7 myths in using Facebook for business (and in general)

amis-facebookRandom thoughts… 7 myths or mistakes you may be doing, without knowing it, on Facebook.

Myth 1: no, it is not possible to know who has seen your Facebook profile, so pleeeaaaaaase stop installing apps that claim the contrary and that post status updates to your profile calling your friends to install it. Really, please, stop.

Myth 2: no, sharing your tweets on your Facebook Profile/Page is not such a great idea. It is counterproductive and extremely annoying for anyone following you on Facebook. And for those following you on both: even worse. Facebook has a very different netiquette from Twitter. You don’t tweet on Facebook. You tweet on Twitter Same goes for “RTing” people on Facebook, by the way: huh?

Myth 3:  no, the copyright and privacy disclaimer that you have to post as a status to prevent FB from using your data is not for real. It’s a hoax, and it’s been ciruclating for months. Please, please, stop sharing it. (“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communique, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”)

Myth 4: no, your professional contacts don’t care about your workout stats, so pleeeaaaase stop sharing the runtastic report of your latest run (or any other sport tracking app, for that matter) with said business contacts (your personal contacts are a complete other matter –  you do what you want, personal stuff is personal stuff. But there is personal stuff your business contacts really don’t need to see/read. No? )

Myth 5: no, the status update asking your Friends to hover over your name and change their settings so that friends of friends of friends don’t see what you like or post is a fake too. This is a hoax that has been circulating since May 2011. (“To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment”, automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! Paste this on your wall so your contacts would follow suit too, that is, if you care about your privacy.”) – and similar ones, there are some variants of it.

Myth 6: no, Facebook will not become a paying service anytime soon, so please stop sharing hoaxes pretending otherwise…

And if you don’t believe me, see Facebook’s FAQ – Common Myths about Facebook.

Myth 7: no, your phone number is not accessible to anyone on Facebook. Unless you entered it yourself and made it public. So, the status update claiming “ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE… INCLUDING YOURS are now on FACEBOOK! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see all phone numbers from your phone are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to RIGHT column, click on “this page.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.” is just a big hoax… and an old one, from 2010 or so.

There are many more! Which ones come to your mind?

10 steps for promoting your translation services in a skills portfolio

Our new guest post this week comes from France!  Wilfried is a French teacher for French natives and foreign students. He has dedicated his career to literature, semiotics, communication and serious game teaching in France and in China. Since 2008, as the Deputy Director and Communications Officer of ESTRI, School of Translation and International Relations, he has specialized in quality management and (viral) marketing, specifically by providing personal branding tips to help students define their place in the job market. In 2012, he also created www.paroledescoop.com, a consulting business for editing great Web content and finding solutions for optimizing organic results on search engines. When he is not trying to detox from his geek addictions, Wilfried is on the road, abroad, with the wind of cross-cultural differences whipping at his face.

Today he’s sharing 10 tips and steps on how to promote your translation services using a skills portfolio.


Interested in developing your business and in promoting your expertise with personal branding tips? You are probably aware of Skills Portfolio: a communication tool allowing you to publish/share samples of your work and to provide your clients with evidence of your high-quality translations. If not, it might be time to reconsider your strategy with the 10 Ps of the marketing mix.

In order to create an efficient skills portfolio and to focus on the specifics of your business, here are 10 questions you must ask yourself before you continue. The answers to these questions will help you define the relevant message. You will then be able to choose the right tool and the proper media to communicate this message.

Priorities: Which translation texts do I want to select and promote? Which ones most efficiently represent my expertise? Which ones can I select while still respecting my client’s confidentiality? Which samples are catchier?

Product: Which specifics of my translation services do I need to sell? Which services should I focus on?

Place: What is my place in the translation industry market? What are my competitors focusing on? How do they communicate their expertise? How can I make the difference by selecting my background information and my own work? What will be the specific aspect of my service, my message? What do I want my clients to think, say and do?

Promotion: Which tool will be more appropriate for communicating my references and samples of work? Depending on my goals, should I promote my translation services online or offline, in an e-portfolio or in a brochure? If online, should I publish my skills publically on my website or privately on Google Drive for instance?

Price: Will my communication strategy add a lot of value to my work? What value does my portfolio add to my work: cheap, expensive or fairly priced?

