Internet Marketing for Translators: Websites, blogs, profiles

An absolute basic in Internet Marketing is having a website, a blog or at least a public page on the Web used as a shop window of your services and a place you can refer all of your visitors to (a ProZ.com profile, for example). Of course this is not an absolute must, but it’s somewhat trickier if you don’t have one.

  • WEBSITE

A good website starts with a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface. Potential clients ending up on your website should quickly and easily be able to find all the basic information they need about you as a translator, your language pairs, services, areas of specialization, etc. The goal is for them to find all this information in less than 30 seconds and to want to know more, so that they stay on your website and visit its other pages to find out more. You must help them do so with a clean and logical structure to navigate this other information. The site shouldn’t be too loaded down  – even though connections are much faster nowadays, the global average remains slower, so do not include too many heavy images and plug-ins – your site should load quickly. Also, mind your writing – go easy on the colors and avoid WRITING IN CAPITAL LETTERS…

A frequently heard question is whether you should localize your website. Easy answer: yes, I personally think you should, in all your working languages because 1) it’s just perfect for your SEO, 2) it is also an elegant way of showing off your language skills and 3) it might help you get clients from your source language countries.

Keep it up-to-date – regularly doing so helps your Google ranking and makes a much better impression than a website that has obviously been “left to rot” for the past four years. This particularly applies to links – make sure they all work, maintain them, and update them.

Further reads and links on website optimization:
Top 10 Tips to a Great Web Page
10 tips – how to build a good website – Cordis
10 Most Important Web Design Tips
30 Tips for a Good Website
Beginner Tip: 5 Steps To A Great Home Page
What Is on Your Business Website That Shouldn’t Be?

Last but not least, ideally seek the help and guidance of a professional to (re)create your website. I can highly recommend the services of Websites for Translators.

  • PROFESSIONAL ONLINE PROFILES

The good news is that there are plenty of business networking platforms on the Web where your profiles can stand out, show a complete overview of your services and therefore play the role of a website.

ProZ.com

I know a lot of freelance translators who use their ProZ.com profile as their website. And why not? It’s public, so no need to log in to see the profile (like on Viadeo or Xing), it has a very high Google ranking and it is actually meant and designed for translators and for our industry. A well-done and full ProZ.com profile can be a great complete shop-window online, so go for it.

Some resources on profile completion and optimization:
Getting the most out of your ProZ.com profile
Profile completion 2.0
ProZ.com profile: Creating a standout “About me”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is THE global business network. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. Sure, it may not be designed specifically for our industry but it offers tools and possibilities that we can use just as well as any other industry – tools and possibilities that really are very powerful. LinkedIn not only has an excellent Google ranking, it also gives us the chance to reach out to other professionals, within the translation world (not everybody is on ProZ.com or TranslatorsCafé) but also outside of it. Through LinkedIn you really can meet potential clients (including end-clients), and network with people who may need your services and who may partner with you. LinkedIn Groups are an extremely practical and powerful networking tool, as are Questions/Answers and similar features. Your LinkedIn profile has great shop-window potential if it is complete and optimized.

Some resources:
6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn Profile Tips: The 10 Mistakes You Want to Avoid and Why

Check out this upcoming webinar (Oct 24th): “Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile” (hurry, seats are selling fast)

Xing 

People ask a lot about Xing during workshops and webinars. To be honest, Xing is useless unless you’re doing business with German clients since they still widely use this network. However, recent LinkedIn stats showed that it was slowly gaining a lot of German users, so my guess is that Xing will slowly decay. It still remains a solid platform however, and having an additional profile there as “just another static page”; presenting your services never hurts and is good for your SEO. Simply make sure the profile is accurate, up-to-date and SEO-friendly but I would not invest time and money in it anymore.

Viadeo

Viadeo is even more useless, unless you do business with France. For some reason I can’t quite understand, French people registered there en masse;  like Xing contains mostly German users, Viadeo contains mostly French people. The problem is that nobody else visits this platfrom (I know, I’m simplifying) and Viadeo profiles cannot be seen unless you’re a registered user (which is extremely annoying when you’re Googling someone and the only online business profile available is their Viadeo profile). As is also the case with Xing, it does not hurt to have that additional result showing up in a Google search (Viadeo has a good Google ranking) so why not take one hour to create another static page briefly summarizing your services and offerings? However, do not spend too much time on it either. Remember that even static profiles have to be updated as needed.

