Updated version of “Google+: misunderstood or uderestimated?”

The same day Google+ went public in September, we published an article here on the Stinging Nettle that expressed my views and take on Google’s Social network (see the article here).

Within a month, many things changed on Google+. The real-name policy disappeared, hashtag got supported, and so on – like always when it comes to Social Media, one month is a tremendous amount of time and a lot can happen.

Which is why an updated version of that article is now available on the Social Media Today website. Social Media Today is an independent, online community for professionals in PR, marketing, advertising, or any other discipline where a thorough understanding of social media is mission-critical. They provide daily insight and publications. The updated Google+ article is available here.

Happy weekend!

Some (basic?) Twitter Don’ts in business

While there are no set, written rules when it comes to Twitter etiquette, there are however some general “good practices”, particularly when using Twitter for business. Many, many small businesses are just doing it wrong. Let’s cover here some No-No’s in using Twitter in a business context – that is on your professional account(s).

They may seem basic? Well they may be to some, but I still see only way too much of those going on on Twitter.

So here we go:

– Don’t leave your biography and picture blank

I never even look at accounts with an empty bio and the default egg picture from Twitter. Use the 160 characters for the bio to tell who you are and what you do, and throw in some relevant keywords. As for the picture, use either a professional photo of yourself (please, stop using pictures of your dog / your favourite meal / your kids at the beach / etc…) or your logo – though I tend to recommend using a photo, as people are more likely to interact with a person than with a brand. Remember that in “Social Media”, the key is “Social”. Last but certainly not least, small tip: use a picture with bright colors to make your Tweets eye-catching in your followers’ timelines and create a form of brand-awareness in the Twitter crowd.

– Don’t write in capital letters

Basic and valid anywhere on the Internet. Capital letters equal shouting. Just. Don’t. Do. It. This applies in your biography as well.

– Don’t send welcome DMs (private messages)

That one is pretty controversial. Some think welcome messages are a must, others think the opposite. Truth is, I’m all for welcome messages in essence. The idea is great, is perfectly in the social spirit and it can be perceived as a really nice attention. The problem is, in between, almost everybody does automated welcome DMs… and as a result, inboxes are being flooded. Personally, I don’t even read welcome DMs anymore and systematically delete them. I gradually came to perceive them as spamming and irritating. Worse : sometimes I miss a real, actual private message from a follower because it got lost in the mass of welcome DMs. So my advice: don’t. Whether automated or manual (as if you had the time!), don’t. If you really want to keep welcoming new followers, then a good compromise could be a public welcome tweet with mention.

– Don’t use TrueTwit or other validation services

While filtering followers on your personal account is another matter, using validation services such as TrueTwit is a really bad idea on your business/professional account because you’re simply losing followers. People are much more likely to unfollow you or simply ignore the validation request. Seriously, between automated welcome DMs and validation requests, I came to the point where I simply ignore those, unless it’s someone I really, really, badly want to follow. So unless you are Justin Bieber or a world famous leader / CEO, just don’t.

– Don’t make your tweets private

Ok, this one may seem silly but how many small businesses went through the troube of setting up a Twitter account, religiouly send their tweets, follow all the recommendations and integrate specific keywords in their tweets… and those are not public. If you are doing this, then it probably means you have not quite understood what Twitter can do for your business and that therefore, you probably don’t have a really clear and productive Twitter strategy. Again, do what you want with your personal accounts but don’t make your business account private. You might as well have no Twitter account in that case.

– Don’t auto follow back

Auto-follow back can play some nasty tricks on you! Unless your company is in the pornography industry, you may not want to publicly follow the Twitter account of a sex-shop – remember that the lists of people who follow you and the people you follow are public – anybody can see them. This applies to any religious, political, etc follower. Remember it’s your brand out there, and you surely don’t want it affiliated with everything and anything – so make sure to be selective when it comes to following back, and therefore don’t set up automatic follow back on your business account.

Die QRD Vorlagen der Europäische Arzneimittelagentur (EMA) wurden wieder geändert

Die EMA hat am 12. Oktober 2011 ihre QRD (Quality Review of Documents) Vorlagen geändert. Diese sind sehr wichtige Tools für alle Sprachdienstleister, die im Bereich Regulatory Affairs tätig sind.

Die Vorlagen sind hier in allen europäischen Sprachen zum Herunterladen verfügbar.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published new QRD templates again

On October 121th, 2011, the EMA updated its QRD (Quality Review of Documents). Those are very important tools for all language service providers (LSP) working in regulatory affairs.

The latest version of the multilingual templates can be downloaded here.

Guest post: the linguist and Social Media – promotion through Twitter

Our guest for this first guest post on the Stinging Nettle is Suzanne Deliscar, a Canadian lawyer-linguist translating in the French-English and Spanish-English language pairs. Her focus is on official document and legal translation.

The Linguist and Social Media, part 1: promotion through Twitter
by Suzanne Deliscar – February 2011

Social media is here to stay, with its usage spanning across all industries. The languages industry is slowly but surely taking advantage of this vehicle, and individual freelancers should be no exception. This article provides the steps to be taken in using the Twitter medium to enhance a linguist’s online presence and produce business leads.
Twitter (www.twitter.com), for those who are unfamiliar with this platform, is a form of micro-blogging where users create an account, including a username and password, and then proceed to publish short messages limited to 140 characters or less, known as “tweets”, about any subject matter imaginable. Twitter is unique in that these short messages can be sent at anytime and from a variety of electronic devices, including hand-held devices such as cell phones and laptop computers. Users can also follow other Twitter users that they find of interest. A number of Twitter related applications have also been developed in order to enhance the Twitter experience, and also provide different ways for individuals, and companies, in particular, to manage the interaction with their followers.

The following are some tips which linguists can use to broaden their online presence, as well obtain project offers through Twitter:

1. Pick a username and profile name that can readily identifiable with either you personally, your business name, or your industry. Otherwise, you will not show up in searches by other users looking for individuals in the translation industry.

2. Follow other Twitter users who have either common interests, for example, other legal translators or other medical interpreters, to keep abreast of new developments. Twitter is also an educational tool and much can be learned from posts from those with similar interests.

3. Is there a translation agency you are interested in working for? More and more language companies are setting up profiles on Twitter and sending out messages about their current activities. Some language companies also keep up a live feed of projects for which they need linguists.

4. Be particular about who you choose to follow. Profiles of your followers can be seen on your profile page, and can leave either a negative or positive impression on those who are considering whether or not to follow you.

5. Be a good Twitter citizen. Follow back those who follow you. It is an easy way to thank someone else for taking interest in your tweets.

6. Be consistent in your message. If your Twitter account has been set up for business, stick to that professional tone as much as possible. If you would like to send out personal thoughts and ideas, consider setting up a separate Twitter account.

7. Potential clients may search for your services via specific key words. If those words appear regularly in your tweets, or even your profile description, the chances of appearing in search results increases. Key words in both your target and source languages can boost your results as well.

8. Be proactive. Follow interesting profiles, and send messages to other users you would like to communicate with. Offer a special or free giveaway. Direct interested parties to your Proz.com profile, your website, or both.

Twitter is one of many tools that can be used by linguists to both interact with outsourcers, potential clients and colleagues. As part of a solid marketing plan, the effective use of Twitter can raise a linguist’s profile and make them more noticeable to potential clients.

Suzanne’s website:  www.treasurestranslations.ca
She can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/suzannedeliscar