Lame to fame: 4 tips for optimizing presentations for Twitter

Presentations and slideshows have been historically one of the most boring and standard corporate media currently available to employees and management. They are meant to purely educational or purely for selling — they are very rarely anything but a pitch or a corporate update. But with the rise of Slideshare as a platform for sharing a new kind of presentation, a lean, value-adding, and stand-alone type of presentation, and its proof as a viable option for driving traffic, the “corporate presentation” can be leveraged for more than its functional purpose and optimized to spread the company or personal message via social media.

Twitter, in particular, is a great social media platform to leverage when planning and creating corporate (or external) presentations. The ability to group together thoughts via #hashtags and cultivate awesome, topical conversations with your audience around real-time internal actions and content is an incredible way to build community; these types of conversations give your audience a sense of ownership of your brand, encourages them to actively participate in conversation, and gives your audience the confidence that you are actually doing stuff! The prevalence of live-tweeting and conference/presentation-based Tweetchats are testament to the power of this medium.

Even if you are in middle-management at a big corporation, the content you produce as a normal part of your job could be leveraged by the people running your social media and generate engagement — with the right set of tools. This is a quick list of tips to help you optimize your presentations for Twitter.

1. Think in sound-bytes.

A huge source of content on Twitter is powered by quoting people, either live or otherwise. Tap into this natural tendency to quote people’s words by thinking in sound-bytes. Every good politician keeps a bunch of great “one liners” up their sleeve; you can think like this also. Distill your message into a few quotables that would make sense in the Twitterverse. Decide on the things you’d like your audience to take away and make sure you have at least one quote for each idea.

2. Focus your ideas to one thought per slide.

Pictures are worth 1000 words and images play a huge role in Twitter. 58.4 million photos were shared on Twitter in December 2012 alone. Use your slides as images! You can share your message in visual format as well as text. Make sure each idea you present is on its own slide to allow maximum impact of the concept you are trying to convey. Pair an image with a “quotable” from above for the most leverage of your content.

3. Promote!

Many people and brands don’t understand why their social properties don’t show engagement. The #1 reason for this is because no one knows you exist! Spread your social handles far and wide; slap them on newsletters, content, blogs, business cards; everything you can get your hands on. Power users on Twitter often schedule their participation in Tweetchats as part of their work day, so if you don’t tell anyone your live tweet or Tweetchat exists, it makes sense that no one is participating. Leverage other methods to let your audience know you are live-tweeting a presentation. Use email to segment your list to social users and let them know when and why you are hosting your Tweetchat. People will come.

4. Don’t be boring.

This is the great killer of the potential for great content from most presentations. Death by boredom. Don’t feel constrained to keep your presentation 100% “by the book.” If you are bored presenting your material, most likely the people listening (and in our case, tweeting) about it are also bored, and that’s got bad news written all over it. People don’t share boring content. They share content with passion, purpose, and value. You can create this vision by simply letting the leash off a little — allow your personality to shine. Avoid using bullets. Be a little bit creative! It’ll be paid back by the engagement you will see in the social sphere with your re-purposed content.

In the end, you can recycle any type of content into any other type of content. Use this flexibility to your advantage and scale your content efforts through creative distribution, slicing and dicing, and lean thinking.

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