Day 13: Words to Images: Visual Marketing for Translators

Today's SYS Challenge: Add lovely images! #socialtranslator
Today’s SYS Challenge: Add lovely images! #socialtranslator

Why Pictures Matter to Translators

As wordsmiths, images are not necessarily the first thing we think of when it comes to showcasing our expertise.

Yet consider this:

  • Photos are liked twice as much as text updates on Facebook 1 and account for 87% of all interactions on brand pages 2.
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than solely text-based ones. 2
  • 60% of buyers are more likely to consider or contact a business whose images appear in search results. 3

Visual content is eminently “snackable”, which is – like it or not – how we consume content online these days.

People are drawn to images, especially of other people, and social media platforms have become increasingly image centric to reflect this.

Best of all, images are a great way to communicate to multiple language groups as they can transcend language barriers.

The fact is, if translators want to get noticed online, we need to use visual marketing more effectively.

Using Images to Market Translation Services

The first thing I think of when it comes to using visuals in my social media is my branding: a customised Twitter background, prettified Facebook page, and so on.

This is like the low-hanging fruit to this aspect of the challenge. It’s a once-off task, and relatively quick, easy and even fun to do, with platforms like Canva making templates available for free online.

But to be truly effective, consider incorporating images across all aspects of your social media – it’s not nearly as easy, but it’s certainly a way to see real progress towards your goals.

Visual marketing covers a range of content types. For example:

  • video
  • graphics
  • slide decks
  • text-based images, quotes, etc.
  • infographics
  • photos

A great option for service professionals to build their reputation and demonstrate their expertise is to share slides on a platform geared to professional development, such as SlideShare or even LinkedIn.

The key is to think laterally about ourselves, but even more so about our clients and the kind of things they are looking to learn.

There are plenty of ways you can DIY the creation of your images. Platforms like Canva, PicMonkey or PiktoChart provide a cornucopia of templates which make it easy to pull together something attractive.

But remember: if your visuals are going to work, you need to distill one idea down to its most basic form in as few a words as possible. You need to present it in a way that tells a story or answers a buyer question.

The goal – as always – is to do what works, not just what looks pretty.

Translate Words To Images

Translating words and ideas to image-form is a skill in and of itself.

And I’ll be honest – as one of the least visually artistic people I know, I have little to offer by way of advice on how best to do it.

But I do know that, like all languages, are there rules and guidelines and conventions you can follow that make it more likely you’ll achieve the kind of outcomes you want.

So even if you hire someone to help you with this aspect of your marketing, it’s still worth learning the basics of how to communicate in visual form.

Think of it as a microskill, with applications in lots of different areas aside from just your social media.

So, what you can you do today to step your visual game up a notch?

Further reading

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A Social Media Challenge!

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to do one thing each day in October that will have an impact on your social presence in the longer term.

Each weekday in October, I’m going to suggest a task to work on for whatever pocket of time you can carve out that day. You can choose to follow my suggestion, adjust it to suit your circumstances, or come up with an alternative – whatever makes most sense for you. Or just dip in and out as it suits.

Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the blog. Let me know how you’re getting on by using the hashtag #socialtranslator (so I can find you!). If you find it helpful, please give me a thumbs up, a like or a share – that’s how I’ll know you’re finding it useful, and it’ll help other translators join in too.