Facebook

Facebook is a tricky case. You don’t have to use it as a marketing tool – it is meant to connect with your personal contacts (family and friends). However,Facebook marketing has proved how useful and powerful it could be, particularly for B2C businesses. This is not our case in the translation industry but still, there are agencies using their profiles or pages to post jobs or call for translators, colleagues sharing job posts, etc. You need to make a decision: do you want to use Facebook for marketing or keep it for private use only? If you decide to use Facebook for personal purposes only, make sure your profile and all its content are private and not available for the whole Web to see. However, if you’re considering Facebook marketing, the first question you should ask yourself is: page or profile? My take is that Profiles are the ideal solution for freelance translators. It allows you to “Friend” agency profiles, it suits you better than a page and – very important – it does not require the same amount of time to maintain as a page. A page needs to be alive, to be regularly updated, to post content in a consistent manner. It is a lot of work.

So, Facebook marketing with a profile: either you use your existing personal profile and use Friends Lists to make sure business contacts you are friends with only see what you want them to see, or you simply create a second profile for professional purposes only and therefore maintain a clean separation between your personal and business lives (this one can be public and indexed by Google).

Twitter

Your Twitter profile is a particular case in this context: you don’t want it to be the page you refer all your visitors to. There’s simply too little space and flexibility there to make it a true shop-window of you, your skills, services, expertise, etc.

Google+

A Google+ profile/page could be an interesting shop-window strategy because of the Google ranking; however, I do not recommend making it the page you refer visitors to – there is not enough there to make it a true and good shop-window. As an additional place from which to refer people to your main page/profile/blog/website however, it is a great tool.

  • BLOG

Many of you often ask: “Is a blog a must?” No, it isn’t. The truth is, it’s better not to have a blog than to have one you don’t have time to maintain – not having a blog does not impact your online presence negatively, but having a dead one that’s been abandoned for 11 months after only three posts does. That being said, a blog remains a very intelligent strategic move in an Internet marketing strategy. You don’t need to post everyday – you just need to be consistent. This means that if you decide to write a new article every month, that’s great, but if you say it, stick to it – people who follow your blog should know they can expect news from you once a month (at the beginning or end of the month).

Once you’ve made the decision to start a blog and have defined a posting schedule, the big issue now is content. On an almost daily basis, translators ask me “what should I write about?”. I can’t answer this question for you, but I can give you some general tips on directions to take.

You first need to define/decide what your goal is with a blog – here are just a few examples:

- sharing and expressing your views and opinions on industry politics/developments?

- offering reviews of new tools (those related to the industry as well as those not directly related) – CAT tools, MT solutions, TM tools, etc.?

- showing your expertise in a given field/topic as part of your marketing strategy (e.g. you are a legal translator so your blog will primarily deal with legal matters)

The good news is that you can elect to apply more than just one of the above; you do not need to limit yourself to just one direction.

Your blog may be used as a website if the platform used is flexible and scalable enough to allow for clean and clear structure and different pages (like WordPress). By all means, a blog is definitely one of the greatest and most powerful Internet marketing tools.

New series of webinars – autumn 2012

I’m happy to announce the freshly baked new webinars for translators for this upcoming second semester of 2012!

October 24th, 2012: Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is now the most powerful ally of freelance businesses in general – it is an amazing shop-window. But how to sell yourself there? How to make that shop-window attractive so that potential clients and partners look at it and open the door to the shop? Your LinkedIn profile is where it all begins and in the web 2.0 era where everything goes so quickly online, you only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention. Get some keys in this webinar to boost your LinkedIn profile and mak it one of your best online shop-windows!

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 7th, 2012: Social SEO basics for translators

In the jungle of Web marketing today, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become a must when doing business via the Internet. SEO is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” – or un-paid, search results”. In other words, as a freelancer, how can you make your potential clients find you before they find your competition on a Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. search? By making sure to rank among top results in given searches.
Social SEO is the art of using social platforms and social media to help boosting your Google ranking. Without entering into too technical considerations (we are not all Web developers!), this webinar will cover the basics of social SEO for freelancers.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 21, 2012: Social Media Marketing for translators 2012: a must or a should?

