Twitter series (part 3) — Meet the social media expert

Twitter series (part 3) -- Meet the social media expert (click on the image to enlarge)

Also see this cartoon in Spanish

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Follow Translator Fun on Twitter: @TranslatorFun and on Facebook

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Are you making the best use of social media for your business?

Are you making the best use of social media for your business? -- click on the image to enlarge

Are you making the best use of social media for your business? -- click on the image to enlarge

Read this article in Spanish>>

A common perception of social networking sites is that they are good for socializing with friends, family, and strangers, “goofing around”, and not too much else. But social media and social networking sites (such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.) have been growing in popularity and utility for businesses for some time now. Many professionals are viewing these as tools, taking advantage of them, and using them to build their business. Freelance translators are no exception.

Some translators still seem reluctant when it comes to using social networks as a marketing tool for their businesses (see these ProZ.com‘s poll results from 2009 and 2010). Some are testing the waters, and others have already become adept at leveraging key networks with good results.

Social networking communities provide an opportunity for you to contribute your opinions, interests, and skills on the Internet. They can help you recover, maintain, and build your professional business network. Among the most frequently cited benefits of using social media as a marketing tool for your business are:

  • Enhancing your online visibility
  • Advertising your name, personal branding and/or services on the Internet
  • Detecting and utilizing information that can help you grow your business
  • Strengthening your relationships with clients
  • Building an online reputation
  • Reminding your clients that you exist
  • Distinguishing yourself from the rest (by adding/aggregating valuable content)
  • “Entering the dialogue and the 21st century”– not using the Web for networking and prospecting for business “leaves you in the cold”
  • Building up a defined and selected network of like-minded and skilled colleagues
  • Getting your comments and opinions about translation-related topics indexed on Google and other search engines (on Twitter this can be done through a careful selection of “hashtags” like #xl8,  #L10n , #languages)
  • Staying abreast of the latest news and trends in the industry

Other benefits of social networks include:

  • Knowing what your colleagues are up to and following their tips on, and experiences in, translation
  • Finding out about interesting industry blog posts (and promoting yours!)
  • Following the news from one place (as opposed to going to and browsing every site and/or blog on the topics in which you are interested)
  • Receiving help in real-time (Twitter is a good example of this)
  • and having fun

Of course, it is important to start on the right foot. Here are some tips that may help you have a pleasant online experience:

  1. Be clear on what you want to achieve for your business overall.
  2. Build a user profile that is a snapshot of your skills and of the services you offer (this is what your potential clients and colleagues will see). Keep your professional profile and the activity you engage in with that profile professional.
  3. Find out what is out there and invest your energy in the social sites and/or groups that reach your target market or networking needs.
  4. Define and know your criteria for accepting social connections with colleagues and clients and feel comfortable with it (compare the difference of adding a valued, professional connection to simply adding an unknown name to a list of contacts.)

And remember, social networks can be your diary, your address book, a daily newspaper, your online ad and more. It is up to you.

Note: I originally wrote and posted this article on Translator T. O. blog.

Useful links:

Twitter series (part 1) — “Twitter overdose”

Cutting down on Twitter consumption Twitter overdose — Click on the image to enlarge

See post in Spanish and French >>

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Twitter is a social networking service that allows you to answer the question “What are you doing?” by sending short text messages of 140 characters or fewer called “tweets” to your friends, colleagues or “followers”.

Interactions on Twitter are faster and you can communicate with anyone you want by simply typing “@ plus their username” on the text area (email addresses are no longer needed!)

Many professionals are now using Twitter to market their businesses, stay informed and network. As I mentioned in this article, translators seem a little reluctant to start using Twitter as a marketing tool to help them grow their businesses (see these ProZ.com poll results from 2009 and 2010). However, the number of translators and language professionals using Twitter is growing. Some blogs and sites have published lists of their favorite language Twitterers (see The Global2Local current top 5 Favorites on Twitter! and Jared’s list of his favorite ones on Twitter for translators?). Even a competition to choose the Top 25 language Twitterers was held in May 2011. The top 25 language twitters are listed here.

To start “hearing” what your colleagues are tweeting about translation and localization make sure you follow tweets with these hashtags: #xl8, #t9n and #L10n.

If you would like to get some tips on what to tweet and some ideas on twitter timing read this useful article on Social Media Tactics for Translators: Twitter by Silvina Jover-Cirillo.

As for myself, my experience with Twitter has been very rewarding so far. I could see for myself that using Twitter for one’s professional career has many benefits as my colleagues had indicated. My tweeting practice has given me the opportunity to meet colleagues, stay informed about translation-related news, articles, webinars, tools, products and features and to be contacted for work opportunities.

See you on Twitter!

You can follow me @Romina_Bona and @TranslatorFun of course!

Recommended further reading: 5 Ways NOT to Use Twitter for Freelancers