By Marion Rhodes
As 2013 is nearing its end, so is my transition year as a freelancer. The past 12 months have been filled with preparations to grow my business and move up into the ranks of high-end translators. I deliberately kept my work load light to have time to focus on setting up my German/English translation business, Integrated MarCom Translations, for the long run: I’ve updated my website, cleaned up my online profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., started tweeting and blogging, and taken numerous webinars and online classes to help me become a better translator and marketer. Now the time has come to hit the ground running and start aggressively promoting my translation services using the tools I’ve amassed and the skills I’ve honed.
To that end, I participated in a Proz.com webinar last week on how to use social media effectively in only 15 minutes a day to attract more clients. In this webinar, the “Connection Queen” Biba Pedron laid out seven simple strategies to connect with people on social media, a precursor to directing them to your website.
As social media director for the Colorado Translators Association, I was already familiar with many of the points Biba made, such as the importance of completing online profiles or regularly posting on social media sites. However, Biba’s presentation gave me a few ideas on how to take my social media marketing efforts a step further to help expand my reach.
Connect, connect, connect
The most important piece of advice I carried away from this webinar was to become more active in trying to make new online connections. Sure, I’ve gained new followers on Twitter and this blog over the past year, and I’ve added new contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook. Biba, however, recommends inviting 5 to 10 people from within your target market to connect with you every single day – a goal I am far from even approaching. Moreover, Biba underscored the importance of taking a new connection beyond the initial contact request (which should be personalized, not the generic default message).
Biba recommends thanking new contacts for accepting your invitation to connect, then calling them to action by inviting them to visit your website or follow your Facebook profile and asking how you can help them out. “Networking,” she said, “is not about selling. It is about getting exposure and helping people.” I admit, this is uncharted territory for me. Most of my contacts, esp. on LinkedIn, end up as untapped resources in an online friend list, neither of us really aware of where to take this new relationship. So for the coming months, I have set myself a goal of trying to gain 10 new, valuable networking contacts a week. I’m starting small because I really want to focus on the “value,” i.e. trying to make meaningful connections.
Interact, interact, interact
Another new goal of mine is to become more interactive in online forums, on blogs, in professional groups, etc. I am well aware that successful social media marketing depends on getting your name out there, but I simply haven’t taken the time to do this as much as I should. My new goal is to contribute to two professional discussions every day in some form or another. Comment on a blog, reply to a tweet, post in an online forum, whatever. Sounds easy enough. Writing for this blog only counts if I get comments I can address, so don’t be shy, please. 🙂
OK, so these aren’t drastic measures, and all of them are things I have done before, some more than others. The point is that I haven’t done them consistently. Hopefully, I will integrate these networking/marketing tactics in my daily routine as easily as my regular tweets for @IMCTranslations and @CTA_Translators. Let’s see where this will take me in, say, six months. I’ll be sure to post an update.