#DearKen: How Can I Best Use Social Media When I Present At Conferences?

co-publishing for presentation impact[Spoiler alert: The answer is co-publishing!]

You’ve been invited to share your expertise and passion with a live audience. Congratulations! Every time you present — whether it’s to a dozen people, or a thousand — social media gives you the opportunity to better engage your in-person audience and effectively reach people around the world [beyond just your “live” audience] who are interested in your topic.

Thank you for your question. At the risk of hyperbole, it is impossible to overstate the importance of social media in magnifying both the reach and the impact of your content, regardless of whether it is a formal presentation or your regular blog post (like this one!).

Think about how the 1967 movie “The Graduate”, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, would change if it were to be remade today. It’s easy to imagine how the famous scene, where Mr. McGuire gives Benjamin career advice, might go.


Mr. McGuire:                    I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin:                         Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire:                    Are you listening?

Benjamin:                         Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire:                    Co-publishing.


Yes, even more than “plastics” (Mr. McGuire’s advice in the film), my advice to you to make the best use of social media for your next presentation is to co-publish. I am defining co-publishing here to mean the “strategic creation and reuse of your marketing content.” To maximize the ROI of your investment in creating content, you can simultaneously publish your content on all of your different social networks.

“Show me” is exponentially more powerful than “tell me,” and to prove it, I have  co-published this #DearKen column. You will see the links further down in the post – designated by a Show me Ken! – linking to where I have co-published this column [in different formats] on some of my social networks.

You are no doubt familiar with the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.”  Well, this is about taking “reuse” to the next, social level. You have invested a significant amount of time to research, write and visualize your presentation. To help you get the most out of it (before, during and after you present), I have created the following three checklists to help you better engage your in-person and online audiences.

A reminder that the opinions expressed here are my own, and come from my personal experience managing social marketing campaigns, leading social marketing teams, and consulting for social marketing clients. Every brand is unique. Use what works. Toss the rest!

Co-Publishing Checklist: Pre-Event

The pre-event checklist details the different items you can do in of your presentation to build in-person and online audience awareness. Please don’t let it overwhelm you. Select the items that most excite you, and don’t think you must do everything on the list in order to have a significant impact.

1.) The day you accept the invitation to speak, is the day you need to start getting the word out. How? Write a blog post. Share the details of the event on all of your social networks. Include the event’s hashtag and website in all of your posts. Call out your fellow speakers by name and publicly tell them how much you are looking forward to meeting them and hearing their presentations. There is no better way for you to grow your network, publicize your presentation, and get other high-profile speakers to promote you.

2.) Create a Twitter List of all of the event speakers, sponsors and principals, taking every [appropriate] opportunity to mention them in your posts leading up to the event. This fast, easy, and free tactic will be enthusiastically supported by the event organizers. Why? Because it promotes and drives attendance to their event.

3.) Create and register — using Twubs and/or #tagdef – a hashtag for your presentation.

4.) Share the story of creating your presentation with your audience. Crowdsource. Test ideas, preview content, and engage your audience before they even leave home.

5.) Join – or create, if the event organizers have not yet already done so – a group for the event on LinkedIn and/or Eventbrite.

6.) Upload a relevant and visually compelling (critical!) cover page for your presentation on Slideshare as soon as possible, letting people know you will upload the final presentation to the same URL after the event. Unlike YouTube (Hey YouTube, you listening? We want this feature!), Slideshare allows you to update your presentations after uploading them, keeping the same URL and analytics/view counts.

7.) Create a trip (even if the event is within walking distance of your home) for the event on social network TripIt.

8.) Find out in advance how (and if) the event organizers are going to capture, record, and share your presentation. The organizers may record audio (content you can share via your website and iTunes), or video (content you can share via your website and YouTube channel), or both. If the organizers have no plans to record your presentation, then consider making alternate arrangements to do so well in advance of the big day.

9.) Do a full simultweeting dry run BEFORE you go to the event. What is simultweeting? Simultweeting is pre-writing tweets summarizing the content on each slide of your presentation deck. Each time you advance the slide of your presentation, your pre-written tweet for that page will automatically be tweeted out to your followers. Is this cool? Yes. Must you absolutely, positively do a full start-to-finish dry-run of this in advance of your event to ensure you have it set up correctly? YES! It’s geeky, but it’s also a guaranteed “wow” factor.  There are several easy-to-use free software tools available to help you simultweet, whether you prefer to present with Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote.

DEEP DIVE: The How’s and Why’s of Simultweeting

In the three years since simultweeting began, it has become an extremely valuable, though not yet widespread, presentation tool.

Put simply, it is a co-publishing tactic that allows you to squeeze every possible drop of social juice out of the investment you are making to create and deliver outstanding content. What’s more, simultweeting allows you to provide your in-person and online audiences with interactive play-by-play ”coverage” of your presentation. It’s a bit like the audio commentaries you get as extras on DVDs (remember those?), but it has even more impact because it shares what you are saying as you say it with everyone everywhere, encouraging them to join in on the conversation.

