“Do I have to use ALL of these? How in the world are they different, anyway?”
Whether you’re a new or experienced translator, using social media tools will benefit you immensely. You see, it’s 2016 and social media permeates our lives. It has become a great marketing and networking tool.
However, it intimidates many professionals, just like my friend.
No, you don’t have to use them all. In fact, just pick one, start the habit of using it regularly (once a week, daily, whatever works best for your schedule), and focus on mastering it. Once you’re comfortable with it, repeat the process for a second tool. It’s kind of like learning a language, you’ll have the foundation in place, making it quicker to grasp.
When you start using multiple social media platforms, use a dashboard app made for managing them all in one place. Hootsuite and Buffer are quite popular. They increase efficiency, so you don’t lose precious time logging in every day and posting to them one at a time. These apps allow you to schedule posts in advance and link all of your accounts in one place (hence the term dashboard).
After I explained all of this to my friend, I had to decide how to start answering the second million dollar question, “What’s the difference between each of these?” The gears in my head were running at full speed. See, that simple question has a very complex answer.
I’m a newcomer to marketing and networking on social media, too. I gained all my knowledge through reading articles and hands-on experience with the tools. I still learn something new every day, for example, I just learned about Twitter analytics.
I admitted, “I don’t have experience with all of these on your list, but I’ll tell you what I know about the ones I’ve used.” After our conversation, I decided to share the same thoughts here, since translators probably have the same questions.
4 Tools: How each serves
Twitter – Has a more colorful and interactive marketing feel with its emphasis on the visual and on sharing short blips of information. It’s a great source for news about the industry and your specialization field. You can see what your colleagues are up to and support them. You can also seek out direct clients or agencies and interact with them in a brief, personal but professional manner. This way you get on their radar for the next job in your language pair. I also find it useful for gauging an agency’s values. Their tweets give an impression about their attitude toward the industry, machine translation, and more.
Instagram – Great for marketing your brand, even though it seems the least likely tool for translators (a text-focused career), since it is photo-based. This platform is for telling your story with pictures and captions. In a way, it’s the most low maintenance one to use, just take a photo, write a short caption with hashtags, and post. Use it to tell your brand story visually. It shows your human side to colleagues or clients. For those visual learners, it will ensure they remember your brand. For example, I’m the translator who works in the PNW (pictures of forests where I go to clear my head), drinks lots of coffee (pictures of me working in cafes), and translates about tourism (pictures of exotic places I’m learning about).