Getting Started, storytelling

Tips for Developing Social Media Presentations

0 Comments 24 February 2010

I had the lovely experience of presenting the keynote overview of social media at the Kishor Social Media Conference in Jerusalem, along with my colleague Talia Klein of For the address, we were asked to create a presentation that would be appropriate for an audience unfamiliar with social media. However, we were told that half of the attendees would have a moderate level of familiarity with social media. In other words, make it for everyone. That’s pretty daunting. When you work in social media day in, day out, it’s hard to remember what you know that others don’t know. It’s even harder to figure out how to convey all that information through a graphically compelling presentation.

To prepare for the presentation, I asked friends and social media practitioners what they would want to know about social media. I also wanted to know what would help them to understand social media. Talia and I reviewed a few of the best social media presentations on, and considered what they hold in common. In the end, the presentation that Talia and I crafted embodied these basic principles of presenting social media to the public:

Presenting Social Media Publicly: A Few Ideas

1. Put it in historical perspective

It’s crazy to think about, but five years ago, how many of us had social media profiles? Or more than one profile? And how often did we use social media? How much time did we spend? Graphs or charts about the explosion of social media and current demographics relevant to the topic of the presentation convey powerful messages.  Final word on this from a colleague: “people love graphs and charts. You have to have those in any presentation. It’s a pretty picture.”

2. Talk about the future, too

Historical trends help your audience understand the big picture, sure, but what’s coming up in social media is even more important. Extend your graphs with informed thoughts about forthcoming trends and changes in your sector.

3.  ROI

You talk about social media without talking about the return nowadays. Whether it’s Return on Influence, Interest, or Engagement, people want to know “why.” Look at other campaigns, ROI case studies, and your own data. ROI depends on goals, and picking the right goals and the right metrics is critical to understanding ROI.

4. Tell it like a story

This isn’t unique to presentations about social media. Presentations should tell stories – and answer the question: why should I care? The very best presentations decks on slide share pull you in with great storytelling, and keep you interested until the end. Social media is a complex subject. Storytelling breaks it down and makes it accessible.

5. Offer case studies

Case studies make it real and bring it all together. If you’re talking about social network fundraising, walk your audience through a case study. If you’re talking about creating online communities, then look at a few niche online communities and what makes them successful. If you’re talking about engagement ROI, look at actions fans have taken for an organization.

Are there any other principles of presenting social media to the public that you think are critical to include in the list above?

For reference, some great social media slide decks:

Social Media for Nonprofits

What the —- Is Social Media

Yes, I DO Mind the Gap

How To Think Like a Nonprofit Social Media Genius

Olivier Blanchard Basics of Social Media ROI

50 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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