However, simultweeting isn’t just about engagement. It also helps when you present difficult or sensitive content. How? Simultweeting enables you to get your content out in your own words – ahead of the responses and reactions of the media, critics, analysts, and sign language and foreign language interpreters.

If at all possible, don’t just simultweet, but actively listen to the conversation. To do this, you may want to consider having a trusted colleague monitor your backchannel – people’s responses to your presentation via social media.

Having someone be your eyes and ears is a great way to glean real-time intelligence that you can then incorporate into your presentation while you are still presenting. Should you speed up or slow down? Are there items that need further explanation? Are there specific questions you should address? Having a trusted colleague watch your back – your backchannel – frees you to focus on your in-person audience and helps you to ensure the message received by your in-person and online audiences is the message delivered.

Increasingly, speakers [like it or not] are having their backchannels projected on stage on monitors or screens to encourage the in-person audience’s participation in the presentation AND to increase the online reach of the event. While incredibly powerful, it requires more up-front planning, including rehearsals. (Do NOT skip these!) Work closely with the event organizers if you want to do this. Also, reach out to other speakers who have done this previously for their advice. None of us learned how to manage our online backchannel when we learned public speaking.

Co-Publishing Checklist: The Day of the Event!

The big day has finally arrived, and you are ready to rock and roll. While you will have a million things on your plate, here is my checklist of the items to do before you take the stage, podium, or milk crate.

1.) The moment you arrive, check into the event on Foursquare and Facebook.

2.) Have your trusted colleague take photos of you presenting for all of your social networks – not just for Flickr and Pinterest.

3.) Share geotagged Instagram photos that show you with other people at the event. This will encourage the people with you in the photographs to share them with their audiences on their social networks, thus further growing your network.
Tweet – with the geolocation feature on your mobile device turned on – so people know you are tweeting “live” from the event.

4.) At the beginning of your presentation, tell your audience your presentation hashtag, and that you have included it in the bottom right-hand corner of your slides as a reminder.

5.) Take a deep breath. Smile. And knock your audience’s socks off!

Co-Publishing Checklist: When You Walk Off That Stage

You wowed your audience and even became a trending topic on Twitter, but you’re not done yet. This is where co-publishing really kicks in, and adds the greatest value.

1.) Upload the final version of your presentation to your Slideshare account. Take full advantage of the opportunity to add in anything you may have missed, or additional detail that will increase understanding. Consider foreign language versions of your slides and/or adding your own voice narration. And don’t forget to add your name as one of the keywords! Show me Ken!: Slideshare.

2.) “Photo-ize” your presentation. Save each slide of your presentation as a .jpg file, and upload it to your Flickr and Pinterest accounts. Show me Ken!: Flickr and Pinterest.

3.) “Video-ize” your presentation. Convert your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation to a .wmv, .mov, or .mp4 file with voice narration [or appropriate royalty-free music] and upload it to your YouTube channel (personally, I’m a big fan of using Animoto to video-ize presentation slides). Add foreign language captions to your video in the languages of your audience. But don’t stop there. Also add English-language captions to make your video fully accessible to people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, to remove inadvertent communications barriers AND to increase your SEO. Captions tip? http://UniversalSubtitles.org is the best free tool I have used. Show me Ken!: YouTube.

4.) Add links and annotations as appropriate to your YouTube videos to help people discover your other relevant YouTube content. Extra SEO credit? Upload a transcript to further increase your SEO. And it’s not extra work if you’ve already added captions, as the transcript can be your captions file!

5.) Upload your photos from the event, and the video of you presenting. Don’t forget to include full metadata (your name, the conference name, your presentation name, the names of people who were also captured in the footage, your keywords, etc.) for every photo/video you upload.

6.) Upload the audio recording/podcast of your presentation to your iTunes channel. Show me Ken!: iTunes (.mp3 file download).

7.) Write a post-mortem blog post about your participation in the event, appropriately addressing all backchannel feedback.

8.) Socially thank the event sponsors, and send follow-up social posts (with the most relevant URLs) to the people you connected with at the event. Remember to connect with everyone you met on LinkedIn and your other social networks as appropriate.

9.) Finally, upload your presentation to your Google+ account. Whew! Show me Ken!: Google+.

As I said at the start, pick and choose the items on these three co-publishing checklists that work best for you. You do not have to do everything on each of the three lists in order to have a big impact. And yes, these checklists work just as well for your product launches, press releases, and blog posts as they do for your presentations!

Co-publishing your marketing content on your different social networks will maximize the ROI of your investment in creating this content. But there is an even bigger benefit than increasing the reach, understanding and retention of your in-person and online audiences. Sharing your expertise — before, during, and after the event — will establish you as a powerful voice in your industry AND one that must be included in [internal company and external] conversations about your topic and your company. Now, GO KNOCK THEIR SOCKS OFF!

What additional social items do YOU have on your event checklist?  How do YOU use social media to leverage your investment in the creation of marketing content, including your participation in events?  Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: Do you have a question about social marketing technologies, tools, and best practices? Tweet your question with the hashtag “#DearKen”.  All tweets will be acknowledged, and considered as being submitted for publication.

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