Which social networks to focus on to attract more clients, and how to use them?
Thread poster: Lucas Peixoto

Lucas Peixoto  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:57
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 6

Hi everyone,

My career as a professional translator is relatively new. I had a lucky start 2 years ago with a single client who sent me a large volume of work and paid well. Eventually, that client started sending a considerably lower volume of work, although they still send me projects to this date. I was already in the process of expanding my client base, so the impact of that big client sending less work could be worse, but it was there. I've been moderately successful slowly inc
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Hi everyone,

My career as a professional translator is relatively new. I had a lucky start 2 years ago with a single client who sent me a large volume of work and paid well. Eventually, that client started sending a considerably lower volume of work, although they still send me projects to this date. I was already in the process of expanding my client base, so the impact of that big client sending less work could be worse, but it was there. I've been moderately successful slowly increasing my client portfolio, in part thanks to ProZ.

Lately I decided to invest more time into increasing my professional presence on the internet as a whole, and I was wondering how and where to do so. I know LinkedIn is one of the usual suspects, but what other social networks and/or websites would you recommend to help me advertise my services to the right audience?

I have been working as a generalist but I wish to specialize into technology-related fields such as IT, telecom, websites, apps and games. I know software and game developers use Twitter a lot, so I already made a profile there. I also made a personal portfolio at http://www.translatorlucas.com.

Any advice on important social networks and/or websites I should be using, or how to make the best use of LinkedIn, Twitter and others, is very welcome!

Best,
Lucas

[Edited at 2019-07-07 13:35 GMT]
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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Lucas Jul 7

I have no social network accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, or the like), except for the more professional LinkedIn. All my contacts with clients and other translators are either direct, through my website or through translation platforms like Proz. After 40 years in the business (a few years part-time, 20 years in-house and 13 years as an independent translator), I have been fortunate enough to have gained a strong network of contacts within the industry, without all the chit-chat that goes a... See more
I have no social network accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, or the like), except for the more professional LinkedIn. All my contacts with clients and other translators are either direct, through my website or through translation platforms like Proz. After 40 years in the business (a few years part-time, 20 years in-house and 13 years as an independent translator), I have been fortunate enough to have gained a strong network of contacts within the industry, without all the chit-chat that goes along with every social media site. In my view, the usefulness of social networks depends, to a great extent, on who are your potential clients, which areas you call yourself an expert and what services you provide. A direct client looking to translate a CV might go to FB, but I doubt very much that an international organization looking to translate a report will do the same…Collapse


Kevin Fulton
Tradupro17
Daniel Olsson
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
the more, the better Jul 7

A clever fisher timely uses many tools in divers places with various baits for different fishes.
Lucas, whatever your preferences, you should use all the available means with the audience in mind--the sky is your limit, not translation. I'm afraid, a good name ("personal branding" aka image) is a must, but it works better for a personal site, not where multitudes of rivals concentrated.

Once I used to leave my business cards at offices, restaurants, and public places and now I work with local direct clients only and three big clients (and sometimes six more loyal customers) make my principal and stable source of income. Who knows, perhaps my biz approach and diversification is not so duplicable, yet it will suffice to earn enough for a decent living for sure, avoiding middlemen who can never afford paying my rates.

(Not without reason) they say that "working harder has very little to do with earning more".

Cheers


Daniel Olsson
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Be where your potential clients are Jul 7

Of course you know that you need to hang out where your potential clients are likely to see you. Where's that? I'm really too old to integrate easily in these new-fangled things at all, but I Googled for - social networks for programmers - and found loads, from the biggies to several I'd never heard of. So replacing "programmers" with your clients' sector would be a useful first move.

Although I've managed without them, I do think that youngsters need to keep abreast of all the late
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Of course you know that you need to hang out where your potential clients are likely to see you. Where's that? I'm really too old to integrate easily in these new-fangled things at all, but I Googled for - social networks for programmers - and found loads, from the biggies to several I'd never heard of. So replacing "programmers" with your clients' sector would be a useful first move.

Although I've managed without them, I do think that youngsters need to keep abreast of all the latest ways of doing business. Dinosaurs and ostriches don't do themselves any favours.
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Daniel Olsson
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Set up pages, not feeds Jul 7

Lucas Peixoto wrote:
Any advice on important social networks and/or websites I should be using, or how to make the best use of LinkedIn, Twitter and others, is very welcome!


I think you should try to set up a page (profile page) on all of these networks, but think twice before setting up something that requires you to post regularly to make a good impression. Put links to all these profiles on your web site somewhere, so that you can visit them regularly to keep them up to date more easily.

If you really, really want to have e.g. a Twitter feed with regular messages, write down three months' or one year's worth of messages before you start the feed, so that you can keep up the appearance of regularity without missing a beat. But such feeds are typically followed only if you are a fun personality or if you're an expert at something with interesting things to say.


Morano El-Kholy
 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:57
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Beware of using social networks Jul 7

Dear Lucas,

I’ve opened several social accounts when I thought I should, to protect my business. My sole purpose was to protect my name. I’m a freelancer like most of us, so I can’t afford anyone posting under my name.

