Welcome to the 21st Century where almost everything is done online: buying shoes, catching up on friend’s lives and even booking speaking engagements. If you’re ready and willing to do some public speaking, social media is an important tool to help you.
Speaking engagements are not typically booked based on a bio alone. People want to see what you’ve done before, works you’ve written, articles you’ve been quoted in – and they want to see your personality. That’s why one of the most effective ways to cultivate an audience and to show them what to expect from you is through social media.
Not only does social media provide an endless database of contacts at your fingertips to find speaking opportunities, it allows you to interact with your target demographic, give them insight into what topics you can speak about and make it easy for someone to commission you as a speaker. That’s why it’s important for your social media profiles to make the cut. Here is what you need to think about:
Are you using keywords?
As a professional using online PR methods, you have probably heard about SEO and keywords ad nauseam. That’s because they are crucial to getting the attention you want on a Google-dominated web. Keywords are the best way for internet users to search you out, so the more you use words that are relevant to your areas of expertise and that people will search for, the more clicks you get.
When you’ve used a certain word enough times across enough of your online materials, you begin to be viewed as an expert on that topic. That’s basically SEO in a nutshell.
Do your profiles list your areas of expertise?
Not only do you want to use keywords in any content you post, you also want to include them in your headlines, bios and profiles. For example, if you are looking for speaking opportunities, put “public speaker” on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn bios, and get people to “endorse” that skill on LinkedIn.
Make your profiles as detailed and accurate as possible to show plainly what your expertise is, right from the first glance. After all, the average internet user doesn’t stay on any page for more than a few minutes – or even a few seconds.
Is any of your work displayed?
Since social media are, by nature, multimedia tools, your pages should have all your relevant materials somewhere on them. If you have videos of talks you’ve given or have published articles or case studies about a specific topic, include those files on your profiles as well.
People want to see what you’ve done before, works you’ve written, articles you’ve been quoted in – and they want to see your personality.
LinkedIn is an especially good place to create a running portfolio of your professional work and you can even link the work to the specific job title under which you did that work. That way, anyone on your pages can get a good sense of what you can do before they even reach out to you.
Are you sharing relevant and credible information?
If you are only sharing posts about yourself, it can become too promotional and turn people away. It’s important to also share other people’s work that is relevant to your audience, and add your professional insight on those topics. Just as your bios need to be chock full of your expertise, so should your social media feeds. When your audience sees credible and valuable information coming from you, they will keep coming back and view you as an expert. Not to mention, they will know what you think is important, and whether you might be a good fit for their next speaking gig.
The overall idea is that your social media should reflect exactly who you are as a person and as a professional. If you are seeking speaking engagements, make it abundantly clear that you are interested in those opportunities. If you want to be published in more news outlets, share other work you have done that is relevant to those outlets. In other words, people shouldn’t have to weed through your social media pages like they’re on a deep jungle safari, your competence and authority should shine through with every word that you post.