Social media is here to stay, with its usage spanning across all industries. The languages industry is slowly but surely taking advantage of this vehicle, and individual freelancers should be no exception. This article provides the steps to be taken in using the Twitter medium to enhance a linguist's online presence and produce business leads.
Twitter (www.twitter.com), for those who are unfamiliar with this platform, is a form of micro-blogging where users create an account, including a username and password, and then proceed to publish short messages limited to 140 characters or less, known as “tweets”, about any subject matter imaginable. Twitter is unique in that these short messages can be sent at anytime and from a variety of electronic devices, including hand-held devices such as cell phones and laptop computers. Users can also follow other Twitter users that they find of interest. A number of Twitter related applications have also been developed in order to enhance the Twitter experience, and also provide different ways for individuals, and companies, in particular, to manage the interaction with their followers.
The following are some tips which linguists can use to broaden their online presence, as well obtain project offers through Twitter:
1. Pick a username and profile name that can readily identifiable with either you personally, your business name, or your industry. Otherwise, you will not show up in searches by other users looking for individuals in the translation industry.
2. Follow other Twitter users who have either common interests, for example, other legal translators or other medical interpreters, to keep abreast of new developments. Twitter is also an educational tool and much can be learned from posts from those with similar interests.
3. Is there a translation agency you are interested in working for? More and more language companies are setting up profiles on Twitter and sending out messages about their current activities. Some language companies also keep up a live feed of projects for which they need linguists.
4. Be particular about who you choose to follow. Profiles of your followers can be seen on your profile page, and can leave either a negative or positive impression on those who are considering whether or not to follow you.
5. Be a good Twitter citizen. Follow back those who follow you. It is an easy way to thank someone else for taking interest in your tweets.
6. Be consistent in your message. If your Twitter account has been set up for business, stick to that professional tone as much as possible. If you would like to send out personal thoughts and ideas, consider setting up a separate Twitter account.
7. Potential clients may search for your services via specific key words. If those words appear regularly in your tweets, or even your profile description, the chances of appearing in search results increases. Key words in both your target and source languages can boost your results as well.
8. Be proactive. Follow interesting profiles, and send messages to other users you would like to communicate with. Offer a special or free giveaway. Direct interested parties to your Proz.com profile, your website, or both.
Twitter is one of many tools that can be used by linguists to both interact with outsourcers, potential clients and colleagues. As part of a solid marketing plan, the effective use of Twitter can raise a linguist’s profile and make them more noticeable to potential clients.
Suzanne Deliscar is a Canadian lawyer-linguist translating in the French-English and Spanish-English language pairs. Her focus is on official document and legal translation. She can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/suzannedeliscar. For free guide on how to use various Twitter features, please e-mail Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.