and do the search yourself! See where you appear, or if you appear at all. If you don’t, then you need to update those keywords quickly!
- Monitor your keywords by checking out which onesyour competitors are using.
- Make all your online profiles SEO-friendly by adding all your keywords, and repeat them when possible. If you have a website, do the same – the more keywords, the better.
Note that Google can take up to a few days to update after you update keywords.
- Don’t forget to use your contents to boost your ranking and visibility.

My best advice is that you do a Google search with your keywords once every two weeks to see where you and your competitors rank. Your SEO strategy should not be inactive – if you constantly feel that you need to adap and make changes to your keywords, then it’s a good sign – do it!


See Part 4 of “Social Media Marketing for Translators, back to the basics” on Power Networking!
All your comments, suggestions, thoughts are more than welcome, so go for it!

Social Media Marketing for translators – Part 2: Online reputation & credibility

This article is chapter 2 of the series “Social Media Marketing for translators, back to the basics”.

Part 1: Back to the basics & Introduction

Part 3: Online visibilty & Search Engine Optimization  


Welcome back! As promised in the previous chapter, today we’ll go over Social Media and online reputation building, management /online credibility.

Online reputation & credibility: overview

At a glance, here’s the Wikipedia definition of the term Online reputation management:
Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility. (For the small talk – Ebay were actually the ones who started the concept with their online rating system for vendors and buyers)

The definition above obviously works both ways – that is you can build your own reputation and managing it yourself, and Social Media allows you just to do that.

The purpose? Creating yourself a reputation and a credibility. Everything you publish, write, say, post on the Internet can be found by anyone if you wish so. This is an extremely powerful way of positioning you in whatever segment you want in the translation industry, to colleagues and potential clients. It’s your chance of showing the world what you can do, who you are, and establishing you as an expert in a given topic or field, as the professional to go to for that topic / field. Be it your actual translation specialty field, or any other activity – linguistic coaching, business skills training, etc. etc.
And here comes Social Media on stage – as an additional online reputation management tool: it allows this reputation building to be achieved bullet fast – within a couple months, if you work on it consistently and with regularity.

Some obvious tools for reputation management are LinkedIn and Xing recommendations, retweets and engagement on Twitter, shares and Likes on Facebook, +’s on Google +, and not to mention the recommendation systems on translation portals, like ProZ.com’s WWA and LWA features.

The other side of the coin

The coin does have another side, though. While Social Media is this powerful way of helping you build you a reputation and a credibility, it’s as powerful a way of destroying them, just as quickly!

Remember, you’re a freelance translator: you’re a CEO. You’re a business person. So many in the industry complain that our profession is not taken seriously, they feel undervalued, not recognized… But if we don’t take ourselves seriously for a start and do brand ourselves in a fully inappropriate way, what can we expect?

You’d be surprised at how many translators lose potential clients everyday without knowing it, just because of what they post on online forums or groups or write in their blogs. While they may be excellent translators, while checking them, PMs read stuff that really does not show the translator under his/her best light… and just moves on to the next candidate.

Sharing: use your common sense

So be very careful what you do and write. It’s like being constantly on the edge – and if you feel that you’re on the edge, it’s perfectly normal. My best advice is to use your common sense. It’s your best ally!

In short, don’t behave online in a way you never would in real life when meeting a prospect client or partner. Just don’t write things you’d never say while networking at a professional industry event. And in doubt, refrain from posting. Better safe than sorry!

Keep your political and religious opinions to yourself, and whatever opinions or ideas you know don’t belong in a business interaction and a marketing context.

Likewise, and I’m going to put this “brutally” – do you really think sharing your family barbecue pictures, your Foursquare check-ins or your workouts statistics on social platforms via sport applications, like “I burnt 400 calories by running 4 km, yay!” (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – or worse, cross-posting to all three together), is relevant to your professional contacts? Not only are you spamming their news feeds or timelines and this is extremely annoying, but A. they could not care less and B. you’re giving a really wrong image of yourself – and run the ultimate risk: that they unfollow you, remove you from their contacts or unsuscribe from your updates. Then you’re done – good luck getting them back.

