Social Media for Translators
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Translators
Today I want to talk about the most widely used form of online networking: social networks, or social media. In particular, we’ll talk about social media for translators, and how to use it to find new clients.
This is my big secret about social media: if you want to connect with other translators, talk about yourself, but if you use social media to get in touch with prospective clients, then use social to talk about them.
Why can’t many translators get the best results out of social media? Because they have the right goal in mind, but they try to achieve it in the wrong way.
I see a lot of tweeting about “how to work as a translator”, “top 10 translation techniques”, “best CAT tools” and so on. This works if we’re trying to connect with other translators. But it does not work if we’re trying to connect with potential clients. Why? Because our potential clients are not interested in translation, they are interested in their industry. So use social to talk about their industry or how translation can help their industry.
Now another problem arises: what is our customers’ industry? We don’t always know – and we don’t know because we didn’t do our homework; we didn’t spend enough time defining our target clients.
If you don’t know what “target client” refers to, here’s what it means in a nutshell. The concept of target clients, or target audience, refers to the group of people we want to address. We need to identify them to be able to speak to them, understand their needs and solve their problems. This is why it is vital to have a clear vision of who our target audience is. We analysed the concept of target clients in another article where I showed you how to identify and reach your target clients.
Once you know who you want to talk to, you can start doing “content marketing”; namely writing for the people you want to attract. Content marketing includes content for your website (I’ve created a free guide about how to create a website), and the content you share on social media.
Do you want to translate for a tech company, for example? Write about technology because that is what people in tech companies are reading about. Give them content that will attract them. Write articles about translation and the tech industry. Solve the problem of being an international tech company that needs its communications translated into dozens of languages. Show them how the tech industry is developing in different markets and different languages, and why it needs translation.
That’s how you’re going to attract people in the right companies, who can buy your translation services.
How do you do that? I will show you how to do that with Hootsuite, a social media management software that will help you manage your social media presence. You can use any social media tool you like, but Hootsuite is the best tool I’ve found, and that’s why I’m working with them. My job is to show companies how to use social to attract their potential clients, so I’m just going to share the same tricks with you.
First things first: what’s the main difference between blog content and social media content? When you write on your blog, you need to write original content. To do that you need to find interesting topics, do your research, maybe refer to other articles but then write your own content. You can’t copy and can’t share other people’s content or you’ll be penalised by Google. However, on social the rules change. You need to know that social is not only about creating new content (although you can, of course); it’s also about aggregating the right content to re-share.
Guy Kawasaki, one of the top social media experts, recommends becoming an aggregator of news. Transform your Twitter feed, Google Plus and Facebook pages into a feed for news that you have identified as valuable. Among this content, there will be your own blog’s content, as on TranslatorThoughts’ Twitter account for example. But mostly, you can share other people’s content. Monitor industry hashtags, read industry news, monitor other blogs and LinkedIn, the most professional among the social media channels. Then select the best pieces of content among all these sources and share them with your audience on social media. Does it sound overwhelming? It’s actually easier than it sounds.
First of all, get a Hootsuite account. No worries, it’s free. You can connect up to three profiles there, for example your Twitter account, LinkedIn account and Google Plus page if you have one. If you want to manage more profiles and pages you’ll need to upgrade to Pro.
Then organise your dashboard in a way that makes sense to you. To me, the best way to organise it is to have multiple tabs, one for each social channel. This way you can easily monitor what’s going on with your profiles. In the screenshot below you can see different tabs: TranslatorThoughts Twitter, TranslatorThoughts Facebook, TranslatorThoughts Google Plus, TranslatorThoughts Instagram and TranslatorThoughts LinkedIn. What you see below the tabs is the content of the first one, TranslatorThoughts Twitter. You can actually see three streams: Mentions, My Tweets and Favorites. In this way I can monitor all these different aspects of my Twitter account at a glance, and the same is true for all the other channels.
The next step is to start using some applications, available for free in the app directory, to look for pieces of content related to specific keywords. Two of my favourite apps for this purpose are Tagfeeda and Talkwalker, which are both free. In the example below I’m using them to search for content related to the tech industry, so I used the keyword “Tech industry”.
You can also use Twitter’s search in order to find tweets with these keywords. For example: are you targeting financial companies that need to translate material into South American Spanish? Start looking for content related to the financial sector using keywords such as “financial news”, “finance”, and “banking system” or similar. If you want, you can also filter by language.
You can also look for news about South America, since this is your target market, and your target clients will definitely be interested in this type of information. When you find them, use the sharing function to be able to share these pieces of content, tweets or articles on your own channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…)
You can use the RSS feed app to display your own blog articles or other blogs on the dashboard as well. Alternate the content you find on all these sources with content you wrote yourself.
The main goal is to put out content that will attract your potential clients, and make you look like an expert in your field. The more niche your field is, the better.
Take advantage of the scheduling functionality to spread your content nice and evenly across the week.
Another thing you can do is installing an application called Riffle (again, you’ll find it in the Hootsuite app directory). Once you have it installed on your dashboard, you can drag and drop any profile from Twitter (simply drag and drop the profile picture of the person into the app) and you’ll get all the information that is publicly available for this person, including their LinkedIn account or Facebook profile. If you want, you can take it from there: see what company they’re working for and connect with them on LinkedIn (consider upgrading your LinkedIn account if you want to see their full profile)
The last tip I want to share for getting the most out of social media is to leverage LinkedIn Groups. Again, you can connect some LinkedIn Groups in Hootsuite and manage the conversations from there. Why LinkedIn Groups? Because if you know your target clients you can simply find Groups where they gather and talk about their industry. Start reading what they talk about, and then start participating in the conversations. It’s a good way to present yourself (people will see your tagline, such as “Financial translator”, “Marketing translator”, any time you contribute to the group with a new post or question), position yourself as an expert in the field, and build trust and relationships with the people who can potentially buy your translation skills.
So these are a few ways that you can leverage social media to find new clients; ways that go beyond the simple tweeting about “translation tips”.
To sum up:
- > Know your target clients
- > Know what they’re interested in (their industry)
- > Give it to them, so they’ll start reading it and notice you
- > Do proactive research about them
- > Build relationships and trust
- > If you’ve profiled your clients correctly, your services will likely solve one of their business needs, so you’ll match their need with your service and earn new clients
I hope this was useful, let me know what you think in the comments below and if you think this short guide could benefit your colleagues, share it with them. Let’s make the best out of social media!