Using Social Media to Research Your Audience

Years ago, I took a standup comedy class at the SF Comedy College. The instructor mentioned that Chris Rock often used a clever technique to connect with a local audience at his comedy shows: While riding a taxi from the airport to the show, he would ask the driver about popular hangouts. Then he would make references to these restaurants or bars in his standup, as if he was a local and frequented them.

This was before the explosion of social web sites, like Facebook and Twitter. These sites today make it even easier for a conference speaker to research his/her local audience to prepare to build a connection.

If you are giving a presentation to a group or at a conference, there are a host of resources to research your audience:
1. Search Twitter or Google Blogs for the conference title to see if there are conversations occurring about the event.
2. Upcoming.org – is a localized event calendar and social site
3. Linkedin Groups – check if scheduled attendees are chatting about the upcoming event
4. Facebook “Event” or Corporate Fan Page

How do you know if your social research worked?
There are a few metrics you can use to determine that:
1. If you get asked back by the same organization (to speak on the same topic or another topic)
2. Referrals: If audience members request your professional services
3. Ripple Effect: if audience members tweet/blog favorably about your content

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