Tips on social media and content marketing from the founder of Top Left Design


By Claire Harmer

I recently attended the ITI workshop held in Milton Keynes, hosted by Keren Lerner of web design and marketing company Top Left Design. The workshop was a huge success; I’m not sure I’ve ever learnt so much in one day! Keren was a great speaker, too – engaging and always encouraging questions. At times the presentation became more of a discussion, which was really beneficial for attendees as it meant we could ask Keren specific questions and share experiences. Each section of the presentation was interspersed with activities and exercises which we worked on in groups, and we shared the results of these with Keren and the other attendees after completing the tasks.

In terms of social media, Keren talked about how to use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in a professional and engaging way, with the aim of connecting with industry peers, current clients and potential future clients. The content marketing part of the workshop focused on blogging, delivering key messages, content planning, how to write good content and using effective headlines. With so much covered, I’ve just picked a few of these things to focus on in this post, mainly Keren’s tips and tricks for Twitter and LinkedIn and a brief overview of content marketing. I’ve been asked to write an article on the workshop for the ITI bulletin later this month. I’ll focus more heavily on content marketing for that article, and I’m happy to share that on the blog too. On a side note, you can find more tips and tricks in the Top Left Design e-books on their website. Topics range from creating a content calendar and revamping your website, to writing effective newsletters.

Keren likened content marketing and using social media frequently to putting coins into your clients’ brains – so that you occupy a space in their mind. She also spoke about ‘touch points’ and told us that it normally takes 7 or 8 “touch points” before someone asks for your services/refers you to someone. Touch points are encounters of some sort – tweets, emails, meetings, phone calls, or simply someone absorbing something you wrote or published online.



So… what exactly is content marketing?

It’s about getting people who you want to think about you (i.e. industry peers, current clients, prospective clients, etc.), to think what you want them to think about you. You do this by creating content such as blog posts, PDFs, images you share on social media, and more.

This might involve some of the following elements (which Keren calls a ‘marketing mix’):

Online: Website / Blog / Video / Email newsletter

Social: Twitter / Google + / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest

Printed: Brochures / Flyers / Direct mail

Events: Conferences / Speaking engagements / Workshops

In person: Coffee / Drinks / Lunch / Networking / Phone calls

Researched: White papers / Reports / Recommendations / Ebooks / Infographics / Printed books

Of course, doing all these things on a regular basis would mean we’d have little time left to do our paid translation/interpreting work (!) but perhaps picking a few of these and working on them is a good place to start.



Some may argue that social media is a waste of time, but for others, it’s a key tool to help grow their business. Sharing your knowledge on social media is a way of showing your expertise and proving you’re good at what you do. Another great thing about social media is you can participate in discussions with other industry peers, which is invaluable for translators and interpreters as we can learn a lot from one another.

Twitter tips and tricks:

  • For your profile photo, use a cropped photo of your face (don’t bother with a full length photo as it shows up as a thumbnail on people’s Twitter feeds and on phone apps). Surveys have shown that people prefer a picture of a face to a logo or a cartoon avatar. The same goes for LinkedIn – a photo will give your brand a face (literally!).
  • Use to shorten URLs so they take up less characters and there’s more room for your message. At the workshop I learnt that you can actually customise the random character ending that normally generates! You can find out how to do that here.
  • If you have a bit of extra time, quote tweets are better than just retweeting someone as you can add in a comment to provide your followers with more context/your opinion/ the reason why you’re retweeting the content in the first place. You can also use it to start a discussion with the person who wrote the tweet.
  • In terms of content, your posts should be a good mixture of shares, re-tweets, quote tweets, links to articles and your own words. Keren recommends a 5:1 ratio; 4 tweets which are conversations, link sharing, helpful, or promoting others, and one about your own business – or linking to a recent blog post.


LinkedIn tips and tricks:

  • Vanity URL: Customise your LinkedIn URL so you can add it to your email signature and business cards. As with the URL shortener, it means you can remove the random character ending and use your name, which looks more professional. It takes less than a minute (I’ve just done mine!) and you can find out how to do it here.
  • If someone adds you on LinkedIn that you don’t know, start up a conversation with them (unless you think it’s spam)! I normally write a quick message to say thanks for adding me and then try to find something interesting on their profile and ask them about it. I’ve been doing this for the last 6 months – before I just ignored requests from people I didn’t know – and I have gained 3 new clients just by doing this.

Do you have any social media or content marketing tips to share with us? If so, we’d love to hear from you! You can post in the comments section below. Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!



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