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Freelancers: 4 tips to tweet your way to new translation clients

by Catherine Jan on January 15, 2011

I had heard of freelancers landing jobs through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter… but wasn’t sure of how much was made up and mythical.

No more suspension of disbelief because it actually happened to @TranslateTrad.

Backtrack to Tuttle Paris

I met with the Tuttle Paris group in November. Lilian Mahoukou rounded us up to talk about social media and branding. My interest was promptly piqued since I’d like to translate (and sometimes transcreate) not only websites, but Facebook pages, LinkedIn company profiles,  slideshares (my dream), blog posts, and why not, Twitter tweets.

I’d also like to get my own name out there using social media.

Our discussion, as interesting as it was, did not directly lead me to my client. Maxime Souillat, another attendee, is responsible. Also known as @beaucouplus on Twitter.

One of Maxime’s Twitter contacts later tweeted a request for a French to English USA translator. (OK, I’m Canadian, but I did grow up 45 minutes from Buffalo.)

Maxime suggested @TranslateTrad. Then came a direct message on Twitter. Then e-mail. Then phone call. Then quote. Then in-person meeting. Then translation. I lucked out because his website material was right up my alley.

My advice for finding clients on Twitter

If you’d like to get new clients using Twitter, I recommend four things:

1. Tweet about translation

Anyone who is thinking of hiring you will skim down your last twenty tweets. So tweet something useful. When I first made contact with my client, I looked at my recent tweets and felt reassured. My tweets were mostly about web writing, translation and marketing. I did not tweet about my guinea pig.

2. Follow people who work in your industry to see what they’re tweeting about

If you specialize in chocolate, follow the chocolatiers. If you specialize in wind energy, follow the wind experts. Keep an eye on recent developments and possibly “join the conversation” using Twitter’s reply feature.

3. Tweet out your home-made translation-related blog entries, newsletters, glossaries, and punctuation guides

Give. And don’t be shy about that the fact that you eat, sleep, breathe and tweet translation.

4. Meet your tweeps

Whether we’re talking about a twitter referral or any other kind of word-of-mouth recommendation, people are more likely to pass on your name if they’ve met you in real life. A handshake is worth a thousand retweets.

Good luck!

If you like this Twitter-related post, read my old post about using Twitter as a well-staffed learning resource centre.

Do you think that translators can use Twitter to get new clients? Have you ever landed work by tweeting?

{ 9 comments }

Michel January 15, 2011 at 17:21

Bravo Catherine ! J’aime beaucoup vos tweets, toujours pertinents.

catherinetranslates January 15, 2011 at 18:04

Thanks, glad to hear it.

Gail January 18, 2011 at 16:59

No tweeting about guinea pigs?! I better go through my past tweets and start deleting. Just kidding – you’ve provided excellent advice and it’s great to hear it worked out for you :) The power of social media continues to surprise me – the Social Network won Best Film Drama at the Golden Globes!

catherinetranslates January 18, 2011 at 22:17

Thanks Gail. Yes, social media is powerful. I believe that freelancers should take advantage of it.

“The Social Network” is apparently about Facebook (haven’t seen it). I’m still not sure about Facebook’s potential for B2B marketing though.

Dong korean translator January 23, 2011 at 02:25

Great post! I am new to social media marketing. Everyone is pointing out that this is going to be the future, with Twitter and Facebook taking the lead. So maybe this is the direction to go – it is free advertising.

catherinetranslates January 23, 2011 at 08:36

Yes, we can use social media to get visibility and it is free-of-charge. We are not paying for brochures or magazine ads to get our names out there. It just requires elbow grease to create, look for and share useful information. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Andrei Shmatkov November 18, 2012 at 23:21

Thank you, Catherine! That’s exactly what I have been looking for – specific instructions on using Twitter for promoting my translation services:)

Roman Mironov November 23, 2012 at 10:02

Great article, thanks! These are the basics that we all need to be reminded from time to time since it’s so easy to forget about them. I’d also add that it’s a great idea to include translation-related hashtags in your tweets because people are searching for them specifically.

Best wishes,
Roman
http://www.twitter.com/veliortrans

Rose - German to English Translator December 26, 2012 at 05:01

Great tips, Catherine! I follow some in my target industries, but you’re right, I should perhaps follow a greater number. The risk with twitter is that we can become a little too engaged with other translators alone, and not with (potential) clients…

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