WantWordsA practical guide to social media for translators Marta Stelmaszak www.wantwords.co.uk
WantWords It’s only for profes-What I write about? sional purposesI have been planning to write this guide for a while to share my experience of social me-dia as a translator and interpreter. I’ve started using social media for business purposesabout 18 months ago and I saw a galore of benefits directly related to the amount ofwork coming my way. My experience onlyIn this guide, I share my views on the purposes of social media, here.possible uses, strategies, and essentials.I am aware of the fact that there is a multitude of social media platforms, and more andmore of them appear on the market. However, in this guide I will concentrate on Face-book, Twitter, and LinkedIn because of their popularity, versatility, and applicability toour business.I also know that we have different time commitments, and not every single translatorcan imagine spending 2 hours a day on various social media. This is why I tried to take anew approach to our engagement with these platforms, suggesting plans for those of uswho can spend 2-3 hours a day, 30 minutes a day, or need flexible solutions. I’m tryingto be strategic and practical here.What I don’t write about?I don’t provide basic descriptions and specifications you can easily find online. I don’tdescribe how to set up an account, or how to gain more followers. I don’t refer to oth-ers, because I want to share my experience. I also don’t give tips on social media eti-quette, or most common mistakes.
WantWords What is inside?1. What do we use social media for?2. Who do we target our content at? 3. How to prepare a strategy? 4. Facebook 5. Twitter 6. LinkedIn
WantWords1. What do we use social media for? Again, we’re talking pro- fessional here.When I first toyed with the idea of setting up social media accounts, I didn’t feel that Ineeded them. I had enough work, I participated in some face-to-face networking eventsand I read industry-related journals.Getting into social media was more of an experiment for me. It’s like with buying yourfirst smartphone: at first, you just do it for fun, then you can’t imagine your life withoutinstant access to e-mail and web.I’ve set up my Facebook profile and connected with friends from three countries I livedin. I chatted with some of them, liked their wedding photos, and asked about their jobs.Well, I enjoyed the idea of staying in touch with people you’ve met a while ago, but Icouldn’t really get myself to share as abundantly as others. I turned to LinkedIn, and itLinkedIn is generally per- made more sense for me. I could connect with other trans-ceived as THE platform lators or project managers, write to them, and chat. I also en-for business, not only intranslation. joyed groups a lot, and even became a moderator of one. Then came Twitter: I created an account, tweeted 5 tweets, and forgotabout the whole thing. I bet your experience might have been You may find Twitter lesspretty much the same. useful if you don’t enjoy socialising.Disappointment or discouragements are typical of a non-structured or non-oriented approach. I didn’t know what I was looking for on social me-dia. I forgot that any tool has its purposes and instructions of use. I sat down and startedoff thinking what are the purposes of social media.
WantWords Marketing Using social media solely for marketing may be dis- appointing for translatorsAn obvious one. All companies use social media to mar- and interpreters. Theket their services and products, to be closer to their clients, to character of our services doesn’t put us in directcreate trends. I immediately started thinking if that was possi- contact with clients onble at all in the language industry. Early days saw translators social media.writing “like me on Facebook for a 10% discount”. What was the point of that, exactly?We’re not selling trainers or chocolates, we’re providing professional business services.Like lawyers, or accountants. Not like Nike or Milka. I knew that there must be ways ofmarketing our language services to potential clients, but… There was some potential, Ijust didn’t really know how to use it. Socialising On LinkedIn I managed to make more connections with other transla-Translators seem to tors in a couple of weeks than in my entire lifetime during face-to-facelove social mediafor socialising. events. I wasn’t sure what am I going to do with all these people, butWe’re finally not it was reassuring to know that there are others like me.alone! We should Learning and exchangingIt wasn’t too obvious for me from the beginning, but I soon started to realise that socialmedia provide great opportunities to exchange views, opinions, and information.After I realised that I can use social media for three different purposes, I had to decidewhat am I looking for and how will I achieve that. It was crucial for me to find the rightblend and adapt suitable strategies. Perhaps even match the platform with the purpose?
WantWordsAfter I realised that I can use social media for three different purposes, I had to decidewhat am I looking for and how will I achieve that. It was crucial for me to find the rightblend and adapt suitable strategies. Perhaps even match the platform with the pur-pose?Out of my personal experience, Twitter is best for learning and exchanging, Facebookworks wonders for socialising, and LinkedIn is best for marketing. You can obviously useall of them for different purposes, but you need to be aware of types of audiences youencounter there.Action points: Think of what you want to achieve in your social media strategy Decide which platforms you want to concentrate on Consider whether you really need that much social media presence
WantWords2. Who do we target our content at?Our social media presence and content we share is not just in vacuum. It’s always di-rected at a group of readers. There’s always the audience for our activities. If you al-ready know what you want to achieve with your social media strategy, you need tothink of your target audiences. This simple mistake brings a lot of disappointment to Marketing other translators saying: “I’m on social media and IYou’re on LinkedIn and you’re connecting only with other didn’t get any new clients”. No wonder why!translators from language-related groups. Now, how wouldthat bring you more projects? It wouldn’t. Think of your target group of clients and con-nect with them: project managers, in-house staff at translation agencies, professionalsin your specialist fields. SocialisingIf you want to socialise, connect with most popular and open translators. Talk to them,share your views and your stories. Become a social hub, and you will attract others. Learning and exchangingTo learn and exchange, you’ll need to find people who are sharing and setting trends inthe profession. Engage with them, and curate your content so that you also have valua-ble information to share. It always works both ways—you have to give something, to get some- thing in return.
