Social Media is a topic that a lot of individual translators have presented on for the past few years. They’ll talk about post frequency, hashtags, different sites, and exploiting social media for marketing. They have all been great, but I want to focus on ways ATA Chapters can exploit social media to gain followers and members.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to establish an organization page on Facebook and an account on Twitter if you haven’t already. (Yes, there are still chapters that do not have a presence on Facebook or Twitter.)
If your chapter doesn’t have an organization page on Facebook yet, you can create one by clicking in the red box in the photo below.
So, you’ve resolved to revamp your brand in order to attract new members, you’ve started planning new events in order to fabricate more opportunities for getting those new members, you’ve updated the appearance of your website, and you’ve set up your blog; now comes the time to spread the word and get these events attended and articles seen because if no one knows about it, why have it or why do it?
When it comes to social media posts, it’s all about brevity—and I don’t just mean on Twitter which limits you to 140 characters—on Facebook as well. People browsing Facebook aren’t looking for a blog article, that’s why Facebook Notes never really took off. At most, a Facebook post for an organization should have a maximum of 3-4 sentences and if those sentences can be accompanied by a photo or video, even better. Any longer than 3-4 sentences, and no one will read it. It all comes down to mindset. When people scroll down their newsfeed, they’re skimming through dozens of posts from friends, colleagues, their reactions to posts, and organizations they’re following looking for the most pertinent information. Social media posts are the appetizer to the feast of information that lies in the blog articles and other assorted long-form information-disseminating media that they’re linking to. Keep in mind that these posts should be aimed toward directing the intended audience to your website or blog, not necessarily giving all of the best bits at once.
Twitter demands a different type of writing; you have 140 characters to get your whole message across. Crafting good tweets is an art form. Keep in mind, too, that you have fewer characters if you intend to tag individuals and organizations and include the all-important hashtags, and you should be using hashtags (#xl8 [translate], #t9n [translation], #1nt [interpretation], #l10n [localization], #i18n [internationalization], #g11n [globalization]).
Maintaining a social media presence for an organization in addition to your own can seem demanding. The reason many large companies have an entire position and sometimes an entire department devoted to social media is because the demands of social media presence require it. You could try to remember to post regularly, but that can only last so long. The easy route would be to take an hour each week and post vomit all over Facebook and Twitter. You don’t want to do that. In the Twitter realm, that’s known as a “tweet storm” and it’s the social media equivalent to spamming. So let me let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to post live all the time. You can use functionalities written in the programs to schedule posts and tweets to your advantage, have administrators schedule something to post every other day or so about various topics to increase traffic to your website. Heck, this blog is normally written a couple days in advance of going live so that posts are consistent. On Facebook, you’ll click on the arrow to the right of “Publish” and enter the date and time you want your post to go live.
To schedule tweets, you will need to go to tweetdeck.twitter.com and log into your chapter’s twitter account (you can also use this site to manage multiple twitter accounts like your own personal account and your chapter account). A good rate of posts would be about once a day for a chapter.
There are a couple other things to consider for your social media strategy. The first has been gaining popularity for use in getting attention on social media. It’s called “paper.li” and it allows you to create a daily electronic periodical based off of your account history and search parameters (like hashtags). Paper.li’s presentation is great and more closely mirrors how a newsletter should be laid out. Items are accompanied by the title, a short teaser to the article, and sometimes a photo. It’s not presenting you with the whole article, just a teaser so you can see if you would like to continue reading. It’s concise, clean, and a great way to direct regular traffic to your website as well as to your contributors. For a great example of what these paper.li layouts look like, visit Catherine Christaki’s twitter account and click on any tweet that starts with “Lingua Greca’s Daily is out!”
Another thing to consider is tinyurl, tiny.cc, ow.ly, or bitly. These sites will shorten the url to paste into your tweets and lower the number of used characters. Instead of using twenty characters for a link, these sites will shorten the link down to less than 15.
These are a few suggestions on getting your Chapter active on social media. Keep in mind that the purpose is not a substitute for your website. It’s to direct people to your website and get the word out about your chapter blog posts, as well as other information that needs to be communicated to your members more quickly. What are some social media tactics that have worked for your chapter? Leave comments below. Next week, I’ll address a new trend in keeping your members informed, the Podcast.