An overview of the state of Social Media Marketing in 2012 in / for the translation industry and keys for attendees to take a better enlightened business decision: investing in Social media Marketing or not.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


Remember that on-demand replays of some of my previous training courses for translators are still available as follows:

Social Media Marketing for translators: Do’s and Don’ts
view course feedback
watch video

Why you should seriously consider Google+ and Facebook marketing
view course feedback
watch video

Boost your use of Twitter
view course feedback
watch video

LinkedIn good practices for translators
view course feedback

watch video

Workshop: Harness Social Media Marketing for your business (160 minutes)
view course feedback
watch video

How (not) to contact a translation company

This article has been at the back of my mind for ages and at the bottom of the articles priority list, but after receiving the same email from the same translator eight times since 9:00 this morning (it’s 1 p.m. now, just to give you an idea) and though I know it will not stop those translators who have been spamming us for months (yes, spamming), I feel it needs to be written – some may find it basic and I apologize in advance to them, but it seems it’s not that basic for many.

So here we go. Of course it is perfectly normal for translators to send their CVs to agencies, to get known, to say “Hey guys, I exist” in an industry where gaining visibility is anything but easy. We receive about two to three spontaneous applications per day, and sometimes a true gem may be found among them, someone who becomes one of “our” translators. By no means do we want to stop receiving applications, quite the contrary. So, just to be clear, I am not questioning the “why” of applications here; we are on your side. But what matters is the “how” – and here, take our word for it, is where many translators get it wrong.

When agencies don’t answer, most translators think it is because we are drowning in applications every day. I’m talking here about spontaneous applications. For most of the smaller, specialized agencies, like us, three unsolicited applications on average per day is not exactly ‘drowning’ and we at GxP do actually take the time to read every single one of them. However, when the application is clearly sent via a mass-mailing system and the contents do not match our needs at all, why should we reply? It feels like being spammed with something we don’t need.

So here’s tip 1: don’t send out mass-mailings to agencies. You’re just spamming them when doing so – at least that’s how it may feel for them.

Logically, the second tip is to personalize the email as much as you can. I always reply to applications starting with “Dear [title plus last name or first name]“, even if the translator applying does not match our needs at all. After all, it’s only normal to reply to someone who took the time to research the company, who we are, our names, etc. Starting an email with things like ” Dear Sirs”, “Dear Mrs or Miss” etc. is, um, off-putting. If you can’t find the name of the person who is going to receive your email, then be creative, something like “Dear [Agency name] Team” for example – something nice, warm and attention-getting. Personally, I’m much more likely to read until the end of an email starting with “Dear GxP Team” rather than one starting with “Dear Sir or Madam”.

So, tip 2: personalize the email as much as you can, which means doing a minimum of research about the agency.

Which brings me to the third point: also research what the agency does. If an agency clearly states on their website, ProZ profile, etc., that they are doing only medical translations and you are specialized in architecture and household appliances, applying is probably a waste of your time – and theirs. Even worse, it shows you did not research the agency at all and if they ever coincidentally get a job from an end-client that fits your areas (you never know, a medical devices company might need a different text translated), they might not contact you because you will be remembered as a “spammer”. So, take the extra few minutes to research what exactly the agency does.

Of course a medical translation agency does not only need medical translators. Sometimes, their own clients need a contract translated, user manuals, etc. Use your best judgment; if there’s a link, even small, between your area of expertise and theirs, it may be worth a shot to apply. If you do, be sure to phrase it this way, for example: “I see you work in the medical field – I myself am a legal translator, but if your clients ever need agreements/contracts translated, feel free to contact me…” etc.

Tip 3: research the working fields and areas the agency works in and trust your common sense : if your fields have nothing to do with theirs, applying may be a waste of time. Ask yourself whether your expertise may still be useful to them (e.g., medical instruments manufacturing companies still need contracts, user manuals, marketing brochures, annual financial reports, etc. to be translated). If this is the case, say so in the application email to show you have done your homework, that you are aware your fields are not entirely compatible but that they might need you sooner or later.

Next is the content of the actual email. Don’t recite your CV; remember, you’re enclosing it. Keep the email short and to the point, you want to make the PM curious enough about you to want to open your CV attachment. So, if you’re applying to a legal translation company and you’re a former lawyer, then that info is the only thing you need to put in the email. Ditto if you weren’t a lawyer in a former life, but already have some large or highly specialized projects behind you – put the most mouth-watering ones in the body of the email. In short, what makes you different from another translator?  The same goes for your language pairs – where you learned English is irrelevant (“I spent 2 years as an au pair in London when I was 18″), but your working pairs should be right there – personally, it’s very annoying having to search everywhere in the email and the CV to find a translator’s language pairs. They are the first elements that differentiate you from other translators, so highlight them.

