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 If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status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?

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

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!

You are responsible for what you share online

A video from Andew Keen on CNN, author of “Digital vertigo”, has been buzzing today and kept popping up on my LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook with that dramatic title “Opinion: Facebook threatens to ‘Zuck up’ the human race”. Wow. With such a title, you can only click the link, read the article and watch the video (over here)

In my opinion, Andew Keen does have a good point (many actually), particularly when he says that we live in an era of digital narcissism, but also when he says that we all became the products of social platforms. He puts in those words: “Networks like Facebook have turned us into products in which their only economic value is our personal data.”

That’s undeniable. Facebook might be the big bad guy, the devil, blabla, and it’s your right to think that as many of the self-called experts as well as journalists like to think and like you to think. I have no real opinion on that. Facebook is a company and like all businesses it needs some kind of income, a product, other than investors injecting money in it. Since Facebook does not offer any paying membership, which could be a consequent revenue source, they have to “sell” something else. It makes sense in a way, a business has got to earn something to keep existing, right?

So, well, here’s my view on that, something I have in mind constanly when I hear people whining about what a devil facebook is selling our data (yet those are the same people who are all day long on it and sharing everything they do by the minute): you are responsible for what you put online. Nobody forces you to put pictures of you in a bikini on Facebook. Nobody forces you to give your home address and personal phone numbers to Facebook. Just because there’s some not mandatory field to fill, you don’t have to fill it. YOU put that data in there, so if you don’t want it to be used, then don’t put it in the first place.

But here’s the bad news for those who scream that Facebook has their home address (they gave it to facebook themselves, remember?) – you can erase it from your facebook profile, you can even dactivate your account, your data will not show anymore but Facebook does keep it in store. Everything you ever posted, wrote and deleted, remains.

So in my humble opinion, the issue here is not that Facebook sells our personal data to advertisers. Google does it. Many others do it. Did you ever book a flight online, let’s say to London, and noticed in the days afterwards that on any website with ads you’d visit (online dictionaries or whatever), you’d see ads about cheap flights to London? There you go. See, Facebook are not the only ones… and those are in my eyes somehow freakier, because that means The Internet God knows exactly what I do, what I search, when and where without me even knowing nor asking for it. I just booked a flight to London, damn! While on Facebook, again, YOU chose to enter your personal information on your own.

Nope, I think the issue is multiple. Facebook should inform its users about it, clearly and plainly, that’s a first point. Facebook should also inform us plainly and clearly that whet we think we erase from our profile remains stored in the Facebook attics for God knows how long. And the third issue is ourselves, and this is where I agree with Andrew Keen: digital narcissism. We don’t have to share everything we’re doing. We don’t have to post everything we think. We don’t have to. We don’t need to. Nobody forces us to share this and that and everything on Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

So don’t do it. There’s not much more to say to it. Use your common sense. Be a grown-up. We are all responsible for ourselves.

The Top 100 Language Lovers 2012 Competition

It’s on again! The bab.la language portal and the Lexiophiles blog announced the start of the Top 100 Language Lovers 2012 competition on May 2nd. The nominations phase is now over and the voting phase starts today and runs until May 28th.

Here are the four categories in the competition:

1. Language Learning Blogs: blogs about the language learning process, both from the learners and teachers perspective.
2. Language Professionals Blogs: blogs by people using languages in their profession, such as translators or interpreters.
3. Language Facebook Pages: Facebook Pages related to language topics, such as dictionaries, translation tools, language lovers’ communities and more.
4. Language Twitter accounts: Twitterers who share content about languages.

All information on the competition is available here
Time to vote ! This way…

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.