Try to imagine a line of PowerPoint slides stretching across the Atlantic, and you might get an idea of how many presentations I’ve had the pleasure of creating. As the “keeper of the message,” I’ve crafted slide after slide for conference speakers, ensuring each one aligned to strategy in its own way. But these presentations have always left me wondering: What kinds of opportunity are presenters or conference organizers missing to extend their influence beyond the ballroom?
You’ve probably sat through plenty of conference presentations and heard some great speakers (and saw some stellar PowerPoints). One thing separates the merely good presentations from the trending presentations that get tweeted about, blogged about, and talked about: hashtags.
Turn Your Presentations #Social with hashtags
As a presenter or event organizer, you want to engage not only the audience in the room, but break out to outside audiences. Perhaps folks interested in the topic couldn’t attend. Perhaps they didn’t know about the event. Perhaps they didn’t even know they were interested. Hashtags turn your presentation into social media conversation.
But you need to be smart about it. Hashtags are highly searchable and act like SEO for social networks. Studies have shown that clickthrough rates for tweets with one hashtag (not multiple; let’s not #get #crazy #here) are higher than for tweets with no hashtags.
Step 1: Choose Your #Hashtag
While creating a unique hashtag for presentations is not tough, you need to be strategic about it. If you’re a conference organizer, choose something related to your theme that’s not being used in the Twittersphere. Perhaps you’re presenting at a conference that doesn’t have a hashtag — if so, you might want to pick one for yourself. Either way, you’ll also have to make sure it’s unique enough you can track it. Because, what’s all this work worth without metrics and KPIs? (Amiright? #MetricsRule)
Step 2: Promote Your #Hashtag
Communicate your chosen hashtag everywhere early and often. Promote it before the event on all of your social channels. Ask your company social media team if they’ll retweet any of your posts. If you’re the conference organizer, ask your presenters to include this hashtag in their materials and communicate it everywhere — early and often.
If you’re presenting, amplifying that hashtag means you’ll get some credit for the ideas you present. The hashtag should appear on every page of your presentation, not just at the beginning. Why? Because you want to make it as easy on your audience as possible to post about you.
And finally, make sure you ask the audience to follow you on Twitter or connect with you on LinkedIn. Give your audience something to do that connects them to you further and gives them a deeper dive into content or resources.