I’ve found LinkedIn to be the most important social media tool for freelance translators looking to boost their businesses. LinkedIn is the online version of your resume, but it can do so much more than that. Think of it as your online narrative, your reputation, somewhere you can demonstrate the value you bring to your clients. There are hundreds of clients and networking opportunities available on LinkedIn every single day and many of them are available entirely free of charge.
I have personally received clients and referrals from LinkedIn and I want to share some quick tips on how to optimize your experience there, all for free.
You’ll be able to fill in your contact information, professional experience, education history, and a variety of other fields. Be sure to include a professional-looking profile picture (preferably a headshot with a friendly smile). Don’t use your company logo in place of a portrait. People want to see you – the person behind the business! Use your headline and profile summary to briefly describe what you do. Craft a powerful title for your LinkedIn profile, for example, Helping UK law firms and financial service companies communicate in German.
Unless someone clicks on your full profile, your name and title are the only things visible on LinkedIn lists, such as the list “People also viewed” and “People you may know” as well as when you accept someone’s invite to connect. Use strong keywords such as English into Swedish translator or French medical translator. Remember to fill in as many available profile fields as possible, including links to your website or blog. The more complete your profile, the more likely you are to be perceived as an expert. Proofread your work thoroughly and click to publish!
One of LinkedIn’s best functions is the search function. You can search for prospects, colleagues and contacts to connect with and then save the search. Later you’ll be notified about anyone else who also fits your search criteria.
Groups are the second best feature.
Follow prospects to keep abreast of changes, comments and updates. You can follow people in groups without being connected to them. People that find clients through LinkedIn are usually heavily involved in a few select groups. Ask and answer questions, share resources and start conversations.
- Join a group as a way to start conversations with people who could benefit from your services
- Review targeted prospect profiles to discover which groups to participate in.
- Analyze prospects group participation to look for ways to connect
- Provide value by contributing to relevant discussions without expecting immediate returns.
When you find people you want to connect with, take a minute to write a personal invitation to connect.
Ask for recommendations.
Another great feature with LinkedIn is that people can publish endorsements about you and your work, which is a great way to demonstrate your worth to prospective clients. Though it may feel awkward at first, don’t be afraid to request a recommendation from a past colleague or client if you think you did a good job for that person. However, I do not recommend sending the standard recommendation-request message in an effort to prompt responses. Take a moment to edit the message and make it specific to the work you did. You may even mention that as a freelancer, you rely on positive testimonials in order to grow your business. Also mention how much you enjoyed working with the client and that you would be happy to provide a positive recommendation in return for the client’s time.
Post status updates.
These updates appear on the homepage feeds of people connected to you. As always, keep your posts work-related and professional. However, you don’t have to be salesy or stuffy. It’s still perfectly respectable to have a personality, just don’t sacrifice credibility for creativity. Be yourself and add links to interesting articles that are relevant to your audience, projects you’re working on (as long as they’re not confidential), or repost updates from your connections if you think the extra publicity would help them.
The possibilities for LinkedIn are endless and these are just a few tips. I encourage you to schedule some time on LinkedIn every week and linking, commenting, and sharing updates that you think your network would find interesting. It only takes a minute, and your connections will soon see you as a trusted source of great information.