One of the top questions I get asked is about how to increase visibility to potential clients.
Truth is, it depends on the type of visibility you want. If you’re looking to get picked up for more stage work, you need to spend more time on stages and make sure that the production knows you well. If you’re looking for theatre, you need to be in more theatre settings. However, if you want more voicing work it can be hard to consider visibility.
I want to be clear that I’m not referring to your visibility in conflict with the service user’s. I’m certainly not recommending you reach for attention. However, a part of sales is attracting future business. If potential clients don’t know they can hie you, they won’t make the effort to hire you.
I use social media as my main avenue for business and now over 90% of my business is conducted in DM’s. Personally, that’s what works for me but for some people that can feel impossible. I didn’t feel comfortable posting information about my work for fear of retribution in the community for years into my practice. I’d be willing to be that if it weren’t for my unique position, I still wouldn’t. My work is now very much in the public eye and I always encourage others who are concerned about pushback – go for it anyway. I wish I hadn’t been so fearful in the beginning, things would have shaped up very differently.
I can’t tell you how many interpreters underutilize their LinkedIn profile. Of course we all know the site as stuffy and a bit dated in places but the truth is, it’s where business happens. More and more professionals are searching LinkedIn now that we’ve transitioned to so much online business. The thing I love about the site is that you can build credibility with it. For interpreters who aren’t yet credentialed, it can be an excellent entry point to building a strong presence for your practice that doesn’t feel made up.
By adding skills and experience, you can show off what makes you a great interpreter or translator. Then, ask your colleagues to endorse you to give your page even more weight. Not only does this build trust and confidence with potential clients reviewing your page but it also gives them a “why” when they’re considering booking you. Do you have extensive experience in the LGBTQ+ arena that your colleagues will vouch for? That’s why they’re going to book you over an interpreter with a prettier business card.
If you have a LLC, S-corp or even just a DBA you can make a company page to post content separate from your own identity on the site. You can find a great guide for building that here.
I recently posted on our Instagram about the power of LinkedIn here.
I love business cards. I know they’re old school and of course now there are a million other options but they’re a classic for a reason.
Business cards travel from professional to professional and often get uploaded into HR systems for future queries. When you have someone enter your information to their Outlook or Gmail, you know that it’s easy enough for them to pass along your information to anyone who might ask. I’ve been referred that way by people in various professional groups over the years and even if it’s just a one off gig, it keeps my name active in those circles.
I give business cards to everyone. I’d give them to dogs if it made sense. Truly you can put them up in coffee shops, those bowls on the counter, or just to people you’ve worked with. Of course it can be tricky when you’re working with an agency, you should push yourself to step out of your comfort zone in an effort to get rid of them.
I will check local business lunches that organizations like the chamber of commerce hold and I’ll show up with a stack. Then to fight my anxiety about meeting new people and being friendly to strangers, I make a deal with myself. If I give out 20, I can “skip out of the office” early on admin work and have margaritas with my girlfriends. Whatever’s clever.
Also, give them to everyone. I have them on hand at every party and social gathering I go to. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? They’re not going to call? So… same thing as before?
We all know the interpreter who’s trying to get famous on social media and trust me I hate it too. However, social media can be an incredible tool for engaging with the community as well as rallying support for your own practice. If you peek at some of the content I’ve posted over the years, you’ll see a common thread – I support client centric practices. Not only that but I spend time DM’ing with Deaf creators and subscribers of that content. I also regularly post and story about my availability in the field to make sure that people know I’m taking bookings.
While every booking that comes through my DM’s might not be the United Nations, it keeps me active in the community and building clients that will be happy to review me. They’re much warmer connections because we have the context of knowing each other’s content and regularly engaging.
Some ways I do this are:
- Reposting stories
- Commenting on reels and posts
- Regularly posting myself working into the language
- Sharing content from exciting public jobs I’ve done – through the lens of supporting others.
- Taking part in discussion threads on interpreting related topics
- Following hashtags
I’m always curious what strategies others use to increase their visibility. Not only does it build a foundation to accept less agency work, reducing our dependency on them but it supplies our clients with even more choice. We love to see them as active participants in our market, free of the filter agencies often place over their needs. Engaging regularly with the market as practitioners, serves a better future for our field.
How do you increase your visibility? Leave a comment! Let’s talk about it!