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Can Speakers Use Twitter?
10 Tips to Make It Work for You… Today!

  1. Use Twitter Search to find speaking opportunities. This is far from the optimal way to benefit from Twitter, but if you really want to give it a try, you can. (Tip: Use the advanced search to filter out unwanted results — for example, if you were searching for tweets that include “keynote speaker,” you might want to avoid words like Yamaha, JBL, etc. that would most likely indicate tweets about audio speakers.)
  2. Share an interesting picture of you with TwitPic. If you want to let people on Twitter know that you’re a speaker, do it in a way that they’ll care about — and who doesn’t like to see an interesting picture? Did you just share the stage with a celebrity — and you have a picture? Or are you the celebrity, and you just took a picture with one of your fans? Or did you just see an amazing sunset after that San Diego convention? Your followers will want to see these pictures, and they just happen to be connected to your speaking work.
  3. Use Twitter Search to get input from people in the industry where you’re speaking next. Whereas #1 is one of my least favorite uses of Twitter, using Twitter to connect and LISTEN is one of my favorite uses. In this case, you could use the Advanced Search again and search for keywords related to the industry you’re targeting.
  4. Use Twitter Search to interview customers of the business or type of business where you’re speaking. If you were speaking at the Tanning Expo, for example, you might search for the keyword “tanning.” There are lots of tweeple whose updates mention tanning, so you could send them a tweet and ask them a question about what they like about tanning, or what they like about their favorite salon, or what they wish was different. Use your imagination. (But be careful: My tanning example could get a little weird, but asking people about computers or cell phones or cars — depending on where you’re speaking — would be much safer.)
  5. Instruct your meeting attendees to tweet using a certain hashtag during and/or after your keynote. If you’re Jane Smith, for instance, and you’re speaking for the Arkansas Hospitality Association, you could have people tag their tweets regarding your presentation with #jsaha (your initials plus association initials). Now you can monitor those tweets during your presentation (if you really want instant feedback) or after, and you can engage with your attendees on Twitter. Not only is it a great way to connect, but it’s a great way to see what questions people are asking about your material, or what they like most… then you know where there are opportunities to enhance your business.
  6. Engage with your fans, followers and attendees. Even if you don’t want to play with hashtags, you can at least mention your Twitter handle on your website, in your book, and DEFINITELY at your events — encourage people to “contact me on twitter @yourname if you have any questions or comments – I’d love to connect.” The great thing is that when people tweet to you, you show up in their twitter feed, so you never know who you might get in front of. It’s all about expanding your reach (with real, helpful communication).
  7. Tweet a recommendation to a speaker/author/authority you look up to. Is there someone you’d like to connect with, but you don’t want to pick up the phone to call them? If you’re a leadership speaker, maybe you admire Ken Blanchard and his work has had a major impact on you and your material. Send him a tweet with “@kenblanchard just wanted to say I love your work” (the more specific you can be, the better). Will he care? Of course. Everyone loves applause. And you never know, he might reply, which means your twitter handle was just seen by his followers! (Just to be clear, though, you should only do this if you sincerely want to express thanks or admiration. The reply mention just happens to be a nice benefit. Sincerity and authenticity rules.)
  8. Tweet an offer for something free to your followers. Do you have an audio to give away? A video? E-book? Give something away that’s really valuable and 1) you’ll build more goodwill with your followers, and 2) it just might go viral and explode your network.
  9. Reply to someone else’s tweet — without promoting yourself. Pay attention to what your followers are talking about and chime in every now and then. Did someone just mention going somewhere interesting? Ask them about it or make a comment. Does someone have a question that you can answer (even if it’s not related to your core business)? Answer it. Contribute and participate in the community.
  10. Find a chat to participate in (last night was #speakchat for example — I missed it). There are chats for HR professionals, tech professionals, and on and on. Here’s a directory of over 330 Twitter chats — and it’s still growing! These chats are a great way to engage and yes, you might get some business out of it, but you’re guaranteed to come away with a better understanding of what professionals in a particular field care about. (And that is priceless when it comes to creating and marketing your services.)

BONUS: Recommended Twitter Apps for Your Smartphone

Have questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help. Or, have your own Twitter tips to share with other speakers? Success stories based on the tips above? Let’s hear them!

Thanks for reading!

by Shawn

Shawn Ellis is founder of The Speakers Group and creator of Succeed Speaking. An award-winning speaker agent and manager who has worked with many of the world's best speakers, authors and thought leaders, Shawn has a passion for helping a new generation of speakers rise up to reach more people with positive, meaningful messages -- while building innovative, profitable businesses at the same time. Learn more...

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