WantWords3. How to prepare a strategy?Over the months it became obvious to me that without a clear strategy, social media isclose to a total waste of time (in the professional context). I’ve followed this plan tomake sure that my approach is coherent and worthwhile:Social media audit It is essential to start with an honest summary of what you already have.Go through your current presence online. Note down allprofiles you have, preferably in an editable document. Thebest way to do that is to perform a Google search on yourself. You may find out thatyou still have a profile on a dodgy platform no-one uses anymore, and your high schoolpictures are still up there. If you don’t want your clients or colleagues to find it – deleteit. The rest of the profiles, even though you don’t use them too often anymore, can im-prove your SEO and visibility. Make them all consistent: the same information,the same picture, always up to date. Keep links in a file, so It’s also crucial to think of yourthat you never forget about a profile only to discover it a privacy and decide how much information you’re going tocouple of years later. share.AimsAs I already mentioned, it’s essential to figure out what you need all that for. If you’remostly about marketing that’s fine. You’ll have to remember about your aim in every-thing you do on social media. If you want to socialise, you’ll use different tactics. Shar-ers will have to concentrate on the quality of information.
WantWordsToolsFor me, working on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is enough. I’d rather concentrate onthese three platforms and make the most of them rather than spread myself perhaps a bittoo thin. You have to consider which platforms will be best for your aims and purposes.Time commitment and engagementAs with any other type of activity, social media requires engagement and attention. Youcan’t just disappear for a long period without saying a word, because your socialising col-leagues will have mixed feelings. You need to be consequent and regular. It does take timeto build up a community, or presence online, and then it requires even more time to keepit up. Decide how much time you’re able to spend on a regular basis, regardless of otherfactors, and stick to that time commitment.
WantWordsSocial media planWhen you know all that, you can prepare a plan for your social media activities. Furtherdown I present some tactics you may want to incorporate, but in the end, we always dowhat suits us best. However, it is essential to have a plan and stick to it, as with any othercommitments. If we stop doing that, social media become nothing more than fun. And funis not always the core of business, is it?Action points: Run a social media audit Decide how much time you’re able to spend Be ready to draw a social media plan Create a chart to make you stick to your plan
WantWords 10 MINUTES A DAY Pick and choose! You can even tick the boxesMarketing against these activities you want to use. Set up a fan page Reply to all comments on your page I recommend having fan Add one interesting link related to your services pages rather than using profiles for marketing Share one update on what you’re currently doing purposes. It looks more professional!Socialising Use both your profile (different levels of privacy) and your fan page Connect with 1 new person Like 1 new page and comment on it Post an update in a translation-related group Like your colleagues’ contentLearning and exchanging Use both your profile (different levels of privacy) and your fan page Share 1 informative link with your comment regarding the content Comment on 2 links posted by others Like your colleagues’ content Liking other’s content is the social of social media. Spread the love!
WantWords 40 MINUTES A DAYMarketing Add translation-related photos or reviews of events you’ve been to Set up a welcome page You can get a welcome page for free! Search for Like pages related to your specialist field and comment on them “custom Facebook page” Write to people from field-related groups in Google. Play around with your cover photo Like translation agency fan pages and comment on them Facebook chats and polls areSocialising great for building engage- ment. Ask relevant and inter- esting questions! Start a Facebook chat on a particular topic Comment regularly on pages and groups Browse fan pages of other translators and comment on their updates Befriend people you find interesting, writing a nice invitation Use Facebook chat to exchange views with your colleagues Start your own group or page – perhaps field-related? Did you know that they’veLearning and exchanging recently upped the limit? Now we can write much more! Write longer articles on Facebook Suggest sharing information on a certain topic in comments Be active on translation-related pages and post quality content Start your own group or page
WantWords 10 MINUTES A DAY Pick and choose! You can even tick the boxesMarketing against these activities you want to use. Accept new invitations Connect to 1 suggested person Can’t recommend that Join a field-related group one enough! Add 1 comment a daySocialising Write to one of your connections a day Join a new group Like your colleagues’ content Add 1 comment a day Questions on LinkedIn areLearning and exchanging great to showcase our ex- pertise. Ask and answer! Answer 1 question Share 1 interesting article within a group Ask a question others can help you with
WantWords 40 MINUTES A DAY I find company pages ex- tremely time-consuming.Marketing Only for the most com- mitted! Set up a company page Add updates to your current projects Follow companies that may be your potential clients Not necessarily translation agencies, but also direct Join field-related groups and ask a relevant question clients in your fields. Connect with specialists in your fieldSocialising Moderating groups is time -consuming but reward- ing. It also helps in main- Moderate or start a group taining your expert status. Comment on 3 discussions Visit all groups you belong to Connect with people from your groups Find something interesting in them and start a conver- Write to 3 people a day sation. You never know who may need your services!Learning and exchanging Be active in answering and asking questions Comment on articles and discussions started by others Start a field-related group
WantWords 10 MINUTES A DAY Pick and choose! You can even tick the boxesMarketing against these activities you want to use. Tweet about what you’re doing Follow 1 potential client a day Tweet field-specific contentSocialising Conversations are what Twitter is about. Engage in Retweet others debates, ask, and answer. Ask a general question others can reply to Follow 3 new translatorsLearning and exchanging Follow your preferred hashtag and get information from there Ask a translation-related question Follow most active colleagues
WantWords 40 MINUTES A DAYMarketing Follow new potential clients Tweet to your potential clients to spark off conversationSocialising Engage in a conversation Start a Twitter chat Follow colleagues Tweet to your colleagues Start a list Follow backLearning and exchanging Join a Twitter chat Follow hashtags Ask questions Tweet valuable content regularly For suggestions and discussion, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mstelmaszak Facebook: WantWords