Physical evidence: What proof can I provide my client with to allow him/her to make the right choice between several providers? Will I come across as providing proficient services? Which work will provide evidence of my proficiency? Can my former clients recommend my work? Should I provide information on the machine translation tools that I master? Which labels could enhance my business communication?

People: Does my portfolio content make mention of my team and group working skills? Does it say something about my collaboration history and success in achieving my client’s goals and requirements?

Partnership: Does my portfolio include my partners? Are my partners in contact with or indirectly related to my prospective partners?

Permission marketing: Will excerpts of my portfolio be published on social media such as my professional Facebook page, my Linkedin profile, my Twitter account? Will these excerpts prompt my clients to recommend my work? Will they encourage prospective clients to ‘like’ my page, to share my content, to follow my activity, or to contact me?

Purple Cow: Are my portfolio and personal branding strategy unique?

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.

How (not) to contact a translation company (Part 2)

This is the sequel to How (not) to contact an agency.

We keep receiving this email (see below) from the same translator, on average twice a week – and this has been going on since June. This is a good example of what has been outlined in the previous article, so let’s have a closer at that email.

First red flag – and a big one – is the fact that this exact same email continues to be sent weekly, sometimes two or three times a day. This is my definition of spamming, yet there is no way to unsubscribe and my numerous replies begging the sender to stop were never responded to. At first I thought it was a bot, or even a scam (though I fail to see the point of such a scam) but funnily enough, the emails stopped during the entire month of August and resumed last week, so this has to be an actual human being. I tried to Google her name and it seems she really does exist, though there were not many hits. Result? Her emails became such an annoyance that I blacklisted her – and now she goes straight into my spam folder. I stopped wasting time by asking her nicely to stop the spamming. So, while she may think she’s doing herself a favor by repeating the same message over and over again to translation companies, it has completely backfired… and she has no idea.

Then of course there’s the actual content of the email. I have obviously removed her name and her language pair to protect her privacy.

Dear Messrs.:

I was checking your website, http://gxplanguageservices.wordpress.com/about/, and I am very interested in working for you and being part of your staff as a AA in BB, BB in AA, CC in BB, BB in CC Translator.

I am attaching my curriculum vitae. As you can notice, I have a degree in Business Administration. Although I do not have a Translation degree, my command in AA is very good, and of course, my mother tongue is BB. On the other hand, my experience of 14-year track record in different businesses and industrial settings has let me work with different documents in both languages, and has let me develop the creativity, the accuracy, and the promptness.

Likewise, I have working tools such as SKYPE and MSN, and a very good laptop. If you need to contact me for further information, please do not hesitate to email me. I will be more than glad to enlighten any doubt about my persona and my professional background.

Awaiting for your kind and positive feedback.

Okay, there are a few points here I would like to highlight:

-  “Dear Messrs.:”
See my opinion and suggestions on this in the other article. It’s even more annoying when that person has been writing you for months and you have replied using your own name asking her to stop (which still makes me wonder from time to time if it is not indeed some kind of new bot).

- The second paragraph
The first two sentences are fine – she honestly and openly admits she’s no background translator and gives her actual background, which is fine – there are many excellent translators who do not have a translation degree but come from other industries. This is more than okay. However, we are a medical LSP and she fails to give me a brief summary of what her areas of specialization are – but since she has a degree in Business Administration, I guess she does not do clinical trials or SPCs. Clearly, as stated in the previous article, no research has been done to see what the company does and what kind of translators they need.

-”(…) has let me develop the creativity, the accuracy, and the promptness”
Well. This is not exactly an exceptional quality. All translators are supposed to be creative, accurate and to deliver on-time – this is nothing that makes you stand out from the competition because it’s something your clients expect from you. Right?

-”Likewise, I have working tools such as SKYPE and MSN, and a very good laptop”
Yay!

To clarify: I did not post this to make fun of her or anything like that. If this was my intention I would have left her name in the email. I have merely used this email as a representative sample of emails that PMs receive and that can really hurt your credibility as a translator, because that sample illustrates some simple principles that, in my opinion, are not adhered to – not to mention the worst part of all, which is the actual spamming.

On the other hand I am perfectly aware that there are a lot of PMs miscommunicating with translators and who do take spamming-like approaches. Being listed as a freelancer/outsourcer on ProZ.com, I receive a lot of those as well, so I’m not questioning that. My goal here is to give freelancers a few easy tips to help them improve their applications to agencies and LSPs.

