Friday, 6 March 2015

The art of Twitter

On 27 February 2015, 8 members of the ITI’s German network convened in Birmingham for a workshop on the art of Twitter and blogging. It was held by marketing expert Rachel Goodchild from Bristol. The surroundings at the Priory Rooms, our venue, were both intimate and sophisticated, and I enjoyed meeting other translators who I haven't met for some time.

Has the social media hype worn off?

I am so glad I attended the workshop, in particular as I’ve recently read a few articles which suggested the social media hype really has worn off now... Building up a Twitter followership seems to be getting more and more difficult these days. Facebook, according to one article, has run out of fashion and in the eyes of the younger generation is what only old people still do. And does it make sense to blog about something that has been blogged many times before?

However, I am delighted to report now that I’ve come away from the Birmingham workshop with fresh ideas, an enlightened perspective, as well as a renewed fascination with what social media have got to offer, if handled appropriately. Rachel has managed to dispel some common myths about Twitter and blogging, clarified a few things I’d never been sure about, and provided us all with a number of invaluable tips.

It is a fact that attention spans generally are getting shorter and shorter. So one of Rachel’s tips in regard to blogging was to keep posts as short and simple as possible. I’ve applied this tip in the current post in that I’m focusing on Twitter only and have left out the presentation on blogging and overall marketing strategy. Here are a few random take-aways from the workshop on the proper use of Twitter:

Engage and people will follow.
According to Rachel, the more you tweet, the more followers you will gain. This strategy ties in with the “new” style of so-called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves attracting people via the internet and earning their interest in this way, as opposed to outbound marketing in the old days, which involved interrupting people (e.g. by cold calls). Have you noticed that fewer trade fairs are held nowadays because of this development?

Favoriting does not correspond to “liking”.
Strictly speaking, favoriting does not equate to “liking” as on Facebook although it can, of course, be used in this way. Rachel recommended that favoriting be used sparingly. To interact with others, you can simply reply to a tweet instead. Favorites on your Twitter profile are often scrutinised by others to help them decide if they should follow you. We should therefore think carefully about what we really want to add to our favorites.

Setting up lists will help manage tweets better.
Ideally, we should categorise anyone who we start following and assign them to specific lists. I hadn’t been aware of this option before and have since created the following lists for a start: wrg-translators (translators from my area); emersons-green (tweets from the school, other parents etc., a private list); patents-and-law (news on patents, inventions, law CPD etc.); minimalism (tweets about minimalism as a lifestyle); excellent-bloggers (self-explanatory!).

Manage your tweets better by setting up lists!

Twitter does not need to dominate your life.

There is immense power in Twitter. 340 million tweets are posted every day, and the UK alone has over 10 million active Twitter users (which corresponds to 1 in 6 brits!). However, Twitter does not necessarily need to take over our lives. There is the option of reducing distractions via Twitter to a minimum by disabling notifications to all devices and only checking our notifications on the Twitter site after logging on – when we actually have the time or feel like doing this.

It is not necessary to have separate Twitter accounts.
I have one Twitter account for English and one for German and still think this is a good idea. Usually, however, having just one Twitter account should be sufficient to cater for your various interests. Rachel advocates the idea of packaging as the key to success, i.e. your brand should be built in the form of “you as a package”. As such, it is absolutely fine to also occasionally put up things that show you’re human – including that much talked about cat photo!

I’d like to extend a huge thank-you to Rachel Goodchild for delivering such an inspiring, upbeat and practical workshop and to Cherry Shelton-Mills for organising it.