Do you really want an agency PM you never met to see pictures of you last summer, in a swimming suit, with a beer in your hand or whatever? I have hundreds of juicy examples, but I think my point is clear. Here’s my favourite, though: a translator I met at a conference back in 2009 is in my Facebook contacts, like many. I was slowly getting annoyed by seeing self-portraits of her in front of a plate of spaghettis, in front of a glass, in front of an ice-cream, etc. everytime I would open my Facebook. Until the day she took a picture of herself naked in her bathroom mirror (from behind, gentlemen! ;) ) to show the positive effects of the gym on her behind. She posted that picture on Facebook with the comment “Check that bum out, Pilates is really working!” Well. I’m glad that Pilates seems to be working for her, but I really could not care less and as a PM, I really don’t need to see my translators’ behinds. Why am I even seeing this? She probably meant to share that with her buddies and family but did not even take the time to use Facebook’s awesome privacy features allowing you to choose who sees what for each single thing you post. Needless to say, I removed her from my contacts and she lost any chance of getting any project at all from us…

Personal vs. Professional

I’m not at all against sharing, quite the contrary. Just saying: share wisely and with the relevant people. What’s personal shall be shared only with personal contacts on suited platforms .

Best advice I can give you if (and when) you also use Social Media for keeping in touch with friends, buddies and family is following:

  • LinkedIn, Xing, translation networks, all pure business networking sites:  personal stuff has nothing to do in here so that’s settled.
  • Facebook: Facebook’s privacy settings are really complete and perfect – and they made them simpler a few weeks ago, so you have no excuse! You can organize your contacts in groups and choose default settings for each group. You can choose exactly who sees what.
  • Twitter: the ideal is to maintain 2 separate accounts as there’s no way to make a given Tweet visible only to certain people. It’s all public. So one professional account, where you follow and are followed only by business contacts, colleagues, peers, partners. And one personal account, under a pseudonym. Why a pseudonym? It gives you the freedom to follow whoever you want, share and say whatever you want. If a client/employer searches your name on Google, this Twitter account will not appear in the search results.
  • Google +: Its “Circles” features allows you to do just the same than Facebook groups – you are in control of who sees what.

Mind your profiles picture(s)

A vital and underestimated element in reputation management and giving a professional image are profiles pictures – I know this has been said and repeated over and over again, but don’t put a picture of your last vacations, your dog, your wedding, your kids, your hamster, your Grandmother, or you at a bar with sunglasses and a cigarette. Don’t use some sort of animated cartoon.
Likewise, and I’m dead serious: don’t put a photo of your ultrasound  (or your wife’s). Seriously, congrats on the pregnancy, and we all understand that you are so filled with thrill you want to share it with the entire world and scream in joy, but is this appropriate? Would you put that photo on your business card? Do you really, deeply, seriously think that you’ll get any job from an agency when they interact with … your womb (or your wife’s)?

Don’t laugh! I’ve seen such profile pictures on a business platform… The photo(s) you’ll use in your various online professional profiles will be the image of your brand accross the Web. It’s the first thing people see wen they come to your profiles, and that photo will be “branded” in your followers and contacts’ minds, so you have to take extra care of it. Use a professional photo, take the time and the extra money to go to a photographer’s studio.

Recommendations & Endorsements

Last but certainly not least, be careful with the recommendations displayed in your LinkedIn profiles. While they are a really great way of establishing your credibility as a professional, they can destroy it just as well – I invite you to read one of my previous articles on that: “The tricky question of LinekdIn recommendations“.

Conclusion

The best tip I can give you is, whenever you are about to post something, ask yourself “Is this suitable for public view everywhere on the Internet?” “Who do I want to see this / not see this?”
Finally – you want to be taken seriously? Then give a professional image of yourself online. Your best allies to achieve this are Social sites and Networking sites… and your common sense. So, use them!


Stay tuned for Part 3 on Search Engine Optimization and Visiblity!
All your comments, suggestions, thoughts are more than welcome, so go for it!