So, tip 4: Keep the email short and simple, but to the point. The basic, yet important facts about you as a translator should be right there: language pairs, specialties and experience in these fields. No need for a long list of past projects in the email; this is what your CV is for. Just include the most “mouthwatering” experience you have. Remember, what you want is to capture the attention of the PM reading your email, so that they want to learn more about you and open your CV. The first few seconds after they open your email are the most important: this is when they decide if they want to know more.

Last but not least: don’t spam. If an agency doesn’t reply, it’s pointless to send the same copy-paste email over and over and over again (even more so if they have actually replied at one point). Pointless and extremely annoying. And copy-pasting the entire email you sent and putting it in a LinkedIn invitation is even more annoying. If you want to connect on LinkedIn or other sites with the PM you already contacted, don’t copy-paste the email you already sent to that person. Keep the invitation text simple, it’s an opportunity for you to remind them that you exist: “Hi, I contacted you a while ago about my translation services. I’d like to connect with you here as well and look forward to having you in my professional network”. You’re trying to get the person to be interested in your services, so don’t do it online using an approach you wouldn’t use if you had met that person in the flesh at a translation conference.

Tip 5: Keep a clean and up-to-date list of your prospects in which you enter whom you have contacted and when, whether they replied, and what the reply was. Send a follow-up email every six months for example, in the event you don’t receive a reply, but make sure it’s a different email (“I was wondering if you had received my email from last January in which I offered my translation services”). Don’t resend the exact same text you have already sent – and the same goes for social network invitations.


On the topic of translators’ CVs, I can only recommend these two very useful resources from my friend Marta Stelmaszak from Wantwords (she’s the expert for translators’ CVs!):
CVs and Cover Letters that Work (Webinar replay)
Download her e-book: How to write a translator’s CV

Barcelona conference presentation – Social Media Marketing for translators : why, what, how…

Last weekend I attended the ProZ.com International Conference 2012 in Barcelona. It was really fantastic seeing old friends again and making new ones, and to finally have a chance to see some of the wonders the city of Barcelona has to offer.

The conference was also the opportunity to give my presentation on social media marketing and online reputation – 1 hour is terribly short to cover the topic, but some basics were thrown at the audience and hopefully all attendees got something to chew on. The purpose, as outlined in the introduction, is not to make anyone a Social Media expert (and in an hour, that’s impossible), but rather to help translators in the decision-making of investing in that marketing strategy – or not – by giving them as many elements, pros and cons as possible to help them decide whether it’s something their own business could use/need  - and of course, for those who decide it may be something for them, make them curious to find out more and take the next step.

The presentation felt relaxed and was quite interactive. I don’t like to push the Q/A at the very end, attendees can just interrupt me if they want to rebounce on something I just said. IMO it is simply more comfortable and informal that way. Hopefully people feel this as well, because it not only creates a relaxed atmosphere, but it also makes the presentation more lively and ultimately (hopefully) fun. And well, egoistically, I have to admit it’s much more fun for me as  it makes each presentation different from the previous one and the audience has often really interesting, original and unexpected questions, comments or experiences to share. So, no routine. As always, I wish it could have gone on for another 3 hours – and hope attendees do as well!  ;)

A really big thank you to all of you for our attention and patience, I hope you all left the room with a clearer idea of this wide Internet marketing world and some (more) elements at hands to make your decision – if that’s the case, then I did the job in Barcelona (if that’s not the case, feel free to contact me via e-mail and shout at me ;))

An interesting thing happened during the session and in the plane back from Barcelona – or at least I consider those thoughts interesting. It occured to me that, compared to a year ago, I was focusing less on actual Social Media and always more on SEO, online reputation / online presence – that was the case at the Germersheim University a few weeks ago when I gave that same presentation and, to an extent, at the conference in Warsaw in April. This is definitely material for a future article (and sooner than later), but for the past 3-4 months, it seems social networks themselves are loosing the importance they had a year ago in online marketing – they are still important, no questioning that, but SEO and online image in general seem to grow more and more important. Social sites actually always were SEO and online reputation tools but this was maybe not always clear, or hidden behind the WOW factor of social sites. I have this feeling that perspectives are changing – client don’t ask “How can I be on Facebook for my business?” anymore because it’s Facebook and it’s hype. They ask today “Why would I be on Facebook for my business?”.

