As a professional speaker and event emcee, I am always looking for ways to expand my network with meeting planners, audience members, associations and more. Each and every day I utilize the tools of modern business including a website, active blog, marketing, branding, good old fashioned face-to-face relationship building and now, all the latest in social media tools.
While I enjoy seeing the latest and greatest antics of friends on Facebook and love being a business voyeur on LinkedIn, hands down my favorite tool is Twitter. I’ve connected with event planners looking for a last minute speaker, gotten great feedback from audience members and generally just been able to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the industry – from all sides – the planner, the speaker, the participant.
With that in mind, I posed the query “What is your top Twitter tip for speakers” on HARO (@helpareporter) – Peter Shankman’s (@skydiver) brilliant behemoth of an idea that hooks up writers/bloggers/journalists/producers with sources/info/experts.
The experts came out in droves. Their advice along with my recent personal experience as the closing keynote at #prville in Jacksonville, Florida produced the list below. It is a long list but most of it will, or should, become habit. And, it is by all means not a complete list, but a good list to get you started.
- Choose your Twitter name. You don’t want anything too long and too cute. Remember this is another branding opportunity for you like @daynasteele.
- Add your Twitter name to your email signature, your website, your business card, your blog, etc. You would be amazed at how many people answered my HARO query and did not give me their Twitter name…for an article about Twitter. Duh?
- Fill out your Twitter profile completely including your website and your email. Even if they want you to speak to another group, they will only try so hard to track you down. Make it easy for event and meeting planners to find you.
- Find out before your speaking event if the event organizers have already established a Twitter hashtag such as #prville. Anyone tweeting at or about the event adds the hashtag to their tweet so that all can follow what’s going on. If there is not an established hashtag, ask the event planner if you can create one and let them know what it is and get the event planner and attendees to pass it on.
- Start tweeting using the hashtag, let your followers know where you are speaking and to what group. Don’t forget to add the hashtag.
- Search the established hashtag and start to reply to and retweet (RT) others involved with the event. *OK, so I don’t have to keep reminding you to use the hashtag, just suffice it to say use it from here on out when tweeting about this event or to anyone involved with the event.
- Tweet a day or so before and let everyone know that you are looking forward to speaking at the event and meeting the organizers and attendees.
- Find some interesting facts about the city, the venue, the organization and pass those along. *Again, I’m not going to keep saying Twitter but this is an article about using Twitter so please assume I mean pass it along or write it on Twitter. OK?
- At the beginning of your speech, let the attendees know what the hashtag is and your Twitter name. And remember, there are still quite a few people NOT on Twitter and not real sure what you are talking about. Give a brief explanation and offer to answer questions about Twitter later, after your speech.
- Encourage everyone to tweet during the speech and “be sure to use the hashtag.”
- I end my speech with a slide featuring how to reach me by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email and my website. Thank everyone for coming and remind them to follow you @yournamehere.
- For instant feedback, search the hashtag, your Twitter name and your regular name. You’ll see what attendees were saying about you, what parts of your speech they tweeted and RT’d. You’ll also learn fairly quickly what they didn’t like. Learn from the experience and adjust for the next one.
- RT pictures, videos, blogs from the event, especially if they mention you in a favorable light.
- DO NOT TWITTER FROM THE COCKTAIL PARTY. Just take my word for it….
- If you get some really great feedback, reply and ask to use it in your marketing materials, on your website, etc as a quote. Always get permission first.
- Reply and say thanks to all who have favorable comments.
- Reply to any that didn’t with a thanks as well and ask what they would like to have seen or heard.
- Thank the event organizers on Twitter.
- Write a follow up blog about the event with lessons learned, people met and useful information for anyone – then tweet the URL.
- Post pictures and videos you have taken at the event and link to those. You do have a camera and video camera with you at all times, right?
- Follow up with a tweet or two about what you learned from the conference and how much you enjoyed yourself, the city, the venue, the people you met, the hotel, etc.
- If there was something about the event that really stood out from others you have done, pass it on and hashtag it with #eventprofs. Planners are always looking for new ways to make their events stand out in the crowd. And then they become familiar with you as a speaker. Again, remember to also include the event hashtag.
- List some of the people you met and the event organizers on #followfriday.
- Remember, you hopefully have just added a large new group of followers. Continue to tweet articles, useful information, interesting facts, etc. This is not the place to sell things but to pass on useful information. Or a good laugh.
- Last but not least, don’t leave your Twitter and hashtag savvy, bored 13 year old son alone in the hotel room in a hotel with weak (bad for gamers) WiFi. See #prville and @dackjustiz.
Thanks to these speakers and others for their tips and responses. Follow them all! @nfrodom1, @Encouragement4U, @nancerosen, @shelhorowitz, @sklososky, @skydiver, @helpareporter, @mvolpe, @bookgal, @NancyMarmolejo, @jasonp107, @DowntownWoman, @ethicstweet, @CARDcanhelp, @alanbrymer and @jayberkowitz.
Social media is an ever evolving form of communication So, if you want to add another tip to the list, join in and do so below!