Now however, here is an interesting question I don’t have an answer to: how important is the cultural factor? Is it my culture that makes me react negatively to these emails? Is this kind of email perfectly fine and normal in other cultures? Culture does play a role in business communication in general; we can all cite examples of exchanges with translators/PMs from another culture, where the codes and etiquette of communication are really different. Though this translator does come from a similar culture as mine, I don’t believe that any culture would tolerate being spammed with the same email over and over again despite numerous requests to be unsubscribed. Nonetheless, how important is the cultural aspect in this?

Lyon conference workshop – Boost your use of Twitter

Last weekend, I attended the annual ProZ.com France conference in Lyon, which was not only a great opportunity to return to the city where I studied and lived for five years, but also to see the French translation crowd again – many I hadn’t seen since the Nice conference in 2009, the Paris event in 2008 or for some, even the Aix en Provence conference in 2007! We had a great time and the atmosphere was relaxed and happy.

The event was the opportunity to give a presentation on Internet Marketing for the first time ever in French – which is quite amusing when you think about it, given that I am French. Anyway, it was also the first time that I spoke to a French audience on those topics and I was curious to learn about the relationship between social media tools and my own fellow translation country(wo)men. Although the group was very small, the presentation was extremely interactive – just the way I love it! Actually, forget I said “presentation”. It was a discussion, and a very interesting and lively one at that. It was a pity I didn’t have more time – again, I know! How time flies when you’re in good company with interesting questions and feedback.

The topics I presented were 1. Twitter (how to use it to gain visibility and boost your online reputation) and 2. Facebook – privacy issues to protect your personal life and reputation on the Web (unfortunately not enough time for that one, we had to rush through it, but we covered some main points presented in this article and in this one in very basic terms).

Here is the Twitter presentation (in French) available for download: Twitter presentation FR Lyon 2012 -

- many thanks to the attendees. I hope you enjoyed the workshop and more importantly, that it helped you in some way. That was, after all, the objective. And as promised, if you have any questions or need anything, just send me an e-mail!

Thanks again to John for once more giving us the opportunity to meet, exchange and party. I’m really looking forward to the 2013 French conference!

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

Translators: 5 ways to get more followers on Twitter

Some basic but always efficient tricks!

1. Follow people

While you don’t have to follow everyone who follows you, it’s still important to follow those accounts that are of interest to you – the criteria are up to you. Quite simply, it just looks bad if you have 800 followers and you are not following anyone yourself. Ditto the other way round: the more people you follow, the more you increase your chances of being followed. I’ve observed that approximately 30 to 40% of the people you follow will ‘return the favour’ and start following you.

2. Tweet interesting stuff

This should be obvious! Whether it is your own content you are sharing, or interesting content from all over the Web (regardless of the subject matter), aim to be interesting. If your followers like what you’re giving them, they’ll let you know with retweets, favourites, etc.,and they’ll say so to their own followers, who will, in turn, follow you and so forth and so on. Snowball effect!
You need to figure out your content strategy first – more in an upcoming article!

3. Be a giver 

The key word in the term ‘social networks’ is the word ‘social’, and Twitter is probably the most social of all. This means that you should not just be a receiver, you have to be a giver as well if you want it to work out in your favour. A giver shares content from other people, colleagues, even competitors. A giver makes recommendations of other people to follow, engages in discussions (serious ones as well as exchanges about airline food), reports on news (upcoming industry events, news from colleagues, industry news, etc.), shares experiences and expertise, retweets and always tries to meet new people and network. Give and you shall receive – it’s the core spirit of social networking, and sometimes we tend to forget that.

4. Use hashtags

Increase your visibility on Twitter by using hashtags. Find those that influencers use, or simply browse through your timeline and see which hashtags are used by the people you follow and which ones are hot right now – and use those relevant to your content! This way, your tweets will appear in searches for a certain hashtag and this increases your chances of gaining followers interested in that particular topic or who follow that hashtag. Here is a list of some popular translation industry hashtags.

5. Include your Twitter info everywhere

An effective, quick and simple trick is to include your Twitter username in your business contact details – e-mail signature, Skype, CV, LinkedIn profile, ProZ.com profile, business cards, website… Use either the URL or just your @Username.