Interesting shift in perspectives here – but again, this is material for a future article.

In the meantime a big thank you to Patricia for the organization of this great conference, and a big thank you to all – it was simply fantastic being there with all of you. See you next year at the Porto 2013 Conference!

conhIT Berlin 2012: Europe’s leading industry event for healthcare IT now even bigger

We were in Berlin these past few days to attend the conhIT 2012 Trade Show. It was a very interesting event that allowed us to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the Healthcare IT industry, strenghten existing contacts and make new ones (it was also a great opportunity to (re)discover the city of Berlin and we were extremely lucky with the weather!

A 20 per cent rise in trade visitors, a 12 per cent increase in exhibitors and two fully booked exhibition halls: those are the preliminary results of this year’s conhIT – Connecting Healthcare IT, which closed its doors on Thursday in Berlin. More than 5,357 trade visitors from 46 countries, including high-ranking delegations from Europe, Saudi Arabia and Korea, came to conhIT to find out about the latest developments in Healthcare IT. The Industrial Fair, Congress, Academy and Networking Events all gave exhibitors and visitors daily opportunities to exchange views, broaden their knowledge and put forward their own topics.

“The exhibition halls and Congress rooms were filled to capacity on all three days of the event and the mood among exhibitors and visitors was very positive“, said Bernhard Calmer, Chairman of the Board of bvitg – German Association of Healthcare IT Vendors e.V., which five years ago founded conhIT. “The number of events over the three days was impressive. Whether at the Industrial Fair, the Congress, Academy, Innovation Forums or on the themed tours and hospital excursions – all the events were very well received. The level of political interest and involvement has also increased.”

Representing Messe Berlin – the organisers of conhIT – project manager Ursula Baumann
added: “It is nice to receive so many positive comments from exhibitors and visitors. The significant rise in numbers from abroad, in terms of both visitors and companies, shows how important this event is to the industry.” The share of visitors from abroad rose by 15 per cent, doubling last year’s figure.

For gmds e.V. and BVMI e.V., the partners of conhIT, the event was also a resounding success.

“This year’s conhIT fulfilled our high expectations“, said a satisfied Dr. Carl Dujat, president of BVMI e.V. “The unique overall concept of this integrated industry event proved to be right and many individual meetings with visitors, exhibitors and organisers confirmed this. conhIT has finally come of age and established itself as the leading Healthcare IT event. That is an outstanding success.”

That impression was echoed by Prof. Dr. Peter Haas of gmds, president of the conhIT Congress: “With this year’s programme we were able to address all the target audiences and organise a Congress that focused on all the important topics in healthcare IT.“

“conhIT has grown to an impressive size. The only way it can still expand is by attracting new audiences and greater numbers from abroad“, added Prof. Dr. Paul Schmücker, 1st vice-president, gmds e.V. ”Events such as the career workshop, the job exchange and the get-together with students, young professionals and exhibitors were all very well received. One of the highlights was the presentation of the conhIT award for young professionals for the best diploma presenting practical ideas.“

bvitg e.V. and FÜRS LEBEN, a trust managed by Deutsche Stiftung Organtransplantation (DSO), took the opportunity at conhIT 2012 to provide information on donating organs. Every visitor receiving a ticket was also given an organ donor pass. The DSO provided information at its stand and talked about the trust’s new app at a panel discussion. “It is essential for us to have modern and reliable information technology“, said Prof. Dr. med. Günter Kirste , medical chairman of Deutsche Stiftung Organtransplantation. “We need it to ensure the successful and smooth coordination of organ donations and to maintain a permanent dialogue with hospitals.“ In the opinion of bvitg, one way to streamline the exchange of information would be to make an organ donor pass part of the electronic health card.

The next conhIT will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from 9 to 11 April 2013.

Source: conhIT website, Press section, Press releases – conhIT 2012 Closing report, 2012/04/27. Original press release here.

Facebook versus… Facebook

Facebook marketing is a tricky one and my general position is that it makes little sense for  freelance translators to throw themselves actively into it. It is a powerful tool however and having a profile there to connect with those translation agencies that use it to post jobs and call for translators completely makes sense on the other hand. So yes, when it comes to your client acquisition strategy, you can perfectly integrate Facebook to it, in a “passive” way (in other words keeping an eye on potential clients and following what they post in case they post a job that’s in your area of expertise).

