Are you presenting at a conference this year?
Every presentation or talk you give is a chance to make an impact. Conference presentations are a norm of academic life.
It’s important you take advantage of the most powerful free tool at your disposal: social media.
Social media is all about connecting with people.
Conference organizers and program committees aim is to put together an event people want to attend.
You spend time and energy on the research, writing, and travel to your presentation.
Welcome to The Social Academic, my blog about online image in the academic world.
This post is all about why social media is a great way to announce your next presentation or talk.
Then, download my free template with easy-to-implement steps to an effective post. Reach the right audience for your talk.
Let’s talk about the impact of your research
Every presentation you give has the potential to reach
- the media
- the public
If you’re like these academics on Twitter, you’re presenting at conferences, and often!
While many articles discuss the importance of networking at conferences, most avoid the delicate subject of self-promotion.
Devony Looser says, “You want to be known as someone who presents terrific work-in-progress — work that is original, clearly argued, and succinct. But if you swoop into a conference, present your work, and leave, you’re missing the whole point.”
Conferences have great potential impact.
It’s time to use social media to your advantage.
Why? Because your audience matters.
Let’s talk about how to help your audience find you.
Sharing your talk isn’t self-promotion
Self-promotion is often defined as “forceful.”
Forceful and intentional are not the same thing.
Intentional sharing of something you put time, work, and money into, is not a bad thing.
Here’s the greater impact.
Not everyone to who is interested in your talk can attend the conference.
Some people may have wanted to be at your talk, but had another engagement at the same time. Maybe they were even presenting themselves.
Using social media to announce your talk, can give your audience a chance to find you.
Even when talking about the dangers of tweeting at conferences, Noah Berlatsky says, “Even small sessions on obscure topics now can speak to, and connect with, an audience all over the world.”
Benefits of announcing your presentation on social media
OK let’s break down the reasons why you need to be promoting your event on social media.
People like to plan in advance
Many conference attendees plan their schedules days, or even weeks in advance.
Others decide on the plane ride over.
Some scroll through Twitter checking the conference hashtag. What if we missed something in the program?
Larger conferences tend to have apps or websites where you can have the schedule, get reminded of panels, even RSVP.
Let people know about your talk a week in advance. And a few days before.
That way people have time to choose yours.
There’s a hashtag for that
The conference hashtag is there to help create conversation.
Sharing information about the conference using the hashtag is not self-promotion.
It’s sharing the details a specific audience needs to make a decision: choose your talk. Or at least be aware of it.
You should use the conference hashtag advertised even if there aren’t a lot of people using it.
Chances are if there is a hashtag, there are people checking to see if a conversation has started.
There are a whole slew of people who can’t make the conference.
Those can’t-attendees should still be aware of your talk.
People may reach out for a copy of your talk if they couldn’t make it but it’s specific to their field, or research.
Acquisitions editors often look through conference programs, but they’re also on Twitter.
Your audience already cares
You already have an audience that cares about your work. They’ve connected with you, likely for some time.
People are interested in what their friends are up to. Not in a creepy way.
In a genuine – Oh, that’s cool! kind of way.
You’re right that they don’t want to hear self-promotion all the time.
That’s why it’s important to speak to the right audience (keywords and hashtags).
It’s also important to tell your audience why they should care (“This conference is important because…”), especially on Facebook.
The best way to reach your audience is by announcing your talk a few times.
Why? People are busy. They aren’t on social media all the time.
And even if they are, some algorithms make it so not everything shows up.
Posting multiple times is a good communication practice.
Just be sure to space them out!
Another tip for good communication is at the conference itself.
If someone offers you a microphone, #UseTheMic.
Get the template
I created this template to help you craft effective social media posts to announce your next conference presentation.
Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and public relations consultant. She founded The Academic Designer, LLC to help academics, researchers, and writers control their online presence and share their work with the world.
She holds a B.A. from Monmouth University in English, and an M.F.A. from Naropa University in Writing & Poetics where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. Jennifer also holds an M.A. from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Literature and Cultural Studies where she was one of four master’s fellows and a finalist for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award.