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Freelancers & social media: do we really need to be everywhere?
Thread poster: Alessandra Martelli

Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:32
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 18, 2012

Looking at the recent trends and evolutions of social media marketing & freelancers' approach to it, I sketched some ideas about this:

http://www.mtmtranslations.com/4/post/2012/09/freelancers-social-media-do-you-really-need-to-be-everywhere.html

Would love to hear your experience/opinions on the topic.
What is your approach to social media as business professionals?


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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 01:32
French to English
Thank you for the article Sep 18, 2012

Hello Alessandra,

I couldn't agree more with your conclusion:

"My advice is to choose the 2 or 3 social media platforms you're more keen on and optimise your time investment to stand out on those, rather than running after the next big thing and ending up with little to no results. Also, do not forget to promote yourself in the real world as well."

As a freelancer, I started out spreading myself too thin on various platforms and have come down to a handful which I manage actively. ProZ is definitely the most interesting in our field of work; I also use LinkedIn to mix it up with professionals from other fields (that wine specialist I know in London; that real estate agent I know in San Francisco) and I use Facebook strictly for personal stuff, although many of my colleagues are also friends, so I see them there, too.

Coming from a background in tourism, I, like many other heads of structures, jumped enthusiastically on the e-train when it all began. But it comes down to maintaining the impetus and therefore not biting off more than you can chew. Also, nothing for nothing – you’ve still got work to do even if you have profiles all over the place.

I must say that LinkedIn was particularly useful to me when a restructuration occurred within one of the publishing houses that I worked for as a freelancer: some of the editors who had been made redundant were "linked in" to me, so to speak, and so I was able to contact them even after their professional e-mail accounts had been deactivated. I let them know that I had enjoyed working for them and that my services would remain available to them. One, in particular, went on to open a media business and I am still hoping that we’ll work together again.


[Edited at 2012-09-19 07:21 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I don't use any social media Sep 18, 2012

or to quote Homer Simpson:

(scathing, sarcastic, dismissive tone of voice):

"The Internet? Is that thing still around?"


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:32
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Veronica for sharing your experience Sep 18, 2012

Hi Veronica,

first of all, thank you very much for taking the time to read my musings and share your experience.


As a freelancer, I started out spreading myself too thin on various platforms and have come down to a handful which I manage actively.


I guess this is pretty common in our field. I also started setting up different profiles of professional platforms, but ended up skimming and refining and now manage just a few (FB for personal purpose only, despite sharing some news & articles that might be useful/valuable to other translators-friends - in the end we all need to keep some "work-free" space!).

I have never been a fan of "follow me and I'll follow you back" systems, so my professional approach to social media has been a bit careful - i.e. I evaluated some platforms and chose the ones which looked more relevant and less "intoxicated" by such systems.

I think social media platforms are a great tool to share knowledge & valuable information with peers, as well as being very useful to keep contacts with friends and colleagues living far away, but as I pointed out in the article freelancers should use them with caution, since they tend to be very time-consuming. Moreover, shouting out all of someone's self on the internet could have serious consequences on professional image & credibility.


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:32
English to Polish
+ ...
Social media Sep 19, 2012

I try to be active on LinkedIn, but to be honest, I do not think I have yet come to understand how it works.

I observe many colleagues posting links to some articles related to our industry, but this is basically ALL they do: re-post someone else's content.

I do not understand how the ability to find articles or blogs can build your professional image.

After all, can't anyone search the Internet? Unless I am missing something here... which I may be.

What are your thoughts?

Maja


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:32
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
LinkedIn & Social Media Sep 19, 2012

Hi Maja,

You are raising a good question. Allow me first to clear potential confusion: Social Media Marketing is just one of many "subcategory" of Internet Marketing. For the sake of simplicity and because many sub-categories of Internet Marketing are useless for translators, here are the most important ones that can be applied to our industry

- Social Media Marketing (to an extent)
- Online/Social Networking
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing

I will not go into too much detail as that would be very long but as I mentionned I'm preparing an article on that and working on an E-Book as well but the basics is: LinkedIn is not Socal Media marketing - LinkedIn is a professional network meant to connect professionals worldwide and industries-wide, therefore it falls under the "Online Networking" category and it is actually the most serious and business-like of all. You can truly create a reputation thanks to LinkedIn - and creating a reputation starts with content marketing.

