Last week I had a meeting with some of the wonderful ladies from WoSEC (Women of Security) to give them some tips on how to not feel strange when 'bragging', how to set goals for using social media, and how to avoid "taking shit" during question period after a talk. I made a video and it is linked below, however this article contains all the tips that I missed in the video.
Other relevant articles & videos by yours truly:
On social media you will often receive the same questions over and over. Keep track, and then write a blog post or make a video about it, just like this one. Then share the link each time, instead of writing an individual letter each time. You will save yourself lots of time, but also give a much, much better answer to the person who is asking.
Don't assume your audience can read your mind, ask for what you want. I need to remind myself of this constantly. Example: my old startup company, Security Sidekick, created our own Twitter account. I really wanted people to follow us, and I was tweeting and sharing things and then remembered "ask for what you want", so I just politely asked my followers to follow us and we got 600 new followers over night. I felt so silly that it took me 6 weeks to think about just asking. You can ask for things too.
If you do public speaking, thank your audience after. In person and on social media. This is not only polite, but the right thing to do.
Create goals regarding your social media, and personal brand. Why are you doing all of this? What are you trying to achieve? Then remind yourself when you are making decisions what you are trying to achieve. For instance, I use social media to promote my content (I want people to attend my talks, read my blog, etc), I want to help bring people into our industry (see #CyberMentoringMonday ), and I want to help other women excel in our industry (and other's who are underrepresented in infosec). For helping other women I realized that it would be better if I created a second account, and @WoSECtweets was born. Figure out what you really want, and then use social media as a tool to get it.
People want to see your content. You are not "bragging" by telling them about it, you are helping them find it. If you don't tell them about it, they won't know, and why did you bother writing it if you don't want anyone to see it? The same goes for speaking, people want to know, that's why they are following you. If you feel bad or like you are "bragging", then ask a friend, talk about it, and hopefully they can reassure you. It's okay to be proud. It's okay to make announcements. It's okay to share what you have created. I promise, it's okay.
Schedule important tweets and make sure you have 1 in AM and another one in PM, so it reaches more than 1 timezone. Showing up in someone's feed means they might discover you, like your messages, and ready your content. It's win-win, and very little effort. Also: it's okay to tweet things more than once, because of the way twitter works lots of people will miss it. Don't tweet it 10 times, that's annoying, but find a balance, tweeting the same thing more than once is 100% advised. Thanks to Chad Fowler for teaching me it's a great idea to tweet something more than once.
Invite people on LinkedIn to follow you on twitter. Invite people on Twitter to connect with you on LinkedIn. Link on your blog to your social media handles, etc. Cross promotion.
If someone asks you questions aggressively after a talk, don't shrink away. Stand tall, be polite but clear. YOU are on stage, you are the authority. Don't let someone try to turn the tables on you. If someone is talking for more than 30 seconds, ask them politely "is there a question in there?", this can help them get to the point. If they disagree with you, that's okay, you can counter with "I'd love to hear more about your perspective, let's take it offstage / let's talk after the session". If someone is being particularly difficult feel free to cut them off and then re-route the questions to a different section of the audience by physically turning to the other side of the room to know they are being dismissed and saying "I feel I'm ignoring this side of the audience, do you have any questions?". Quite often it is a misunderstanding when things like this happen and they actually agree with you, or they are just trying to paraphrase what you said. If so, take it in a good way and say "Yes, exactly! I'm glad we agree". This is a great way to twist things back around in your favour, and end the conversation. Remember, the audience wants to see you succeed, they are on your side; it makes everyone uncomfortable if things go poorly during question period, so stand up for yourself if for no other reason than to save your audience from feeling uncomfortable for you.
Please note: always assume good intent and you will avoid these types of situations 99% of the time.
Share your slides after your talk and tweet them at the audience. I use SlideShare, but you can use whatever you like. Sharing is caring, yo.
If you forget something during a presentation, no one knows, don't feel bad about it, act in a good way, and take it lightly
LinkedIn has a far lower engagement ratio, but you should still post important things there. Don't be afraid to share, even though it may feel intimidating at first because most of the people you know aren't posting there; it will set you apart.
Balance personal and professional tweets. It's not bad to share personal things, but don't make it most of your tweets if your goal is to also use your social media for professional reasons, as you will not reach your goals. Remind yourself of your goals if you find yourself "off topic" quite often.