You know you need to be on social media: in 2017 it is a truism not even worth challenging.
That jump between knowing you need to do something and the practical steps to getting there, can be quite daunting for some speakers, however.
Here is a clear guide to which platforms you need to be on (and why) as a speaker, how to use social media before and after your talks to increase awareness about your message, and establish your credibility for future events. Bonus content: what you should maximize doing, and what you should avoid when it comes to posting.
Remember: these are guidelines,and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to building connections online. There is a global audience and the way you jump in and connect with them is up to you. We can only outline some of the things that have worked for other speakers in the past.
Your quick guide to social media as a public speaker.
Best platforms for public speakers (apart from SpeakerHub, that is):
1. Linkedin groups: LinkedIn attracts professionals in just about every field. For speakers, it is wise to put the majority of your social media efforts into making connections on LinkedIn. Want to jump right into a buzzing group of public speakers from clear across the globe? One of LinkedIn’s largest groups is called Need a Speaker/Be a Speaker, which SpeakerHub recently took over. It is a bustling group of over 20,000 speakers from all different industries.
2. Twitter leaders: Important for establishing credibility. Even if you do not use it daily, building up your follower count, and using it for conferences and networking is important. A few accounts worth following (and taking inspiration from) are:
3. Facebook groups: The majority of people you interact with are on Facebook, making it an indispensible tool for using your network to support you. Many speakers have both a personal profile and a business page. Leveraging your network is especially helpful for promoting the events you are attending. A few groups worth joining are:
- Public Speakers Association
- Speakers' Corner
- Women Speakers Association
- Toastmasters (find your local group)
5. YouTube channels: Although this network does not take a lot of effort, it is an important place to share videos of yourself speaking, and your demo video. You can also follow interesting channels on public speaking such as TED Talks (get geared up with this motivational playlist), Develop Your Speaking Skills, and Darren LaCroix public speaking tips.
6. SlideShare: For presenters, SlideShare is a must. Although you do not have to be very active on the site, it is the ideal place to share your slides, making them available to both to attendees and future event organizers.
How to leverage social media before and after your speech
Before the event:
- Event guidelines: Ask the event organizer for some guidelines or tips for using social media during the event: most organizers will have a strategy, find out how you play into it.
- Hashtags and groups: Find out what the event hashtags are (e.g. #ABCsummit) and start using them. You can also see if there are associated Twitter lists, Google circles or Facebook and LinkedIn groups that you can join. These are great resources for connecting with people before you even get to the event.
- Share to care: Share the event on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts with hashtags to help raise visibility for the event. This will not only help promote the event, but will show your network what kind of events you are currently involved with.
- Showcase your channels: When creating your presentation visuals, include your Twitter and LinkedIn handle (a bit.ly URL works well for this and you can even track its click-throughs) and the event hashtag on your slides early on, so that the audience can connect with you while you are on stage.
- Link back: Towards the end of your presentation, set up a visual resources page slide with your contact details and important links.
- Video recording: Find out if your keynote will be filmed. If this is not going to be provided by the event itself, look into organizing it yourself. Film clips can be great content for your speaker demo, or for sharing online afterwards.
At the Event:
- Teaser content: The day of the event, share 1-2 teasers on your social networks, specifically LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. How you choose to do this is up to you, whether it be a check-in, a photo with some of the people you’ve met, or a grand announcement about how happy you are to be there. It will get the ball rolling on sharing more about the event. Don’t forget to use the hashtag.
- Socialize both online and in real life: Find other people on your network who are at the event, start a conversation with them and talk back and forth. Interact with them to build energy up for your presentation.
- Schedule tweets: Before you get on stage, preset some tweets or updates that can go live while you are on stage. Alternatively, if you have someone who you know quite well who is going to be in the audience, ask them to post as you say the key phrase. If you don’t have someone in the audience, consider using a tool like Buffer and do you best to time it correctly (this could take a little practice.)
