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Social networking in the translation business

A couple of months ago, Corinne McKay posed the question: Is LinkedIn useful for translators?

The post generated a good dialog but little data. Basically, commentators who already saw the value of doing marketing said "sure, it's useful". On the other hand, those folks who probably aren't doing much "traditional" marketing also didn't see much value in these new-fangled tools.

So, we decided to run a bit of an experiment. During the months of February and March, we tracked how many visits originated from Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. First, the results, then some observations...

During February and March, we tracked 1,208 referrals from the three social networking sites. They break-down as follows:

Referring sites to Medical Translation Blog

Now, when seeing that more than 90% of the social networking site referrals came from LinkedIn, one might be tempted to conclude that the other two sites are not valuable.

However, two important factors influence this:

  1. 73% of the LinkedIn referrals came from news content that we uploaded to various groups. In other words this wasn't so much social networking as public relations.
  2. We didn't use an actual Twitter account. The links that originated from Twitter came from other people posting about our blog.

But even taking these factors into consideration, the baseline assessment has to be: social networking sites are a very effective tool to promote a translation business like ours. And that's not even talking about how these tools could be used for customer support, recruitment, and market research.

So, if you are new to the world of online social networking, take a look at these tools and spend some time learning about how you can use them in your business. Here are some resources to get you started:

ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation services to the world's leading pharmaceutical and medical device companies.


  1. Karen Tkaczyk said...
    Thanks for this post. I'm interested to see how others are using LinkedIn to drive traffic. LinkedIn was one of the top two drivers to my website the last time I looked at my stats. I'm a freelancer and I've been using it for outreach to potential direct clients since January. For me it's all about PR and marketing myself. Yes, I do a little networking in terms of email chats with people I 'meet' there, but I think what is most valuable is the exposure I get from discussion threads, news articles, and the like in my technical fields.
    David said...
    Would be interesting to see how the stats have changed since 2009. Do you have an update?

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