SlideShare has quickly become a valuable sharing platform that can be more powerful than YouTube or a blog if used well. Most companies don't know about SlideShare as a tool of social sharing or if they do, use the platform as simply a way to pitch products.
As I write this, my own SlideShare The New Rules of Selling has been viewed over 160,000 times, shared more than 2,200 times on LinkedIn, racked up more than 500 Facebook likes and tweeted close to 1,000 times.
I'm stunned by this result (so far). The first month was the fastest sharing of any of my content in more than a decade of sharing free stuff on the web. The SlideShare has spread my work way beyond my own network to reach many people who have never been exposed to my ideas.
Here are some lessons learned so you can achieve similar results with SlideShare for your business.
LESSON 1: Focus on what you are giving away for free on the web rather than the product you are selling.
I created the SlideShare to showcase the ideas in my new book The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business. The SlideShare release was timed to the release of the book in September, 2014.
Rather than talk about my new book in social networks and media interviews, I chose instead to talk up and promote the SlideShare. However, in the vast majority of book launches I see, the author and publisher focus too much on trying to sell books. The same is true of any product launch - most marketers focus too much on the product or service.
Recall the recent Apple iPhone 6 launch where much of the talk was of the free U2 album being given away. When you focus on offering something of value for free, you generate interest in the products you sell.
LESSON 2: Put your best work out there for free.
I chose not to hold anything back in the SlideShare. I shared my best ideas (for free). Sure, most people will choose to use the free content rather than purchase my book. But many will want to dig into more details and be eager to purchase the book.
LESSON 3: SlideShare is a great social sharing platform.
SlideShare is a place to share content that typically is delivered as Keynote or PowerPoint slides, so there is a heavy graphical element in this social network. People love to share images, so many will share your content for you, extending your network as a result.
Because SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn, content sharing on the LinkedIn social network is very easy, making this a great way to reach senior people.
LESSON 4: People are looking for content to showcase on their sites.
Because so many of the views come from SlideShare embeds on other people's content sites, I conclude that many people are looking for valuable content to share with their readers. If you create something that publishers like, they will help you to reach new audiences.
LESSON 5: You need a great design.
SlideShare is a visual medium. The power comes from people's instant processing of the ideas and a great design is essential. Sure, I can create serviceable PowerPoint and Keynote slides, but I'm certainly not a designer. So I used Doug Eymer to help me create the SlideShare. It cost me money and it took more time but many people commented on the design so I am sure it helped to spread the ideas.
LESSON 6: One idea per slide.
There are 158 slides in my SlideShare(!!) Everyone I spoke with prior to launch said it was way, way too many slides. Many SlideShare presentations are only 20 or so slides. But I chose to have one idea per slide because I'm not a fan of cramming a bunch of ideas onto each.
SlideShare is a powerful tool that can be used to showcase your ideas too. It doesn't matter if you have a consumer product or are a B2B brand, the easy to share visual medium of SlideShare gets your ideas into the marketplace and helps to grow your business.
There were more than 4.2 million SlideShares created in 2014. The good people at SlideShare picked several dozen to include in The Must-Read SlideShares of 2014. Take a look at these to get your creative side thinking about how you can create an awesome SlideShare in 2015.