However, using Facebook passively for marketing purposes does not mean that you should lower your guard when it comes to what you share. Facebook remains a personal social network – i.e. its core purpose is to help you connect and keep in touch with people you know in real-life, people from your private sphere (family, school friends, university buddies, colleagues you became friendly with, etc.) – and its netiquette is quite clear on that: you should only invite as “Friends” those peope you know “outside of Facebook”. Point is, Facebook was never intended to be a business network. And it’s not – there’s LinkedIn for that, for example. Facebook just happens to have amazing business networking potential and marketing power – and we should use it. It’s okay. But keeping in mind the primary use and spirit of Facebook, it’s a bit tricky to behave there the way you do on LinkedIn, because you have those personal connections posting invites to play Games on your Wall, tagging photos of you, etc.

Because the business use of Facebook came later than the personal one and many people became so comfortable that they share anything and everything – if they feel comfortable doing so with private connections, hey, it’s okay and that’s their absolute right. But here’s the thing: how many of us have absolute zero business connections (or potential ones) among their Facebook Friends? Exactly. And here it is: on LinkedIn, we are “Contacts”or “Connections”. On Facebook, we’re “Friends”. The words are not innocent.

The minute we accepted the first business contact as a Facebook Friend (or invited them), we let the public sphere into the private one.

It became then clearer that something needed to be done in order to make sure that these photos from last night’s party remained visible only to the right people but completely invisible to business contacts. And here begin the headaches over Friends Lists. Truth is, Friends Lists are probably the most awesome thing ever. They enable you to separate all your Facebook contacts in groups (“Friends Lists” in the Facebook terminology) to which you can assign a certain visibility level – for example “Group A” contains your close personal friends and they can see everything on your profile and everything you share. In “Group C”, you put business contacts and you can select precisely what Group C sees and what they don’t see. And people don’t know which list they’re on – it is visible only to you.

Facebook privacy settings are very complete and exhaustive and allow you to choose exactly who sees what you share. And yet still many people are not using them! Yes, it can be a hassle if you already have many friends but those settings are the best thing since sliced bread, seriously.

The above obviously also applies to those using Facebook as a pure personal network – there must be some people in there you are not thaaaaat close with but can’t unfriend either,  so those lists enable you to make sure that they don’t see stuff you don’t want them to see on your Facebook – and even better, since the end of last year, you can even choose what you want to see from them. As a Facebook executive put it himself at the last f8 conference in September 2011, it’s a feature for “people you are not really friends with”.

Either way, keeping Facebook to a bare personal level is becoming difficult for many as business contacts add them asd Friends and they feel it may be rude to refuse, while some don’t even try and make their profiles “Open Bar” for the whole world to see. And as freelance translators, there is a real danger there if you also use your Facebook profile as a marketing tool – because there are PMs and agencies and colleagues out there who are among your Facebook Friends. Make sure they see what they should see, and not what belongs to the private sphere because this can backfire and you may never know it – you’ll simply never get any translation job from them. Always remember – your CV is not the most important thing in your reputation building with an agency. Your online behavior and etiquette is just as important – if not more.

And here’s the trickier part: there are hundreds of translation agencies that created profiles on Facebook and use these profiles to connect with any translator, anywhere in the world, and post jobs on their Walls. If you want to see those posts, you need to add those agencies as “Friends”. Make sure that they go straight in the right Friends List of yours – that is a list where you can see all updates from them but where they can’t see any and every update from you – only what you choose to make visible to them.

This problem is non existent when an agency has its Facebook Page that you simply need to “Like”. Pages and Profiles are 2 different things – when you “Like” a Page, you can see everything it posts but the person behind the Page only sees what you made “Public” on your profile (here is a very good and clear explanation of the difference between a Profile and a Page on Facebook).

To see what is public on your profile, go to your Profile settings and click on “View As”. You’ll see “Use this tool to see how your Timeline appears to a specific friend or the public” – just click on “Public” and you’ll see your Facebook profile as it appears to anyone who is not in your contacts – talk about “online reputation management”…

So, to summarize: the ideal is to refuse Friends requests from people that you would not count as “real life buddies/friends” and belong more to your professional world and connect with them on LinkedIn instead – that’s what LinkedIn is for. On the other hand it’s okay if you can’t avoid having business connections among your Facebook Friends, don’t loose sleep over it, and there are so many potential clients using it that you ought to follow them on this platform. If you do so, then create Friends Lists and put those contacts in one restrictive list where they will see little of what you have in your profile and exactly what you want them to see.

