Originally published in Mashable
Online presentation website Slideshare is an important business network which ranks in the top 150 sites on the web, with 60 million monthly viewers, and 3 billion page views a month. Users upload presentations, Word and PDF files, tag them, and share them on other social media sites or embed them in their blogs and company websites. (For more statistics see this infographic that Slideshare released in December 2011)
But Slideshare isn’t just a one-way process: the social functions in the site are giving companies the potential to connect with customers and clients in new ways, generating new business and enhancing their online image.
But just how are they achieving this?
1. Telling your story
For organizations of all sizes, being innovative in technology use to get their message across can help them connect with new audiences. Sharing presentations can show users a company’s ethos far better than the more traditional LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook routes alone. They can make a company more three dimensional and add personality.
In May 2011 NASA launched their NASA Universe channel on Slideshare, which integrated presentations, documents and videos from their headquarters and field centers. In the announcement on the Slideshare blog, NASA Social Media Manager Stephanie Schierholz said, “NASA always is on the lookout for new ways we can engage people in their space exploration program. SlideShare provides us another great way to share our content in new ways and new places with the goal of inspiring and interesting people in the universe.”
Because presentations are generally about very specific topics, companies use Slideshare for inbound marketing, that is, generating traffic through clients’ and customers’ searches. Sharing Slideshare links, it is possible to optimize searches by tagging presentations and using the Slideshare profile to link back to the company website.
2. Highlighting your experts
IBM Expert Network is a network (a combination of channels) that leverages the thought leadership of employees across the company to gain social media engagement. It showcases latest thinking, research, inspiration videos and more.
3 and 4. Demand generation and social cross-pollination
We’ve all heard it: What gets measured gets funded. But tracking awareness metrics is one thing, measuring lead capture is something else entirely. Eloqua not only has an active and creative SlideShare channel – so creative, in fact, that SlideShare itself features Eloqua’s channel as their example of what a Platinum page should look like – but through its SlideShare Cloud Connector, the company automatically populates its demand generation database with profile information from anyone who completes a form on its SlideShare channel. It’s one of the ways companies are bringing together social media with demand generation.
Another thing that jumps out about the channel is their social network cross-pollination. The company highlights links to its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube communities right under the channel’s description.
5. Sharing in-depth information
An increasing number of companies are using Slideshare to present financial, technical or other in-depth information that can be difficult to represent on their websites using more traditional tools, such as graphs and text, which can enable them to connect with potential clients in a whole new way.
Pfizer uses Slideshare to post their financial reporting and other presentations, allowing interested parties to access that information in a user-friendly format.
6. Sparking conversations
Brand management company 1000 Heads which specializes in managing what others say about brands, rather than what the companies themselves say, uses Slideshare’s social tools and community section to spark conversations with users who comment on, embed or share presentations from their clients, which helps them to reach whole new audiences and actively engage with them.
7. Upscaling exposure
If a webinar or conference presentation reached only a few thousand in its original format, Slideshare can have a multiplier effect once the presentation is posted online. Tom Critchlow of Distilled discovered this after his presentation, which had been seen through an online webinar by only a few thousand, received over 30,000 views on Slideshare.