Salesforce.com’s Jennifer Burnham calls it, “a library in the cloud.” JESS3 co-founder, Jesse Thomas describes it as, “Wikipedia mixed with Delicious and Vimeo.” However you want to characterize SlideShare, remember this: It’s big. More than nine million uploads big. Twenty-nine million monthly unique visitors big. And, according to LinkedIn, $119 million big.
Yet, despite its sharp growth and high-profile acquisition, many marketers are unsure of what to do on SlideShare beyond uploading PowerPoints. The social platform is much more than the Web’s largest archive of presentations, PDFs, and videos. It’s also a vibrant, mobile-friendly, Google-indexed community frequented by reporters, buyers, and senior executives. Here are eight ways savvy social marketers can take advantage of that.
1. An SEO End-Around
SEO is one of the biggest cost centers in marketing, and with good reason. Studies show that Google users click page-one results 88% more often than page-two results. But in SlideShare’s case, search engines index “notes” text, which means popular, keyword-optimized presentations often rise to the top of results pages. Edelman’s EVP, David Armano, refers to this as, “a great way to own a thought.”
2. A Surprising Source of Referral Traffic
While SlideShare may not rival Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn in referral traffic, it’s clearly the thickest segment of the SEO tail. For example, SlideShare refers more traffic to our company than Google+ and YouTube, combined. Jay Baer, co-author of The NOW Revolution reminds clients, “No matter how many visitors your website has, SlideShare has a lot more.”
3. A Bridge to Press and Bloggers
People tend to trust content they discover organically more than they do content hosted on a corporate homepage. Todd Wheatland, head of global marketing at Kelly Services, believes journalists are more willing to embed a SlideShare file because they perceive it as a “neutral platform.” Salesforce.com’s Burnham adds, “SlideShare works great as embedded media in a promoted Tweet on your branded Twitter page.” This is part of why she equips company bloggers with SlideShare embeds.
4. A Hub for Leads
Unlike many social channels, the impact of SlideShare can be tracked all the way into the proverbial “sales funnel.” Premium users can insert forms into their presentations, allowing them to know exactly who downloaded a file. Andrea Soltysiak, director of global marketing at Ariba, integrated SlideShare into her marketing automation and CRM systems, which allowed her to capture new sales leads and automatically route them to the sales department. Ariba generated more than 1,000 leads in three weeks of experimenting with this solution.
5. Great Social Integration
Even before LinkedIn bought SlideShare, the two played together nicely. The LinkedIn SlideShare plug-in allows every employee with a LinkedIn profile to become a distribution channel for the company’s content. Richard Margetic, Dell’s director of global social media, recommends connecting the two networks. This is because the more one’s LinkedIn audience talks about a presentation the more likely SlideShare is to feature it on the site’s front page, which causes views to skyrocket. Brain Traffic CEO, Kristina Halvorson’s recent A Content Strategy Roadmap presentation surged from about 200 views to 125,000 when SlideShare’s editorial team featured it on the site’s homepage.
6. The “Everywhere” USB Drive
SlideShare is the hiding-in-plain-sight solution for public speakers. Rather than fuss with large file transfers, simply run the deck from SlideShare. Margetic puts a shortened URL on the first slide of his presentations, a simple tactic that’s resulted in an a significant increase in views and downloads after the live event.
7. A Supportive Community
Creatives applaud the SlideShare community’s support of fellow designers and brand marketers. Designer Jesse Desjardins has used SlideShare to “crowd fund” trips to Cannes and South by Southwest. Agency newcomer JESS3 leveraged its provocative Agency of the Future presentation to spark dialogue with big Madison Avenue firms. According to Leslie Bradshaw, president of JESS3, the deck triggered online conversations that led to in-person meetings with global ad agencies.
8. The Foundation for Personal Branding
Brand marketers use SlideShare as a personal branding platform. The moment he uploaded the landmark You Suck at PowerPoint deck, Desjardins became a SlideShare heavyweight. While others live tweet or live blog events, Desjardins rewards his following with “live SlideSharing,” a technique that’s earned him a whopping 2.5 million views. Desjardins’ popularity on the network ultimately led to his appointment as head of social media for Australia Tourism.