- Whether your association has an official profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or other, it is important to reflect and be clear on what you want your presence on social media be like. Try to set some general rules: what kind of information do you want to pass, only that strictly related to your association or anything connected with translation in general? Do you want to be seriously institutional or sometimes funny and joking? Whichever strategy you choose, try to be coherent with your general choices and avoid sounding like a press release. People like to see that there is real people even behind an institutional page.
- Even if each social media manager will have his or her personal style and approach, keep in mind that you are not posting on a personal profile, but talking in the association’s name. Be always kind and measured, be accurate in your formulations and avoid misspellings, while also showing some enthusiasm to motivate your audience and stimulate a good team spirit.
- Whenever possible, it is a good idea to use photos and images. It is proven that they greatly increase engagement on all social networks.
- Remember to reply to direct messages and react to tags and mentions, even if only with a “like”.
- In case of aggressive and abusive behaviour, though, keep always in mind the mantra: don’t feed the trolls! You might happen to receive private or public messages from cyberbullies and online haters: such people normally stop bullying when they are ignored, because they depend on interaction and seek attention without being interested in exchanging opinions.
- As a general rule for good online communication, focus on facts and topics rather than on the people engaged in a conversation, stick to your association’s common cause, avoid personal bitter comments, explain without pointing your fingers, debate without arguing, don’t be judgemental or self-justifying, respond to critiques in a constructive and positive way.
What and when
- A silent social profile does not attract new followers nor interaction with your audience, so remember to post new content on a more or less regular basis, according to your possibilities. If you can, post daily, but don’t overdo (you don’t want to spam your followers!).
- Apart from posting information about your association’s events and activities, you might want to inform your audience about your partners’ special initiatives or events involving some of your members. Whenever possible, remember to tag your partners or the people involved, in order to increase your post’s audience and engagement rate.
- You might want to post articles or interviews about translation or translated books from blogs or online magazines, especially where some of your members are involved. In such cases, it would be better to focus on translation matters in general rather than focussing on specific books or publishers.
- In case of radio interviews or panels and events that are recorded i.e. on YouTube or Facebook, you might repost the relevant podcasts or videos at a later stage.
- You can inform your followers about translation events within book fairs and festivals, grants and prizes for translators, calls for application for summer schools, residencies or other training opportunities. A good source for such information are the CEATL’s newsletter and the CEATL’s Twitter profile. It might be wise though to avoid promoting very expensive translation courses that really aim at profiting from aspiring translators.
- Sometimes, i.e. during recruitment campaigns at the beginning of the year or during periods with lacking news or events, you might post general information about your association, such as your main objectives, how to become a member, benefits related with membership and the like.
- If you have more than one social media profile, it is a good idea to intertwine them and cross-pollinate your content. You do not need to post a specific content on all networks at the same time, but you can use a single post to create a new one on a different platform, in order to make the best use of each network’s specific potential.
- For instance you can use images from Instagram to create catchy photo galleries on Facebook or you can live-tweet an event on Twitter and then post a screenshot of the tweets elsewhere. A live-tweet provides real-time updates, pics or commentary on an event in progress via Twitter.
- Make proper use of hashtags (# headlines that help categorize social media content) to connect with others. You can normally use lots of hashtags (10+) on Instagram but not more than two or three on the other platforms (and you do better without them on Facebook).
- Popular international translation hashtags are: #translation #translator #translate #amtranslating #InternationalTranslationDay #TranslationDay #terminology #language or the abbreviated #xl8 (that stands for “translate”), #t9n (i.e. the starting letter of “translation” + the number representing the nine letters “ranslatio” + the letter “n”) and #ttns (that stands for “Things Translators Never Say”), very useful especially with the 140 character limit on Twitter. But you may want to add the ones used in your own country. And don’t forget to use the CEATL hashtag #EuropeanTranslators!
- You can create your own hashtag whenever possible or needed, i.e. to easily track all social media content related to your association, to complement an event or to mark a particular campaign (such as the British TA’s #namethetranslator campaign).
Now go online and have some fun with your social media!