After LinkedIn, I believe that Twitter is the most powerful social media tool for freelance translators. I regularly leverage Twitter to connect with potential clients, share content, and publish updates about my business.
Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter is a real time micro-blogging platform. Twitter is a great marketing tool for your business and offers a number of benefits. The sheer size of the Twitter network offers limitless networking possibilities. By being consistently active on Twitter, you will be able to boost traffic to your professional profile and website.
If you want to make the most of Twitter for your professional career, here are some ideas to put into practice.
1. Create your profile.
When creating your profile, be sure to make it professional. When setting up your account, you’ll have the option to import contacts from your email and other media. Use your own discretion in this case. I recommend only importing contacts that are relevant to your business. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more followers you have, the more exposure your tweets will receive.
2. Be authentic and social.
Once your profile is complete, your challenge becomes following other people and getting people to follow you. Decide what translation institutions, language organizations, agencies, target companies and colleagues you are interested in. Find their profiles on Twitter and start following them.
Remember that Twitter is designed for socializing, not marketing. Marketing is an added value that comes from being active in the community. This happens when you reply to other people’s tweets, engaging in conversations that are already taking place, retweet interesting content, comment, post useful information, and follow other users. Think of Twitter as a place where people go to connect with other people they’re interested in, a kind of happy hour setting. If you’re new to the scene and want to make connections, don’t burst in shouting, “I’m available! I’m a translator! Hire me!” The best thing to do is to decide which companies and outsourcers you would most like to work for, and then follow them and read and comment on their tweets, little by little creating an authentic relationship.
3. Find, share, and learn.
In the meantime, you can use Twitter as a platform to share your experience and knowledge and exchange information, interesting articles, and industry tips. Find or create interesting content to share with others. This gives people a reason to tune in to what you have to say. This information could be your own material (a link to your blog) or another useful resource you found on the web. If you find yourself stumped about what to share, simply ask yourself, “As a professional, what do I know that I can share?” You may find that you can talk about the latest trends in the industry, recent CAT tools that have been launched, or new workshops in medical terminology in your country or online. Did you come across a great tutorial that made it easier for you to learn a new tool? Tweet about it!
Another tip: Ask questions on industry-related topics. Interact with others by answering questions and discussing issues. This is a good way to learn about your colleagues’ experiences, get a feeling for hot topics in your industry, and expand your professional network at the same time.
4. Share your here and now.
What’s happening? What are you doing? Talk about your present situation. Don’t be afraid to tell your followers about your current projects. Tweet about workshops or seminars you are attending. Tweet field-specific material. If you find a good glossary, share it with your fellow translators. Soon enough, they will return the favor. In this way, Twitter can also become a tool to share useful resources that facilitate your work.
How to find people on Twitter
One way to find people on Twitter is to use hashtags. Hashtags (#) are used as a kind of keyword, which organizes individual posts into conversations based on certain topics. You can use hashtags in individual posts to target your publications and highlight them for users who are also talking about your industry. Popular hashtags for freelance translation include:
- #xl8 and #t9n (for translation)
- #xl8or (for translator)
- #l10n (for localization)
- #1nt (for interpreting)
- #i18n (for internationalization)
- #g11n (for globalization)
Here is one strategy for finding clients or prospects on Twitter that I think works well:
- Create a private prospect list
- Search for relevant keywords using Twitter’s search function
- Find tweets about your type of services
- Add the people tweeting these keywords or about these services to your prospect list
- Create a prospect column in Hootsuite
- Filter the column for tweets with links
- Track links and note if they are mentioned frequently
- The result is a list of destinations (websites, social media pages) to participate in where your target clients hang out
More in depth information and explanations can be found in the Marketing Cookbook under the recipe for Twitter.
What about you? Have you found a prospect on Twitter? I’m interested in hearing how you make Twitter work for you. Please share your experience in the comments. How do you use Twitter, if at all? I’d love to hear from you!