Using Social Media to Supercharge your Presentation

Incorporating social media into your presentation can add several new layers of professionalism. It’ll also keep your audience engaged long after you wrap up. Here’s how…

It’s estimated that more than half of the planet are now regularly using social networks. That’s 3.5 billion people.

If that many people are familiar with it, it’s safe to assume that the majority of your audience will be avid social users, too. This means that it would be a poor presenter who didn’t acknowledge the power of the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when giving a talk; both to hammer home their points, and to provide additional information afterwards.

Better than photos

Obviously most of those 3.5 billion social users are accessing their accounts via their smartphones. These phones will no doubt be alongside them during your presentation. Apart from the odd rude person who doesn’t switch theirs to silent mode, they can actually be of use to you.

Have you sat through a really interesting presentation lately, one that featured info that was of genuine help? If so, you might have whipped out your phone and snapped a quick picture. Smartphone cameras mean that audience members can now take ‘photo notes’ of your slides. This allows them to better remember your talk.

However, those same snappers might also feel inclined to share the picture on one of the aforementioned social networks. That’s great if they include you @ username, spreading your exposure. But it’s bad if the photo is pretty shocking, making your amazing slides look rubbish.

To that end, preempt the modern trend of photo notes and get in front of them sharing their own pictures. Immediately before your presentation post a selection of slides to your social media account that best hits your audience’s age range (more on that below). Tell them the slides are there for their own use and to be shared, should they wish. That way the images will look just as you intend and not a blurred mess, taken from half a conference hall away.

Questions from introverts

Many presentations end with a good old question and answer session. The trouble is, depending on the keenness of your audience, suddenly declaring ‘any questions?’ can lead to embarrassment and awkwardness if no one raises a hand.

Again, use social media to get in front of the problem. At the start of the talk, or even at the bottom of each of your slides, reveal your Twitter name. You can even use a hashtag related to the talk. Tell them that if they have questions about anything during the presentation, tweet it. That way (hopefully) you’ll have something to come to immediately after, simply by glancing to your phone or laptop.

If no questions have arrived during your talk, the chances are there might be none to follow when you ask. That might not be the case, but this way you can at least make it a judgement call instead of merely hoping. It will also be a big help for those who might not like to ask questions out loud.

Using a hashtag is a great way to get exposure for your talk or presentation, too. It can be used before to spread updates prior, and discussions following. Again, this is a way to better engage with your audience, even during the train ride home from the venue.

Death of the handout

Have notes at the end of the presentation? Consider switching to the social version of handouts. Publishing your presentation notes and slides as part of a thread, story, or even animated video over a social network is a handout millennials can get on board with.

Announcing at the end of your talk that notes will be available on, say, your Facebook page, will not only result in fewer trees lost for the paper, but also an increase in your follower numbers.

As with a hashtag, publishing something via a social network will keep the conversation going, as your audience members (and others with who the info is shared) can comment, pose questions, and offer feedback.

Incorporating striking visuals into these ‘social handouts’ will encourage sharing on the likes of Instagram, bringing people with varying tastes and interests into the main body of your notes.

Pull in the data

Social media is an extremely powerful way to get data about people. Although infamous in recent years for the way it has been used for political gain, social media analytics can be used in a far more moral way to benefit your future presentations.

Building a social following as a direct result of presenting can help you better focus and tailor your talks’ content. As mentioned above, differing age groups have varying preferences for certain networks.

Almost 90% of people using Instagram, for example, are under 35. Meanwhile, the preferred social network for those aged 30 to 49, is Twitter. If you notice that your audience for Twitter is growing far faster, and engaging more frequently, chances are your target audience is older.

This data might not influence the content of future presentations, but it can help direct your social media use. Knowing your audience is likely to be older and more inclined to use Twitter over Instagram, means you’ll yield better results and engagement by sticking to it. So post your slide images there, and use it to continue conversations after the show is over.

More than a way to show off and chat to friends, integrating your social media accounts into your presentations is great way to supercharge them. If you need more help with social media use in your presentations get in touch with us today. From expertly designed slides, to damn-clever PowerPoint development, no one does presentations like we do.