written by Nicole König
Life is hard and marketing can be a bit of a bee in your bonnet, especially if you’re much more comfortable walking the walk than talk the talk. Maybe LinkedIn has you overwhelmed. Facebook changes rules and reach faster than any sane person could keep up with. And ProZ feels like the everlasting Black Friday of language services.
With paid subscriptions and paid advertisement on all these sites and each platform playing by a set of rules that aren’t too obvious to the unsuspecting translator, things can get murky, to say the least. Let me give you an “in” and get you started on the three most powerful marketing tools for language professionals.
If in doubt whether to hit send, just contemplate if you would like to do business with the person behind your message.
Now, let’s talk about Facebook:
If you choose Facebook as your preferred hunting ground, it will pay off to have a business page set up, before actively participating in groups and on boards your dream clients use. That way, whenever you say something potentially life-changing, they can look you up and find you an established professional with something to say instead of a one-hit wonder.
Meaning: If you go through the steps to set up a Facebook page, be smart about it. Plan ahead and be prepared to commit to consistency and relevance.
- Make sure your page reflects your professional approach: An Impressum, your logo, a link to your business website, ever-present contact information are a must.
- Don’t lay all your eggs in one basket. On its own, your Facebook page won’t do much to drive business your way. It can certainly help get you noticed, but the current Facebook variables provide a less than ideal soil to grow meaningful reach and leads to your dream clients without putting in a LOT of time and at least some money. What your page can be is a relevant stepping stone between your Facebook presence in groups and your website, though.
- Using your Facebook page to blog or share articles you’ve published elsewhere is one way to keep it alive and put it to good use. Don’t know what to write about? While you’re browsing groups aka client watering holes, jot down potential blog topics. Read on for my bonus tips on blogging for business.
- Make sure to be super clear on the clients you want to target. That way, you can streamline your approach and invest your time wisely; meeting, greeting and reeling in the people you want to get to know you.
- Keep in mind to actually enter the groups and boards where your dream clients mingle. Facebook especially is like a 24/7 coffee shop for home office heroes and spending a lot of time inside translation/interpreting groups might be nurturing and inspiring and all those good things but what it is not is ideal hunting ground if you want to get in touch, get familiar and get to second business base with your dream clients.
- Play it cool. Let your presence and reach grow naturally. Don’t push. Make an effort to hit the sweet spot, be present without being a nuisance. Your expertise and charm will create a pull your targeted clients find irresistible.
- If the personal approach through groups is your thing, I would suggest using your real name as your brand. One marketing approach could be: you provide outstanding service AND there’s the added bonus of potential clients knowing exactly who they’re talking to when they reach out. The expert they “found” online and want to make the ace up their sleeve, that’s who.
As I mentioned above, the parameters of Facebook are ever-evolving to best meet the platform’s paying clients, aka businesses that pay for ads.
Two pieces of good news:
- There’s something to learn here. Does Facebook care that its parameters don’t really work for the dozens, if not hundreds of thousands of language professionals hanging out on the platform all the live-long day, potentially contemplating to use Facebook’s paid ad services? Nope. Facebook’s dream clients are big players. Zuckerberg’s minions do their best to cater to those golden geese. That includes keeping their favorite audience happy and present on the platform. That’s you, by the way.
- You don’t really need Facebook ads. That’s right. As small business owners, playing it smart on Facebook means hand-picking the clients you want to work with and reaching out, making yourself available only to them. Take a page out of Facebook’s own playbook here. Define your clients, find your clients, learn what they need, provide that. Easy as pie.
Regardless of the platform of your choice, blogging for business can work in your favor threefold:
- As a language professional, you promote your writing skills.
- Its advertising appeal lies in the genius but straightforward way to set yourself up as an expert in your niche.
- If you did your homework on your core audience, there’s no better way to reach them, charm them and pull them towards the big pink buy button than providing content that works as advertising yourself, but doesn’t feel like advertising.
Plus, it’s easy when you know who you’re talking to.
Yes, this is me reminding you not to spread yourself too thin. This is me telling you that the smaller the niche, the better your chances to become the go-to person for high-ticket clients. But that’s a tale for another day.
- Define your core audience, the people you would love to work with. Again: The smaller and better defined the audience you want to reach, the better you can cater to them.
- Become part of their community, their watering holes, in short: their world. On Facebook, the simple way to rub elbows with your target group is joining groups and interacting with THEIR pages and output.
- Be the fly on the wall, learn about their pain points and issues, the newest trends and ever-returning sorrows, flat-out cries for help. This is your chance to bring valuable input to the table and provide no-strings-attached, free support.