Using social media in presentations

You’re standing in front of a conference audience, halfway through your slides, when you notice something – half of them aren’t looking at you any more. Instead, you’re met with a crowd of heads tapping and swiping on mobile devices and notebooks.

Social Media Presentation

Twitter has become the ubiquitous tool for conference participation, ideas sharing and networking, and following some simple social media tips will allow you to build more interactivity into your presentations.

In past posts, we’ve offered some tips on how to engage an audience, but this time we’ll take a look at how you can harness the power of social to empower your audience and start a digital conversation around your topic.

Market Your Presentation Beforehand

Make an effort to find out the event hashtag before you arrive, jump on it straight away and begin promoting your presentation with meaningful bits of media (blurbs, images, video etc.) – you can then start drumming up interest in your topic before delegates even arrive.

But don’t just limit yourself to Twitter. If you have a personal blog or website, you can create a concise blurb for your talk (with time and location details) and begin pointing people towards it. Create a LinkedIn post from your personal page or even start a discussion in the group for the conference.

Does the event or its organising group have a Facebook page? If it does, post your link there too. If not, you can even create an event page yourself and begin inviting relevant professional contacts.

Create Your Own Hashtag

Creating your own unique hashtag and including it on every slide means that your audience can isolate discussion around your presentation from the rest of the conference conversation.

Remember to also include your social media handles in your presentation so that the audience can mention and interact with you directly – a great place to put them is on your first slide and have this displayed while people are trickling in and waiting for you to begin.

Use Tweetable Quotes

On Twitter especially, brevity and conciseness are your greatest weapons – so the content of your presentation should reflect this.

By developing a clear narrative for your talk and concluding each section or key idea with a punchy, 140-character summary, you’ll make it very easy for your audience to push your content out via their own social channels using your custom hashtag.

Schedule Tweets (Auto-Tweet)

If you know the time slot for your talk, why not pre-load some tweets into your personal or company Twitter account to reinforce your key points and maximise engagement with your audience?

Social media dashboards like TweetDeck and Hootsuite allow you to pencil in tweets ahead of time, and they’ll send at the desired time regardless of whether or not you’re currently signed in.

Twitter Q&A

Because your presentation will likely conclude with an audience questions and answers session, it’s a good idea at the start of your talk to ask your audience to submit any questions they might have via Twitter using your custom hashtag.

Then when the time comes for questions, you can both solicit them from people in the audience and via Twitter – eliminating any awkward silences and giving shier members of the audience a chance to participate.

Follow Up After Presentation

There’s no reason why the conversation has to end when you walk offstage – you can use the social and content platforms available to you to push out links to in-depth resources that further enrich your presentation and expand key insights beyond the 140-character limit.

Consider using Twitter and Facebook to push out links to accompanying blog posts and articles, SlideShare to host your presentation slide deck, and Pinterest and Twitter for hosting summary infographics.

Following up and engaging your audience after your talk can also be a great opportunity to learn from any criticism – take it on the chin, and build any feedback into the structure of your next talk so you can develop a better connection with your audience.

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