From your talking points to the layout and design of your slide deck, your presentation is polished and rehearsed. You feel confident about your subject matter and are prepared to deliver your presentation to the audience.
Now, how do you get from delivering a good, informative presentation to one that people will be praising long after you stop talking? The key is integrating social media.
There’s no denying the role social media plays in today’s society. People tweet about their experiences, share their favorite video clips on Facebook, and curate the lives they have through photos on Instagram and the lives they want through Pinterest.
Social media guarantees that your words will have a much larger impact than just reaching those sitting in the room while you present. In fact, your audience may watch your presentation in its entirety online via a live stream or recording on a computer or tablet.
Before Your Presentation
To effectively incorporate social media into your presentation to increase your reach, first identify the channels your audience uses to share. If you’re presenting at a conference or as part of a larger group, the event hosting you may have channels they already encourage audience members to communicate via.
For example, the highly anticipated annual Inbound Marketing Conference hosted by HubSpot—regarded as masters of engaging users—promotes its conference with #INBOUND14 (the conference title and year) and every speaker featured on its website has their twitter handle next to their name. This encourages audience members to engage with the conference weeks before the event takes place.
If you’re presenting as part of a larger event, share the events promotional materials via your own social channels.
If you’re giving a presentation as an individual and are not part of a conference, not to worry. Create your own hashtag to use to promote your presentation and share that on social media when spreading information about your upcoming talk. To create your own hashtag, choose a keyword that adequately describes your presentation topic and then add a special word that makes the hashtag unique to you.
Delivering a presentation about entrepreneurship in Boston? Use #BostonEntrepreneur. Marketing speech in London? #MarketingLDN.
Be sure to always use your hashtag on your social media channels, so people begin to identify it as unique to your event and implement it into their own posts. Share photos, graphics, news articles, or any other pre-presentation publicity with your future audience ahead of time. Sharing different types of media allows you to engage with a variety of audience members and see what they favor in terms of sharing. Does your audience share a lot via Pinterest? Take note and be sure to increase your presence there where the activity is greatest.
During Your Presentation
After creating a pre-presentation buzz about your talk, be sure to keep that energy going once your presentation takes place!
As people walk into the room where you will be presenting, try to have your social media account information on the screen (This could be the first slide of your presentation, so you just have to load your presentation onto the screen). While they sit waiting for others to arrive, many people are on their smartphones or tablets. Give them the information to follow you on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social channels that are relevant to your audience.
During your presentation, recognize that people may share what you are saying with their own audiences. People will tweet your key points or their reactions. Make your points “tweet able.” Express your main ideas in less than 140 characters, so audience members can easily share via Twitter and even include a hashtag or your twitter handle.
As you present, monitor the channels of social media. Depending on your venue’s technical capabilities (or a conference’s management if you’re part of a larger event), you could even have a second screen with a live stream feed of tweets with your associated hashtag or twitter handle. Or, you could review the feed on a tablet/smartphone or second monitor on stage. If this is not a possibility, you could have a friend sit in the audience and monitor social media activity to make sure that the audience is enjoying the presentation.
If your friend notices a major disconnect with the audience, he could signal to you to check the social media from the stage via a tablet or smartphone and readjust accordingly.
Some presenters even take “Twitter” breaks every fifteen minutes in longer breaks to make sure that they are still engaging their audience. The key is to use a method to monitor the audience’s experience that works for you.
Does your presentation end with a Question & Answer session? Not only can you solicit questions from the audience members in traditional ways (raising a hand, etc.), but you can also ask people to submit questions via Twitter using your promotional hashtag or twitter handle. Have a designated friend or event organizer in the audience select questions from twitter for you to answer. In addition to increasing your social media presence, it is also a great way to engage audience members who may not be as comfortable asking questions in front of the crowd.
After the Presentation
After your presentation, share highlights (whether a video clip or a key point) via social media channels. Audience members and others who may not have attended your presentation but are still interested can share your content through their own channels.
Be sure to link all content you share to your own website, social media profile, or other resources (book website, etc.), so individuals can further engage with you. For example, if you share a video clip of your presentation, provide viewers with a link to the full-length version.
If individuals reach out to you via social media to comment on your presentation, take the time to respond back and continue the conversation. This further engages your audience and shows them how much you value them, creating a greater sense of community around your presentation and making you much more memorable than other presenters.