A colleague called today to ask for my help with “building some buzz using social media” about an upcoming speaking engagement. This is a common question, so I thought I would share some practices I have used successfully to both “build buzz” and “get butts in seats” for events.
First, time is of the essence for this particular event – it’s about two weeks away. Typically, the longer you have, the better, but since so many attendees are late registrants, you can still achieve good results within a short amount of time.
What we need to help you maximize your speaking opportunity is a mini speaker promotions plan. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll walk you through how to create and execute one, quickly and easily, in about an hour.
This mini speaker promotions plan will help you:
- get clear on your messaging
- set up a schedule and time your efforts for maximum impact
- determine what platforms to use and what to do on each platform (complete with sample message themes!)
Getting Clear on Messaging
Your messaging will stand out if your content clearly addresses the needs of your intended audience. Getting clear on the messaging includes crafting a compelling marketing piece (which can be long or short depending on the length and complexity of your event) that outlines what’s in it for your attendees. Helpful questions to ask yourself in this effort are things like:
- What might an attendee learn?
- Who might an attendee meet?
- Why is this info important to an attendee?
- What tangible benefits will an attendee gain?
- What intangible benefits will an attendee gain?
This list is just a starting point, but will help you focus on promoting the parts of the event that have the most value for attendees. Lamentably, much of the event marketing that crosses my desk is written more from the perspective of the sponsoring organization and less from that of the intended attendee.
Setting up a Schedule
The next part of your plan is scheduling or timing. Now that you have your salient points assembled, how do you share them? How much time do you have? One status update is better than nothing, but if you want to get your message out, repetition is key. Plan when to deliver your messages according to the consumption practices of the media or platform you will use. For example, the time you should allow between a LinkedIn post or Tweet is very different from the time between emails.
What Platforms to Use and What to Say
What tools and platforms should you use and exactly should you do? You do not want to overwhelm your audience, but you do want to create awareness. You need to go where your customers are, so think about where you are likely to find them. (If you don’t know, ask a marketing specialist or your event organizer for ideas.)
Not all platforms are equal. For the purposes of our plan, since this is a business event, we will want to use LinkedIn. You should also consider building buzz with video on YouTube. You may also decide to include Twitter and Facebook in the mix if your intended audience is social media savvy.
What to Say?
Some sample message themes follow. Adopt these to your specific needs
- Update your status showing where and when you will be speaking. Remember to link to more details.
- Initiate a discussion in a group that matches your target audience. Ask group members to share their challenges so you can address their concerns in your talk.
- Have a video? Use YouTube to show a quick preview or just a quick promotion of what you will be discussing.
- No video? Pick one related to your topic and comment on it, noting you’ll be speaking on the same topic and asking for ideas.
On Twitter and Facebook:
- Post an update about your speaking engagement, linking to the event sign up page.
- Ask a related question on the topic, again linking to event details.
- Share your excitement that you will be speaking – and invite your friends and followers to attend the event.
- Share a photo of yourself speaking elsewhere and note you will be speaking again, with a link to details.
Other tools you might want to use include SlideShare, Pinterest, Google+, other online discussion boards and sites. The list goes on and on, and will vary according to your particular speaking opportunity.
On Your Own Website:
Don’t overlook your own website. Create a page showing your speaking engagements and topics. This page will showcase your availability and expertise long after the event is over.
If you speak regularly, spending some time getting comfortable with these methods will be beneficial. Alternatively, you can hire a marketing strategist to help focus and jumpstart your social media activities and visibility. Either way, spend some time thinking about what you will do differently or better next time to promote similar opportunities that come your way. It will be time well spent. If you followed the suggestions in this article, you now have a template your can retool and repeat next time around, making it that much easier.
One more thing – please share what you are doing with the event organizers. Not only will they appreciate that you are acting as a true partner in promoting their event, they will likely boost your visibility by commenting and liking your posts. Showing you are willing to invest in the success of an event is also a sure-fire way to boost your chances of getting invited back to speak.
Have other ideas to promote speaking opportunities? Please share them with me. Looking to learn other ways to boost your visibility? Let’s chat.
© 2015 Anne Doherty Johnson
About the Author
Anne Doherty Johnson is marketing strategist with expertise in growing engagement and revenues for member based organizations. She has over 20 years experience working for membership organizations matched by leadership roles for professional and non-profit associations. She views membership from both sides of the table , having been and still serving as both a professional provider and personal consumer of membership services. Equipped with a keen business sense and public relations savvy, she has created successful marketing campaigns to sell memberships, events, products and services. She has also counseled corporations and individuals on how to maximize memberships in pursuit of their goals. Contact her at http://www.annedohertyjohnson.com.
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