Bottom line: on Facebook, whether you want it or not, you can’t avoid having colleagues or clients wanting to connect with you. If you choose to accept them as Friends, then make that you drastically keep private separated from business.

Social Media Marketing for translators – Part 4: Power Networking

This article is chapter 4 of the series “Social Media Marketing for translators, back to the basics”.

Part 1: Back to the basics & Introduction
Part 2:  Online Reputation & credibility
Part 3: Online visibility & SEO


Welcome back – and sorry for the delayed posting of this chapter 4, long overdue!
Today we’ll be talking about the basics of Social Networks as a Networking tool for the marketing of a freelance translator.

The best and ideal scenario remains in-person networking – there’s no denying that.  The vast majority of marketing successes (acquiring new clients) comes from real life meeting and sharing a cup of coffee at a given event – be it a trade show, a conference or a networking business breakfast.

But we can’t spend our time and our money attending events every week – as translators, we have to, well, translate to keep the ball rolling. Bills won’t pay themselves!

Here’s the good news: Web 2.0 offers an impressive array of tools allowing to network in a powerful way, right from behind your screen.

Here’s the bad news: it takes not only A LOT of time and energy – and patience – to get clients from online networking, but it’s a real jungle out there: there are so many tools, so many platforms : which one(s) to use?

In this article you’ll find some tips and starting ideas based on my own opinion and experience. It is by no means exhaustive nor exclusive. I keep repeating in my seminars and presentations that each translator is different, each business is unique and what works for a translator may not work for another. If you’re really serious about online networking, you’re going to have to take the time to experiment, try out and see what works for you and what does not – whatever your criteria for “what works for you” are, you’re going to have to define those and no online markting consultant can help you do that, it’s your decision, your choice, based on your culture, experience, goals, personal life, etc… Again, you are unique.

Differentiate business platforms from personal platforms

LinkedIn and Facebook have actually nothing in common, so whenever I read translators saying “Facebook and LinkedIn are so stupid, it does not work”, I consider – sorry – that it’s a stupid thing to say. I’m more than willing to believe that Facebook is not a very efficient marketing tool for a freelance translator, but LinkedIn is a WHOLE other story.

Let’s say there are 3 kinds of social platforms on the Web:

- Personal platforms: Facebook, former schoolmates platforms, photo sharing services (Instagram, Flickr…), location platforms (Foursquare…)

- Professional ones: LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo and translation platforms obviously like ProZ.com, Langmates, TranslatorsCafé, etc…

- Blurry ones: those are platforms that can allow for both personal or/and business, like Twitter, Google +, Facebook (here as well), etc.

I’m categorizing those based on the translation industry, of course, I’m being simplistic – some platforms listed as personal above can be used for business in other industries – a  Flickr has a clear professional dimension for professional photographers for example, Foursquare is a very interesting local marketing tool for shops, restaurants and other B2C industries).

The particular case of Facebook

I’ve already written about the Facebook dilemna in this article, though there is a lot more to say as it is not a black and white issue. But bottom line is, for a freelance translator, Facebook has yet to prove its marketing value. It does however have a certain networking interest as there are many – many! – groups of translators there, some of which are extremely active and where every sorts of discussions take place: terminology help, CAT-Tools help, jobs, general discussions, fun ones, etc. Those are like “mini-ProZ.com forums” actually, very similar in contents. There’s even a group called “Networking translators” and its member are doing just that.

So in a pure networking perspective, yes, Facebook Groups are an interesting tool, provided you protect your profile and make sure your personal stuff in there is not visible to members of the group that you are not “Friends” with. Again, see my Facebook article from April and I suggest to take a look at Part 2 of this series of articles: Online reputation and credibility.

Twitter: a very powerful networking tool

Twitter is a very interesting case. It can be used for both professional purposes and personal ones without hardly any conflict if done well – most professionals there have 2 accounts: a professional account with their full name and a personal one, either locked (that is your tweets can’t be seen unless you accept someone as a follower) or under a pseudonym (or both for paranoids like me ;)), of course if you feel no need for a personal Twitter account (to talk about stuff like politics, for example), you don’t need one. But I’m a big fan of separating personal from business in my online activities, while keeping the professional account a minimum personal. It’s about finding the right balance between too much and not enough.

