Social media for language professionals – Catherine Hawkes writes:

On 25 January, linguists from across the north of England congregated at the Swarthmore Education Centre in Leeds to learn more about social media and blogging for professional purposes. The workshop, hosted and organised by YTI, was led by social media guru Marta Stelmaszak. The highly interactive session started at 1.30pm and ran until 5pm.

I was one of the thirty-odd attendees, and despite our varying levels of experience with using social media in a professional capacity, all of us were keen to find out more.

Marta concentrated on the four major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. After a brief discussion of our current social media usage, Marta invited us to divide into four groups, each dedicated to a particular platform. I joined the Google+ group, where we discussed setting up Google Authorship and using Google+ to benefit SEO (search engine optimisation).

After about twenty minutes, the groups reported back to each other. Our discussion demonstrated the importance of one of Marta’s key tips: that it’s important to carry out a social media audit. Which platforms are you using? Are they up to date? When did you last review your privacy settings? Who is your target audience for each platform?

As talk turned to blogging, Marta again stressed the importance of the target audience. It is worth remembering that translation-related blog posts will be read by your colleagues, not your clients. If your reason for blogging is to reach out to potential clients, it might be a better idea to write about news from your specialist industry. (For me, this was a real ‘aha!’ moment.) Marta, for example, has now set up a blog on doing business in Poland, which she is running in addition to her translation blog.