However not all of us are writers, and/or have time to maintain a blog to share their expertise (and also many choose not to share it - after all it is their right to keep their competencies and knowledge that they worked hard to acquire).

So to answer your question, in short, what they are doing is being "social" (broadcasting other people's contents they find interesting) while sharing given contents on a topic they want to be seen as experts in, or specialized in, for example. That way they combine being social (I share your article because I find it interesting and my followers are happy because they don't have to search for it / they had not seen it / they don't have time to search in the mass of blogs out there / etc.)

To make it concrete : for example a legal translator who shares legal news from his target market is using a double online marketing strategy: social and content, while doing his reputation good - the authors of the news may be potential end clients and by constantly sharing their stuff he/she makes herself noticed. And on the other side, his/her followers see her/him as the legal expert.

Of course this is tricky, each social site has an unwritten etiquette and that kind of strategy can backfire really quickly and ungly. And it takes time, that's for sure...

Anyway if you are interested, I'll give you the link of the article I'll write on that.
Right now I have a deadline to meet so I'll get back to my proofreading

Cheers!
Anne

[Edited for typo]

[Edited at 2012-09-19 11:16 GMT]


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:32
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Oh, one last thing Sep 19, 2012

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:

I try to be active on LinkedIn, but to be honest, I do not think I have yet come to understand how it works.


Being active on LinkedIn does not mean flooding your contact's newsfeed constantly, this is just one tiny (and dangerous as stated above) aspect of a LinkedIn strategy.

Truth is, being successfully active on LinkedIn happens 90% in other site areas, like groups, LinkedIn answers or Events - and people! Searching for prospects and via private message starting to establish a relationship (tricky etiquette here too). That is the real core of LinkedIn - searching for people and networking with them

[Edited at 2012-09-19 09:48 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A repository of contacts Sep 19, 2012

To me, Facebook and LinkedIn are repositories of the contacts made during my profession (and in my life in general of course).

My friends and contacts in these two platforms are frequently people who have changed companies or have left the profession but with whom I like to keep in touch for whatever reason. I rarely use the platforms for advertising or bug people with news or reviews, but do use them frequently just to stay in touch and up-to-date with interesting people and friends.


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:32
English to Polish
+ ...
Good explanation Sep 19, 2012

Anne Diamantidis wrote:
That is the real core of LinkedIn - searching for people and networking with them

[Edited at 2012-09-19 09:48 GMT]


Thank you, Anne, for your two posts - very informative and I see your point. I guess what I personally hate are contacts whose updates are so frequent that I start to consider them spammers.

What I find even more annoying are people openly marketing their services as their updates. I have seen this only for one of my contacts, but it has really put me off.

So your sentence quoted above takes me to another question: how about this rule that you should only invite people you know? I do not think this is very much respected. I receive emails such as "Hi Maja, You know x and I know x, too. Let's connect!" And I think I do not mind this.

Does it mean it is always OK to invite people you do not know?

When you are done with your job (mine is also waiting), please consider my questions.

Maja


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:32
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Marketing purposes & expectations Sep 19, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

To me, Facebook and LinkedIn are repositories of the contacts made during my profession (and in my life in general of course).

My friends and contacts in these two platforms are frequently people who have changed companies or have left the profession but with whom I like to keep in touch for whatever reason. I rarely use the platforms for advertising or bug people with news or reviews, but do use them frequently just to stay in touch and up-to-date with interesting people and friends.


Yep, it is another use of LinkedIn (Facebook is a whole other matter), it's a decision: not using LinkedIn for marketing purposes per se, and therefore having no marketing expectations. It is still a form of marketing, what I like to call "idle marketing" - your LinkedIn profile remains an additional shop-window of your services, a static page like your ProZ profile, which still enriches your online presence, but nothing more.