Back to the topic at hand: Twitter as a networking tool is one of your best friends. Its Netiquette allows to connect with complete strangers, jump into discussions between strangers and therefore showing your expertise, making yourself known, etc. Most people on Twitter are open to discussions and exchange and keen on making new contacts. Twitter is a very informal way of communicating and this applies to business communication – in other words, on Twitter you can break the ice very easily and quickly, there are thousands of potential business contacts and you can have business exchanges in a very informal context. Isn’t that an ideal networking environment?

LinkedIn: the ultimate networking tool

Business networking is the core of LinkedIn. Every single feature on the site is designed and meant to help you network. I seriously made excellent client contacts via LinkedIn. But if you want to make it work, it is extremely time-consuming and you need to be very proactive. LinkedIn has a strict and particular netiquette and you have to mind how you communicate – and what. Last but not least, a rock-solid and mouth-watering profile is an absolute must. Believe me, LinkedIn is a great networking and marketing tool for the translation industry but you have to  use it to your full advantage – how often do I repeat that just having a profile here is not enough and that clients won’t start falling from the sky? You have to make your opportunities on business networks like LinkedIn (but that also works for sites like Xing or Viadeo, for example) because even though sometimes – but rarely – they come to you, the truth is, 99% of the time they are yours to create.

Google + : the elegant combo of Facebook+Twitter+LinkedIn

I love Google +. Yes, this is not being objective but seriously, I love it. It allows you to do whatever you want and share it with wohever you want in a very user-friendly and elegant way: circles. Yes, Facebook lists enable to the same separation and to choose exactly who sees what, but let’s face it: these privacy settings on FB are not as simple and user-friendly as G+ circles. No need to have a personal account and a business one. You can do all your communications from just one profile while keeping a clear private/public separation. Unlike Facebook, the risk of awkward pictures from last night’s party or pictures of you in your swimming suit at the last family barbecue is almost zero. Besides, the Netiquette and spirit of Google + is a really sweet combo of the facebook netiquette (allowing for personal stuff), the Twitter one (informal exchanges with complete strangers) and the LinkedIn one (loads of business people using G+ to network). Last but certainly not least, Google + is an extremely powerful SEO help. But then again, like all the rest, you need to be proactive and to work on your G+ presence – and that takes time.

In short…

Using Social platforms is an excellent way to network, meet suspects, potentially turn them into prospects and ultimately, hopefully, into clients. The same works for partners, and of course for translators – it’s a great pool for agencies and companies to find service providers. Furthermore, these platforms allow you to bypass the hierarchy: if you send an e-mail offering your services to a large translation agency, your CV may not make it to the hands of a PM. Same goes for telephone marketing efforts: you often find yourself talking to a secretary who will “block” your way to the decision-maker. Thanks to social networks, this is not a problem anymore, you can directly contact and connect with these decision-makers. But the coin does have another side: social networking is complicated, there are many unwritten codes and rules, netiquettes strongly vary from one network to another and there’s such a big crowd out there already that you have to make yourself visible in order to be found. Avoiding faux-pas, having a great profile and actively seeking and creating opportunities, those are some winning-strategies  winning, but time-consuming. Be aware of it before going into social networking.


Stay tuned for Part 5 of “Social Media Marketing for Translators, back to the basics” on the power of information!
All your comments, suggestions, thoughts are more than welcome, so go for it!

Next #xl8SMM chat on March 7th, 2012

The next open chat for translators on Social media Marketing in the translation industry will take place tomorrow, Wednesday March 7th, 5pm to 6pm Central European Time (see here what time it will be in your part of the world).

This chat will be the 4th one ad we’re moving it this time to the community SocialMedia4Translators for a better clarity and organisation of questions and easier archiving of discussions.

Everybody is welcome! Join us and bring your questions, experiences, knowledge…
Feel free to check out the transcript of a previous #xl8SMM chat here.

See you tomorrow!
SocialMedia4Translators

Meet our new Timeline!

Facebook is rolling out its new Timeline feature for Brand Pages this month and we were one of the first to adopt it. Visit our official Facebook Page now to discover its new feel and design! https://www.facebook.com/gxp.services

More info about Timeline and Brand Pages:

Facebook Rolls Out Fan Page Timeline
Facebook Timeline for Brands: What Does It Mean for Marketers?

Tell your Brand’s Story on Facebook Timeline