Using Twitter When Speaking

Welcome to episode 280 of Hit the Mic with The Stacey Harris.

Hello, hello. Welcome to episode 280. This is The Stacey Harris, social media strategist and trainer helping entrepreneurs build communities through social media. I am really excited to talk about speaking today. One of my most favorite things to do is to go out and speak. I’ve got a couple of gigs lined up for July, and so I thought I would share with you guys what I do during my speaking engagements while I’m speaking, while I’m on stage, with social media to help engage the people I’m speaking to, to the audience. These are things that I love doing because they take something that’s very one-to-many, in the sense that I’m standing out there talking at people, and it gives it a conversational perspective. It gives it that ability to have a back-and-forth.

Selfishly, it allows me to connect with people in the audience who qualify themselves by connecting with what I’m talking with and reach out to me and extend those targeted relationships, where people have said, “Hey, I dig what you said and I totally buy in on her theory. I want to learn more about her or the topic or the offering or the whatever,” and so they send me a message. This allows me to connect with them really, really simply. From a community side, it allows me to build relationships, but also from a business side it helps me convert leads and be aware of leads and really make the most of that speaking engagement.

This is especially powerful for those of you who maybe aren’t getting paid to speak yet or who aren’t getting paid a whole lot to speak yet but are able to either make a pitch right from the stage or you’re not getting paid for the speaking gig, you’re doing it for practice or exposure or whatever and you’re not really allowed to pitch from the stage. This allows you to still generate some revenue from the speaking engagement, because you’re not pitching from the stage, you’re building a relationship with targeted people in the audience and potentially selling them that way. Be aware that this is a really powerful tool to have in your arsenal. Even if you are somebody who is paid to speak but then not pitching from the stage, this is a great way to get people into your funnels.

That’s what we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to share what I do. I’ve covered a little bit about why I do this. From a business perspective it makes sense and from a community perspective it makes sense, but also it’s ridiculously simple, because as humans we want to be heard. I think if you’ve ever spoken or you’ve ever seen someone speak and then you’ve had the urge to go up to them and connect with them, this allows that. This gives you that ability to go and introduce yourself without necessarily having to go up to the person, because going up to the person may not be possible. On the flip side, if you are speaking to a room of 100 or 200 or 500 or 1,000 people, it’s going to be really difficult for you as one person to talk to all of the people who want to talk to you, and social allows you to extend that time.

Let’s jump in with how I do this.

First things first. My Twitter handle and a hashtag, either #HittheMic if the event doesn’t have a hashtag or the event’s hashtag, is on every single slide in my presentation, every single slide, because I want them to remember that I’m accessible and then this is the way to get in touch with me. Bonus: This also has a tendency to reduce the crazy amount of e-mails I get after an event because I’ve connected with them via social. Just a little note. I have my Twitter handle on every single slide as well as a hashtag, either the event’s hashtag if the event has one or my hashtag if the event does not happen to have a hashtag.

Then at the beginning of my presentation you see the title slide for whatever the presentation is, and then before I talk about who I am or what I do or even the topic at hand, I say, “This is my favorite tip. It’s my gift to you. This is what I would love to encourage you to do. Feel free to tweet during this presentation.” On the slide is my Twitter handle, the event’s hashtag, and, if the event’s been going on for a little while and it has a hashtag, I’ll do a screenshot of the hashtag out of either Hootsuite or generally I’ll just grab it from Twitter so that they can see that other people are engaging there. I will invite them and make it super clear that “you’re welcome to tweet me any questions or thoughts or takeaways, but also just tweet generally. What really struck a chord with you? What really hit home for you? Share your insights, because not everybody can be in this room. Share with your audience and with the rest of the event community what really was helpful for you, was beneficial for you.”

That’s the second slide in my presentation. From there, I go into what we’re going to talk about. I briefly talk about myself in the context of what we’re talking about, establishing credibility without spending 20 minutes talking about me. Then I jump right into content. Again, on each of those slides, on every single slide for the remainder of my presentation are the hashtags and my Twitter handle. The final slide is, “Do you have any questions?” On that slide is not only my invitation for them to ask me questions if there’s an actual Q&A time in the presentation, which some events don’t allow, but if it does allow it I’ll answer those questions then, but if events don’t leave time for Q&A or that’s not built into the structure of that presentation, I will have, “Do you have any questions? Let me know via social,” and I will have a link to my Facebook page as well as my Twitter handle, because that’s a really, really great way, again, to drive them to my social channels.

Again, I have at the top of the presentation an invitation to tweet. Not just, “Hey, here’s my information,” but I actually tell them, “This is one my of favorite things to do at an event. It allows me to connect to speakers. It allows me to connect with other attendees. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Then I’ve got it on every slide. Then at the close of the presentation I’m saying, “If you want to ask more questions, if you want to get to know me better, blah, blah, blah, whatever, here’s how you do it.” I’m really pointing them to a place where they can connect.