- Share the slides: Upload your presentation to SlideShare, and plan on letting the audience know that it will be available there.
- Give a shout-out: Whichever network you’ve decided works best for you, mention to people where they can find and connect with you.
- Use the audience: Encourage people to tweet, post updates, use the hashtags, and connect with other users who are in the conference to share the ideas and key statistic. It will ramp up the interaction and help you build connections while interest is high.
- Audience selfie: Depending on your presentation topic and audience, many people will love to have a group selfie that you can use.
- Live Q&A: Invite people to post questions to you – you (or your friend in the audience) can then check the platforms afterwards to answer these when appropriate.
- Don’t forget the reminder: When you get to the resource page of your presentation, remind the audience again about how they can connect with you.
Directly off stage:
- Quick reaction: Reply to the questions the audience posted to you. Check all the networks you have associated yourself with.
- Favorite tweets: Save your favourite Tweets from the event and build them into a collection of curated Tweets (find out more about how to do that here.)
- Get testimonials: Capture a few quick video or sound recorded testimonials from attendees.
- Share online: Post photos to Facebook and Twitter and tag the people in the photo (if possible.)
- Follow-up: Answer further questions on social media.
- Post selfies and photos: Post the photos on Twitter or LinkedIn. This really helps to humanize a presentation, and people love to see and share photos of themselves!
After the event:
- Network: Transcribe any business cards so you can market to these leads long after the presentation is finished.
- Share the links: Email attendees or the event organizers the link to your resources page.
- Thank everyone: Send a thank you tweet, LinkedIn post, Facebook post and note to the organizer. This helps to close the loop, and increases the chances of you being invited back!
- Invest in connections: Connect with people on LinkedIn and ask for a few LinkedIn (and SpeakerHub) recommendations for your presentation.
5 Important things speakers need to remember about using social media
1. Care deeply about your audience
Genuinely caring about your audience is something that cannot be faked. This does not mean that you are giving them exclusive deals or a handful of giveaways (although there can be a time and place for that). Truly caring about your audience means that you are not in a state of self promotion, but you are trying to help and improve their lives or suggest resources that they find useful.
2. Position yourself as a thought-leader
If you are an expert in your field or industry, show this on your social media. Share the articles you’ve been reading or insights you have had. If you are an authority on a subject, don’t be afraid to show it. When you are filling in your “about” section, or your bio, say exactly what you are an expert on. The goal is to gain trust with your audience: tell them who you are and why they should listen to you.
3. Be available.
One of the worst things you can do is sign up for a handful of social media platforms, poorly learn how to use any of them, post once or twice, and then drop the network. Think clearly about which networks you want to be on, and whether your market is on that network. Decide on the networks you’d like to be on, and then learn how to use them. Then make sure you stay consistent and available. How consistent and available is your choice, but and average range is somewhere between two-three times a week, up to a few times per day.
4. Listen to the conversation
Even if you are not posting every hour every day, make sure that you have an active ear to the ground and you know what is going on. There are plenty of tools available, like Twilert and Google Alerts which will notify you of important posts that have to do with your subject or industry. Get involved with the conversation by liking, retweeting and sharing. It will work in two ways: you will learn more about your industry, and you will be more connected with your audience and community.
5.You are not a machine, don’t forget your humanity
When you are interacting with people online, remember that you are talking to real people. This means you should treat (and speak to) people the same way you would if you met them in person. You would not immediately try and hard sell an event organizer into hiring you if you just met them, but rather would talk with them, get to know them and what they do, and then find out if you are the right fit. If someone messages you or tweets you, answer them. You wouldn’t ignore someone who was talking to you at a networking event. There are plenty of tools available to making posting easier and more straightforward, but don’t forget that your audience is made up of real people who you need to make real connections with.
Looking for more speaking opportunities? We are one of the fastest growing networks of speakers, trainers, and event organizers. Sign up here.