LinkedIn is a mine of prospects and clients but it takes a lot of time and energy, time a freelancer rarely has.

The most important IMO is that we choose what we want to do/not do and expect with and from these tools - and we are happy with the way we do it.


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:32
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
LinkedIn Netiquette Sep 19, 2012

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
I guess what I personally hate are contacts whose updates are so frequent that I start to consider them spammers.


Yes, the etiquette of the LinkedIn News Feed is tricky and it's perfectly natural to be annoyed by those updates. Twitter is meant for that, not LinkedIn (which is why I consider linking your Twitter and your LinkedIn a big no-no).

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
What I find even more annoying are people openly marketing their services as their updates. I have seen this only for one of my contacts, but it has really put me off.


That's another "violation" of an unwritten rule of social marketing - that form of marketing is not advertising. It's about people (hence the "social") and not about you. of course you are indirectly promoting yourself but direct advertising is another no-no. Check out some of my articles on that, you may find some answers (I hope)

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
So your sentence quoted above takes me to another question: how about this rule that you should only invite people you know? I do not think this is very much respected.


No, it's not, you're right. Facebook is meant for only people you actually know. LinkedIn is a business networking site, so the ice needs to be broken one way or another if you're on LinkedIn to make contacts. It's really up to you. Some people only accpet people they know, others accept anyone, others choose to be a "LION" (LinkedIn Open Networker), which means anybody can connect with them. It's really up to you, based on what you want to do with LinkedIn.

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
I receive emails such as "Hi Maja, You know x and I know x, too. Let's connect!" And I think I do not mind this.


If you're fine with that, then everything's okay - again it's up to each person

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
Does it mean it is always OK to invite people you do not know?


Yes but it's not that simple - a good way is to personnalize the connection request as much as you can. If it's someone you really don't know, never use the standard LinkedIn message "I'd like to add you to my professional network" or "since you are person I trust, etc.". Try to find an ice-breaker. Likewise, don't enter that you're "friends"...

Maja Źróbecka, MITI wrote:
When you are done with your job (mine is also waiting), please consider my questions.


Ok now I really need to finish it Good luck with yours!

[Edited at 2012-09-19 10:17 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Results? Sep 19, 2012

I would be interested to hear if anyone can report any concrete, tangible translating jobs obtained via social media.

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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:32
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Yes Sep 19, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

I would be interested to hear if anyone can report any concrete, tangible translating jobs obtained via social media.


We as a company use Twitter for example when we have a particular need (e.g. a rare language pair) because of its "mouth to ear" power: our contacts see that we need, for example, a Czech to Finnish translator and they will retweet and help propagate the word to their own contacts which will in their turn share with their own contacts and so on. It always worked, there was always at least one translator at the end of the chain replying.

Likewise, posting a job on Twitter "We need a French to German translator specialized in..." for example, always ended with a few applications and jobs for the translator. Many of our long-term translators now come from Twitter or Facebook, because that's where we met. - not to mention LinkedIn which we use actively for "translators head-hunting".

[Edited at 2012-09-19 11:11 GMT]


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:32
English to Polish
+ ...
Twice, but not exactly jobs Sep 19, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

I would be interested to hear if anyone can report any concrete, tangible translating jobs obtained via social media.


Hi Tom,

I was approached twice by prospects with a request to send my CV. There have been no jobs out of this yet, but still I had an opportunity to submit solicited details to two companies.

Maja


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:32
French to English
+ ...
A means of communication like any other Sep 19, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

I would be interested to hear if anyone can report any concrete, tangible translating jobs obtained via social media.


I have been referred to several good clients by people I interact with on social media (Twitter, primarily - also the ITI forums, which act more as "old-style" social media), and have passed on such referrals in turn.

Twitter is not so different from the ProZ.com forums, really (though it's less structured); it soon becomes apparent who is impressive and who isn't.


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