When my friends started urging me to join Facebook, I decided to set up a Facebook account, but only on a smartphone running an account that has nothing to do with my professional account. The same goes for Insta.

Translators who tie
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Dear Lucas,

I’ve opened several social accounts when I thought I should, to protect my business. My sole purpose was to protect my name. I’m a freelancer like most of us, so I can’t afford anyone posting under my name.

When my friends started urging me to join Facebook, I decided to set up a Facebook account, but only on a smartphone running an account that has nothing to do with my professional account. The same goes for Insta.

Translators who tie in their working PC with, for instance, Facebook are giving away more information about their online behaviour than even the simplest of NDAs allow, continually.

This morning I received my first WhatsApp message from someone I don’t know, who wanted me to know he had sent me an e-mail. I was livid, but I’m old.

You can register and sign in into a ProZ account with a Facebook or LinkedIn password. That would be extremely silly for anyone who has ever signed any contract or NDA agreement.

Cheers,
Gerard
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Daryo
 

Lucas Peixoto  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:57
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 8

Thank you very much to everyone who replied. Some of your comments were very helpful and clarifying.

DZiW: Once I used to leave my business cards at offices, restaurants, and public places and now I work with local direct clients only and three big clients (and sometimes six more loyal customers) make my principal and stable source of income


I did recently start to leave my business cards in such places as well. So far It hasn't given me many results. One person contacted me, but didn't close the deal after I gave her an estimate. It may have something to do with the current context in Brazil. Our economy is very slow at the moment and both people and companies are cutting expenses. This has affected the volume of work I receive from my previous Brazilian clients as well, as I mentioned in my first post. I think it's always good to target my local market, but some translator friends agree that we should focus on the international market.

Sheila Wilson: I Googled for - social networks for programmers - and found loads, from the biggies to several I'd never heard of. So replacing "programmers" with your clients' sector would be a useful first move.


Thank you for the suggestion, Sheila. I did the same search and was surprised to see how many networks are developing in different sectors. However, I'm not sure if spending my time and resources in a large number of different places is the best way to go. I'll give this a bit more thought...

Samuel Murray: If you really, really want to have e.g. a Twitter feed with regular messages, write down three months' or one year's worth of messages before you start the feed, so that you can keep up the appearance of regularity without missing a beat.


I believe this is great advice, and others have mentioned it to me as well. I'll definitely look into building a bit of a bank of messages for publications.

It seems to me that a good strategy would be to continue focusing most of my efforts on ProZ, but have an account on some strategic social networks and keep it relatively active in order to maintain a presence elsewhere too, especially considering it's possible to do cross searches between ProZ and other websites.

Again, thank you all for your replies. More input in this discussion is also always appreciated.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:57
German to English
Social media users not my target market Jul 8

Call me old school, retrograde, a stick-in-the-mud, or anything else you may like, but I don't use social media as a means of obtaining customers. I briefly tried LinkedIn, but when I realized that it had taken over my address book and had sent requests to my correspondents, I canceled the account.

My target market consists of professionals looking for professional translations. LinkedIn might be a useful outlet, but due to privacy issues, I chose not to participate.

I
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Call me old school, retrograde, a stick-in-the-mud, or anything else you may like, but I don't use social media as a means of obtaining customers. I briefly tried LinkedIn, but when I realized that it had taken over my address book and had sent requests to my correspondents, I canceled the account.

My target market consists of professionals looking for professional translations. LinkedIn might be a useful outlet, but due to privacy issues, I chose not to participate.

I used Facebook for a while to keep track of events relating to a class reunion, then used it to share my photography and political commentary, but stopped contributing when hackers sent "friend" requests. Facebook is a useful outlet for hobbyists and people wishing to share pictures of their adorable cats, puppies and grandchildren, but I don't see it as a site for obtaining work in my target market.
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Tradupro17
Teresa Borges
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
For a reasonable ROI you generally need more than five minutes here and there Jul 8

Lucas Peixoto wrote:
It seems to me that a good strategy would be to continue focusing most of my efforts on ProZ, but have an account on some strategic social networks and keep it relatively active in order to maintain a presence elsewhere too, especially considering it's possible to do cross searches between ProZ and other websites.

I know you hear about people who sign up somewhere, spend five minutes, and then land a great job. However, I believe those cases are really rare. The investment doesn't always have to be financial (although money always helps) but the more effort you put into something - anything - the more likely you are to see a return on your investment. Personally, I use ProZ.com as my professional shop window so I'm happy to invest money as well as time here. Then I have a far more basic presence on a couple of other translation platforms, in a few specific FB groups, and on LinkedIn. Then there are the ever-useful business cards. I agree with your strategy but would advise you to restrict yourself to just a very few networks - the ones that you're happiest on and/or seem likeliest to be used by potential clients.


Philippe Etienne
Rachel Waddington
Teresa Borges
Fathy Shehatto
Mr.Venturini
 


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