Use Your Words: How Effective is Social Media in Getting Speaking Engagements?

'' photo (c) 2009, Alex - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Every Tuesday when I’m not away speaking I try to host my Use Your Words BlogTalkRadio show at noon EST! And today’s topic was suggested by Jamie Blahun, who commented on my Facebook Page, asking how to manage the time that you spend on social media. You can listen to the thirty minute show right here.

Here are some highlights:

1. Think About Your Goal

If your goal is to get speaking engagements, then you need to devote your time online to the things that are most likely to do that. And remember the path that people usually take when booking a speaker:

  • Someone’s name is suggested
  • They Google that person
  • They read their information and watch videos
  • Then they contact them

In other words, the vast majority of speaking engagements will be secured because someone mentioned your name, and then they checked you out online.

If you do not have a good website that explains what you speak about, and that has a lot of photos of you speaking, it is unlikely you will be hired.

Thus, your main goal is to create a website that is likely to get you speaking engagements. The best way to do that is to create a high quality one that includes video, and to keep in contact through newsletters with people that have already heard you speak (so as to get referrals).

2. Facebook and Twitter are Really Peripheral to this

Yes, everyone needs to be on Facebook. Not everyone needs to be on Twitter. But when it comes to speaking engagements, if you have a limited amount of time to devote online, the priority really should be in getting your website top-notch and then in keeping in contact with people that you have spoken to through newsletters.

The problem with both Facebook and Twitter is that they are not geographically specific, and when you are looking to get speaking engagements, geography matters, especially when you’re starting out, because few churches have the money to fly someone in. So you want to get well known in a small geographical area. That’s not really Facebook and Twitter’s forte.

Does that mean that you can ignore them? No. But I certainly wouldn’t put so much time into Twitter and getting thousands of followers that I neglected to put up good videos on my website. Honestly, videos come first, along with keeping in touch with those who already know you. Getting to know strangers is helpful, but it’s secondary.

3. When You’re On Twitter and Facebook, Remember the Purpose

If you do want to spend time on Facebook and Twitter, make sure that you do so with an eye to creating your “brand”. If you want to be known as a women’s speaker about deep spiritual issues, don’t dedicate your Twitter feed to how hard it is to housetrain your new puppy. Don’t put lots up on Facebook about your family’s move, or the trouble you’re having with your new kitchen renovation. These things may be interesting to you, but they aren’t to people who don’t know you personally, and they will cause those people to tune you out.

The key to social media is not to confuse people. People will pay more careful attention to you if they know what you tend to talk about. They start to expect, “oh, she’ll have a pithy thing to say about doing your devotions”, or, “I know she’ll say something neat about prayer.” If you come out and talk politics, you’ll throw them off.

So stick to your brand, no matter how passionate  you are about other things. And then find other people who speak about the same things, and follow them and participate in conversations. As you grow relationships, you’re more likely to get recommendations.

4. Don’t Ignore LinkedIn

As we talked about last week on the show, LinkedIn can be  useful for getting to know people who work in women’s ministry and specifically want more women’s ministry ideas. If you can find groups on LinkedIn to join that have to do with evangelism to women, women’s ministry, women’s retreats, or anything like that, and then you participate in those conversations, you’ll get better known. But if the group is huge, and only two or three people ever participate anything, then chances are that group isn’t worth your time.

5. Set Parameters

Finally, take a look at your social media efforts and decide how much time it’s reasonable for you to spend a day. Then get a kitchen timer and set it for that amount of time, and count down. When you’re done, you’re done. No more feeling guilty.

Another thing that can help are the automatic scheduling programs. Hootsuite, for instance, can schedule your Tweets and Facebook updates to appear throughout the day, so you can schedule everything in the morning and then leave it for the day. That can save you tremendous time!

Look, everyone is on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Pinterest, but they’re on it for different reasons, and those reasons don’t always add up to helping you get speaking engagements. So judge what really would be the most useful, and what your goal is, and concentrate on the areas that will bring you the best rewards! Listen in the whole show here.

If you want some more help in marketing your speaking ministry, my teleseminar, Treating Speaking as a Business, helps you prioritize your efforts!

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3 Responses

  1. Very helpful! Thanks!

  2. Sheila,

    What type of inexpensive equipment do you suggest to make videos from home? What all is needed? Thanks

  3. […] also one of its drawbacks. If you’re spending a ton of time interacting with people on Facebook and Twitter, but none of those people live anywhere near you, getting asked to speak is unlikely. […]

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