Heidi Cohen has called SlideShare B2B social media's biggest secret. It is less secret these days with over 3 billion, yes 3 billion, slide views a month; and should be a key part of any B2B content marketing strategy.
SlideShare attracts a senior professional audience as SlideShares are an ideal content medium for time poor executives. If used well slides can provide a quick, focused overview of key points or trends. The user can then explore in more detail as they need to, by following links and viewing other more detailed content.
There are seven practical ways SlideShare will improve your B2B content marketing
1. Ease of use and reuse of content
Most companies are familiar with using slides or have existing slide decks. SlideShare makes it very easy to take this existing content and to repurpose it for sharing on the web. You can repurpose articles, interviews and white papers as a short slide deck. With existing slide decks it is preferable to repurpose and design these for SlideShare so you create a positive impact, see the comments later. Fundamentally though it is very easy to take and share your content.
One of the other nice things about SlideShare is that you can update your content. Thus if you need to change a slide you can reupload the slide deck with the new slide and it will be automatically be updated.
2. Showcase your creativity and thought leadership
With Slideshare you can demonstrate your creativity and thought leadership with professional slide decks. The visual design is important with SlideShare so it is well worth getting a good designer to help polish your slides. I personally think Hubspot are a great example in the way they use SlideShare with high impact slides.
You can bring your slides together on your company page. Again if we take Hubspot as an example, they have a well designed and branded SlideShare company page http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot Even with the free account you can create a nice looking company page though you have more options with the paid account.
You can also go beyond simple slide content, for example you can create a slidecast and sync mp3 audio with your slides or even embed youtube videos inside your slideshares.
3. Reach a growing professional audience
SlideShare is the largest presentation sharing community in the world. Now owned by LinkedIn, SlideShare has over 50m visitors a month.
According to Alexa it is the 128th most visited site globally, and over 20% of visitors come direct from google. The visitor growth is impressive with visitor numbers doubling in recent users.
Whilst SlideShare may still get less than a tenth of the 750m Facebook visitors a month, it has a very strong professional audience. Comscore estimates that the SlideShare demographic has more than five times the proportion of business owners than say Facebook.
What is particularly interesting is how SlideShare is used by speakers to share their slides at industry events. The slides are being increasingly uploaded to SlideShare for access after the event and so that those that can't make the event can check out what was said. In my experience people will frequently view the slides rather than watch a video to catch up quickly. If you are a thought leader you will be talking at industry events. SlideShare makes it easy for you to reinforce this thought leadership by sharing your slides with a wider audience. You may only have 100 people at an event but your slides can reach many thousands.
SlideShare is also a place for research and education. It has been voted on the the top ten tools for education and learning. It is increasingly a place where people go to research information, one of the top hashtags on Slideshare is #trends.
As a consequence of the developments above SlideShare is also increasingly a site where people undertake searches for content, so it is essential you have good content on the platform. SlideShares are also indexed by Google and score well in organic search results. Recently I have noticed many SlideShares, such as Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report, at the top of Google search results.
You can use standard SEO techniques with your slides such as targeting keywords that you should include in the title, description and hashtags.
SlideShare also helpfully produces a transcript of the words from your slides (providing they are not embedded in images).
5. SMO (Social Media Optimisation)
SlideShares are very easy to embed and share. They also look great on blogs and websites so people frequently embed SlideShares on their pages. As an author you can create a SlideShare first and then embed it on your blog or site. The embed function also allows you to avoid issues of duplicate content by embedding the same SlideShare in multiple places.
SlideShares can be easily shared on Twitter and LinkedIn through their partnerships. You can also link your SlideShare account with your LinkedIn account so that all your slideshares are shared on LinkedIn automatically.
This all helps the social media optimisation of your content.
6. Lead generation
There are a number of ways you can generate leads from SlideShare.
In the free version you can embed links in your slides to encourage people to contact you or to visit your site. However, by signing up to the Silver Pro account you can also:
Using the SlideShare form you can capture first name, last name, email address, phone number, company name and a comment. You can also view the details you have captured and download these as a CSV file.
If you are going to use SlideShare to capture leads then you should ensure you offer some specific value, such as a download or white paper; and make sure you promise not to spam the user.
7. Track results
With SlideShare you can see instantly the number of views and downloads your slides receive.
With the Pro accounts from $19 a month you can get enhanced analytics, lead generation details from form submissions and even see how long people spend viewing your slides.
Whether you use a Pro account or a free account you can monitor your results and adjust your strategy. You can try different link placements and forms of enticement in your slides. With the Pro account you can try forms at different places, then refine your strategy accordingly.
SlideShare has become an important platform for content marketing and I would argue is now part of a suite of social tools including LinkedIn and Google+, that are becoming essential for B2B marketers.