When I first started my translation business, social media literally scared me.
I had never been a big fan of technology in general, and the thought of having to put myself out there to promote my business was a bit scary.
Nonetheless, I went ahead and did what everyone else was doing—I opened up a Twitter account, a Facebook business page, and updated my LinkedIn profile.
I still was not sure how these accounts were going to help me to find new clients, but I did it anyway.
After all, social media for translators is essential, right? Everyone else is doing it, so it must be the right thing to do.
Well, not necessarily.
I’ve been involved in social media for the past six months.
I’ve consistently posted on my Facebook page, shared articles on Twitter, and posted on my business blog.
But my diligence and online presence through social media has not led me to any potential clients.
So here’s my take on social media–
Social media is a great way to connect with other translators.
It is a way to learn about other businesses and what they do.
It is also a good venue to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with what’s new in the translation world.
But the truth is that spending countless hours on social media will not get me clients.
It may get me a lot of followers and recognition among my peers,
It may allow me to join a bunch of translation forums and vent about the ups and downs of our profession,
But I certainly won’t be making any money from it.
So yes, social media can be a distraction if not managed with care.
It can be a distraction from our most important goal: finding new clients.
Now, not everything is bad about social media.
I’ve truly enjoyed having those accounts and interacting with many fellow translators along the way.
It’s also given me an opportunity to develop my writing skills in my second language.
The key is to find a balance between interacting on social media and the time that we spend translating and finding potential clients.
Because clients don’t go looking for translation services on social media.
Now, hear me out for just a minute.
Pretend to be a client looking for translation services.
Would you go looking for a professional translator on Facebook? Twitter? Good old Instagram?
Of course not.
If you were a client looking for translation services, you would most definitely go online and do a Google search.
Or maybe ask a friend for a referral, right?
So, instead of wasting time sharing articles we haven’t even read ourselves on Twitter and Facebook,
Why not spend some time setting up our own website?
Why not start telling our neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members about what we do and develop some new connections?
This is exactly how I found my first client.
We also need to go where our potential clients hang out,
and out of all the social media platforms that are out there,
LinkedIn is probably the only one worth our time.
Joining groups in our areas of expertise through LinkedIn will give us exposure and an opportunity to become memorable.
But even LinkedIn can take away a lot of our time.
Remember—balance is the key.
Social media can be entertaining, instructive, and fun, but if we are not careful, it will drain us until we have nothing left to give.
The more we focus on our ultimate goal–finding clients– the less we’ll care about wasting our time engaging in activities that will suck our time and keep us from making money.
There’s no other way around it; we need to limit our time spent on social media and focus on those goals that’ll help us to progress and grow financially.
So, what do you think? Is social media essential for translators or a mere distraction?
Would love to hear what you have to say!