Another great call to action can be to give away a freebie and say, “Text such-and-such a number to grow your e-mail list.” That’s another really great way, but we’re talking about social today and so I’m talking about what I do to direct traffic socially. I always, even if I have a pitch to a freebie, to text, to e-mail, I always, always, always point them back to my social, because they’re engaged now. They want to talk to me right now, and so I want to give them an avenue to do that, whether that’s coming up to me, which happens and I enjoy and I have zero problem with, or reaching out to me on social, which is also really great.

Now I have all of these social connects, I have all these people who have reached out. What do I do with them? I followup. I spend generally the entirety of any session following mine responding to tweets or Facebook messages, generally tweets, though, because usually that’s where I drive them. I spend generally a very long time after a presentation responding to each and every twitter reply, tweets left at the hashtag that didn’t include my handle but were about what I was talking about, direct messages. If somebody sends me a direct message, I respond to every single one. As I’m responding, I actually add them to a private Twitter list that’s just titled the event and the year usually so that I can continue to followup with them. I respond right then, I follow back anybody who followed me, and I engage with them. A lot of times we’ll end up in a back-and-forth conversation, or sometimes we’ll even arrange to have a drink or something like that at an event. It depends on what kind of conference it is I’m speaking at.

Then once I’m home, or a couple days have passed if the event happens to be at home, I’ll reach out again. I’ll connect. I’ll say, “Hey, thanks for coming. Did you have any other questions? Is there anything I can help with?” Or, if we had a conversation and then other stuff came up, I’ll send them a podcast episode or a blog post that speaks more to the questions they had. I just provide value. It’s not that I’m reaching out and making a pitch. It’s that I’m reaching out and saying, “Hey, here’s more of what you needed.” I’ll also share to the hashtag, “Hey, I’ve got this if anybody is interested. This question came up a lot.” I’m using that as a tool to followup. The people who are really engaged, I will go and connect with on LinkedIn and see if we are connected or if we can connect there. I’m extending those relationships. I’m doing what I can do to really move them from event attendee who happened to see me speak to somebody interested in learning more about what I’m sharing.

In some instances, in the occasional instance, they know after they see me speak that they want to work more with me, they reach out and ask about that. I direct them to my e-mail and they join something like Backstage or we book consulting time, whatever it is. That can also happen frequently. I generally move those conversations out of social and into my e-mail, though, just because it’s a more direct way to handle the actual sales process. Occasionally it’s, “Yeah, I’d love to have you Backstage. Here’s the link to join us now,” which is fine. Make sure, again, that that’s not happening without a prompt. That’s not just part of the formula. It’s natural and targeted and only to the people who can genuinely be helped by whatever it is you’re offering and who are ready to receive such help.

That really is it. It’s about utilizing this as a way for them to connect with you. This is how I get rooms full of people to not only sit there and listen to me for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 90 minutes, but also to engage with me later, to talk to me, connect with me so I can provide value over time, not just that 20 or 40 or 90 minutes of value when I was on stage. It’s definitely a win-win, but it’s something you have to be prepared to do. You’ve got to put it in your presentation. Tell them what you want them to do. Invite them to connect with you.

It’s also something that you have to be ready to followup on and connect with. If you are going back-to-back, maybe you’re speaking and then you’re doing a workshop, then this may be something that you need some help with, but I wouldn’t outsource that engagement point. I would really encourage you to make the time to engage, even if it’s not right after. I like to do it right after because everything I just said and the situation is fresh in my head and I’m all fired up. I’m an extrovert, so I really like to do that stuff. I get all worked up and I’m totally energized to do it. That may not be you. You may need a little bit of time to recover. Maybe you have some lunch or you step away, and then you respond to the social stuff. Whatever that is for you, make sure it’s happening, because, again, this is turning people who happen to show up in your room into people who are really a fan of you. That’s what’s important.

That’s what I like to do. That’s how I maximize my speaking engagements, and that’s how I really use social to garner more leads from speaking and really make sure that I’m growing my business from speaking, whether it’s free or paid.

If you want to learn more about Twitter and using it and maximizing it, be sure you join us in Backstage. We do have some Twitter trainings in there. We talk about Twitter ads. We talk about Twitter cards. We even talk about Twitter 101. Come on over and join us. It’s only $25 to join us, and you can get the access you need to learn more about Twitter. By the way, that $25, that’s short-lived. August 1st, that price does go up to $40 a month. Now is the time to join, because when you join now, that’s the price for the life of your membership, meaning even though the price is going up on August 1st, if you join before August 1st your price will never go up, unless you cancel your membership and then come back, just as a caveat. For as long as your membership stays, your price stays. It’s a really, really good time to join us Backstage. Again, you can get the Twitter trainings you need for $25. How killer is that? I will see you Backstage.

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