When you’re just starting out as a public speaker, it can be a challenge to find actual speaking gigs. In the past, speakers had to rely on sending out cold emails or reaching out to former colleagues to get invites to industry events and conferences.
But social media has made finding speaking gigs far simpler.
Here are some ways you can begin leveraging social media to land speaking gigs:
LinkedIn for landing speaking gigs
Not only is LinkedIn great for networking with other professionals in your industry, but your LinkedIn profile has a better chance of ranking in the search results than your own personal website pages. This is beneficial and allows event organizers to find you easily. That is, as long as you:
Optimize your keywords to reflect your expertise
What are public speakers, really, if not subject matter experts? When event organizers search for speakers, they are searching for people who have knowledge on a certain topic.
For this reason, it’s important that you use specific keywords related to your expertise throughout your profile, particularly in sections like your summary and job descriptions.
Not sure what keywords to use?
Think from the perspective of an event organizer. If you were looking for a speaker like yourself, how would you search for you? What words would you use? You may use broader keywords and phrases in your headline (social media), and more specific keywords in your summary and job descriptions (Twitter, LinkedIn).
Call yourself a public speaker
This tip may seem obvious, but many burgeoning public speakers completely overlook it. You will have noticed that LinkedIn automatically populates a job title for you when you create a profile. But you are allowed to remove this title and replace it with your own wording.
By simply adding the title “public speaker” to your title, you will not only optimize your profile to turn up in LinkedIn’s results for “public speaker”, you will also optimize it for Google’s search results. As I mentioned earlier, your LinkedIn profile will more than likely rank higher in the search results and therefore be found more easily. Should someone be searching for public speakers in your local area, your profile will turn up.
Create a separate job description for “Public Speaker”
You’ve already sprinkled your other job descriptions with keywords related to your topic of expertise, and that’s a great start. But let’s take it one step further by creating an entirely separate job description for “public speaker.” This will allow you to speak directly about your public speaking experience.
You will want to include how many keynotes you’ve delivered, the average size of your audience, and any positive feedback you’ve earned. Don’t forget to get those keywords in there, and be sure to mention your topic of expertise.
Make the case for your expertise
And speaking of your expertise, it’s time for you to show it off! Your summary section is where you’ll want to make the case that you are an expert in your field.
But before you begin writing, it’s important to mention that how you write this section is as important as what you say. The event organizers that are searching for speakers are first and foremost searching for actual people. Write your summary in the first person and be sure to keep the tone conversational.
And finally, as public speakers are ultimately storytellers, it’s important that you tell your personal story in this section. How did you get where you are today? What challenges have you overcome? What insights are you ready to share? If you can tell a compelling story in your summary, you make a very good case that you are a public speaker worth reaching out to!
To get you started thinking about what personal story you can tell, try and think of challenges you have overcome. What goals you have reached, and what some of the hard-earned lessons along the way have been.
Spend an afternoon brainstorming. On a piece of paper jot down some of the main events in your life and what you learned from those events. It’s important that your story and overall message be positive. Avoid focusing on negative emotions like loss or failure. Though the events you share may have been challenging, ultimately you want to end on a high note that inspires the reader, just as you inspire audiences through your speeches.
Share your speaking videos
If you have one, it’s a great idea to share your speaking reel. This can go right under your summary, so people immediately see you in action. If you don’t have a produced reel, consider embedding two or three full-length videos in this section to entice event organizers to contact you.
Blog on LinkedIn
Take advantage of LinkedIn Publisher and blog about your speaking experience. When you blog about the very topics your speeches cover, you further establish yourself as an expert in your field.
When it comes to what content you are allowed to publish, you have two options: original (always recommended) or republished guest posts that are living on other blogs. If you go with this second option, just be sure to get permission from the blog owner first. If you aren’t able to get permission, you will simply need to feature these posts you’ve written for other sites through the “Add Media” option.
Ask for recommendations
After each speaking engagement, ask the organizer of the event if you may send them a recommendation request through LinkedIn. When sending these requests, be sure to specify the position the recommendation should fall under – in this case the “public speaker” position you’ve created. Now when visitors look at your profile, one of the first things they’ll see are your recommendations.
Twitter for landing speaking gigs
You may think that LinkedIn is the best, or only, social media platform for landing speaking gigs because it is a social hub for professionals. But many speaker bureaus and meeting planners use Twitter as well, and what better way to know what they’re looking for than to follow and interact with them. When you reply to their posts, there is a very good chance they will take a look at your optimized profile, see a link to your website, and click on it to find out more about you.
Now, it’s important to mention that you must already be active on Twitter before you start following people you hope to connect with. How will it look if an event planner clicks on your profile and sees only three old posts? Not very good.
You don’t have to Tweet 20 times a day, but you should be sharing content daily and consistently. Also, be sure to use hashtags that are relevant to your topic and industry. This will help you be discovered by the right people. Not sure which hashtags to use? Take a look at some of the thought leaders in your industry to see which hashtags they’re using.
And finally, a great way to establish yourself as an expert on your chosen topic and “meet” people who may want to hire you is through Twitter chats. Are you scratching your head right now at the mere mention of Twitter chats? No problem, check out this comprehensive guide that will get you started.
Facebook for landing speaking gigs
If you thought Facebook was only good for rubbing your friends’ noses in how great your last vacation was, you’re wrong. Although it is admittedly excellent for showing off scuba diving and camel-riding pictures.
Beyond optimizing your profile page to highlight your speaking credentials, Facebook allows you to advertise directly to the people who are most likely to want to hire you. That’s right, with Facebook’s ads, you can target meeting planners specifically, so only they see your ad.
So how would that look? Well, after you do a bit of research and find some local events you would love to be invited to, you create a promotional ad through your Facebook account and send it to only the handful of event organizers you select. In fact, Facebook even lets you upload a specific list of people to reach out to. When it comes to advertising, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
But here’s the really important part: you MUST have an awesome website to send people to. Once they click on your ad, your prospects will be sent to your website, so make sure they land on a page that best represents you.
Will getting your LinkedIn and other social media profiles optimized take a little time? Absolutely. But it will pay off exponentially when you start receiving more and more invitations to speak at events within your industry.
Guest author: Ashish Arora is the Co-Founder of SketchBubble.com, a leading provider of result-driven, professionally built presentation templates. Travelling the world to gather new creative ideas, he has been working in the digital marketing space since 2007 and has a passion for designing presentations. You can also find him on Twitter or LinkedIn