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Social media marketing for translators. Part 1. My experience.

I started my journey in the freelance world in March 2007, so I am a relatively young freelance translator. My very first year as a freelance translator was pretty tough. In fact, I landed only one or two jobs during that year. But then (thank God!) I met the first two agencies who were satisfied with both my experience and quality enough to work with me on a regular basis. I got about 90% of all my translation work through them and was completely satisfied with that situation (big mistake! Now I know that I still had an employee's mentality back then, and this mentality didn't serve me well). But two years ago the situation changed and I started getting a lot less work from those agencies. That was horrible! I realized that I had made a mistake somewhere along the way. So I used my free time to surf all over the web and find information on how other freelancers look for clients and projects, what kind of rates they consider reasonable and how they build their schedule. And I came across the word "marketing" so often that I decided to find out all about it.
In spring 2010 I attended a webinar about Facebook marketing for translators. It opened my eyes on marketing not only in Facebook, but in the Internet as a whole. I realized that having a profile on and a couple other translator directories is not enough. I need to make myself visible for prospective clients. And I also need to learn how to attract direct clients, not just agencies. So I started a website, a blog, a Facebook fan page, registered on Langmates and opened a Twitter account. Later on I added an account on LinkedIn and I recently started learning how to use Google+. Now, after approximately a year and a half of active marketing I can share the results (good and bad):

1. My blog
Now it brings me about 1500-2000 readers a month, provided that I don't publish new posts every day. I know of some translators who update their blogs about twice a week, but honestly I don't think I have strength for that. But even these modest efforts have helped me to make some pretty interesting connections through my blog.
My plans for this blog: making it bilingual so more people can read it. Strangely, I feel more comfortable writing in English than in Russian. That fear needs to be overcome. I also need to change/add a few pages here to make it not just a blog, but my website.
2. My website
It is closed now, let me explain why: I made a mistake with it from the very beginning. It was a Google website with no personal domain, so it didn't really make a difference in web search results etc. I came to the conclusion that it's useless. If you want a website, you need to buy your own domain. That way your marketing will be a lot more effective.
My plans: buying a personal domain and then moving my updated blog-website there.
3. Facebook fan page
Right now I have 122 fans. The webinar I attended really helped me in organizing this page. I definitely love sharing interesting information related to translation and language teaching there. And I love to get comments from my fans.
My plans: attracting more fans and learning how to use the forum there. So far I mainly use the wall and sometimes post pictures. My problem with generating good discussions definitely has to do with me being an introvert. But I'll do my best.
4. Langmates
The website hasn't brought me any new clients yet, but it helped me acquire some useful software for free and to meet some experienced fellow translators. I surely need to update my profile there as I haven't been active there for a couple months.
5. Twitter
Right now I have about 390 followers there. I know it's not much, but I really appreciate everybody who decides to follow me. Thanks to my Twitter friends I landed a few new projects.
My plans: sharing more useful content, attracting more followers and landing more projects.
6. LinkedIn
I met a new agency there that so far pays me the best money :) Plus their projects are pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I can't be present everywhere at once, so Facebook and Twitter are my primary marketing tools (besides this blog). So I am not very active on LinkedIn.
My plans: right now I don't have them for this social network. Just planning to at least keep up with new topics in the groups which I am a member of.
7. Google+
No clients met so far, just learning to use it. But it looks like a great place :)

What's the main idea about using social media for marketing your services?
Basically, you need to show that you are a specialist. If your tweets, Facebook/LinkedIn messages, blog posts etc. don't show that you are a professional you won't meet any new clients, won't get new followers or fans. In short, you won't earn a good reputation which is vital for a freelance translator! I am actually going to write more about it in my next blog post. Stay tuned!

By the way, what is your experience concerning social media? Which networks do you prefer and why?


  1. Оленька.
    Огромное спасибо за твои советы, за то, что делишься своим опытом. Мне было очень интересно об этом читать, и я узнала много интересного и полезного для себя. Таня М.

  2. Рада оказаться полезной :)

  3. Спасибо за пост! Попробую перенять пару уроков, в качестве гида-фрилансера. Если живешь в "нетуристическом" городе, это очень важно.
    И тоже хочу сделать сайт на нормальном домене.

  4. Оля, я рада, что мой пост оказался полезным! Большой удачи Вам, мне очень нравится Ваш блог!

  5. Спасибо! Осталось только исправить ошибки в текстах. Обычно пишу под вдохновением, и не всегда слежу за грамматикой и орфографией, потом перечитываю и нахожу кучу самых разных ошибок. Купила себе книжку Travel Writing, учусь понемногу писать по-настоящему профессионально, оказывается, это намного сложнее, чем переводить что-то, написанное кем-то.

  6. Екатерина СарычеваJan 9, 2012, 12:31:00 PM

    Olya, let me wish you all the best in 2012 and mention that now you look very lady. In your wedding photos you are so tiny and fragile girl and now I look at your profile photo and see a lady. That's not a compliment, that's statement of facts.

    Well, as for this post, I would like to ask your advice on facebook promotion. I understand that the webinar you attended is no longer available, but maybe you could advice me on materials to read.

    Thank you in advance

  7. Dear Katya, thank you so much for your warm wishes! We all change with time, right? ;) I am glad nobody in the street mistakes me for my husband's daughter :) We have 8 years difference in age, so at first many people thought he was my father.
    As for Facebook promotion, sure, I will look up the materials I have and will write you an email soon.


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