I recently gave a talk to a group of new authors on how to promote and market their books. Instead of taking the time and expense of providing handouts (not to mention all the trees saved), I decided to create a SlideShare presentation and offer it, post-conference, to the participants.
If you're not familiar with the tool, Wikipedia likens SlideShare to "YouTube, but for slideshows." Bottom line, it's a free online slide hosting service that allows you to upload PDF, PowerPoint and OpenOffice presentations for public viewing. SlideShare also allows voice sync, so visitors can hear a narration of, as well as see, your presentation.
My initial dabble in SlideShare got my marketing and branding brain humming about other ways the tool could be used to tell a small business story. Just a few of the ways I've found to do this include using SlideShare presentations for SEO optimization and conference presentations and as a value-add on LinkedIn. I checked in with a few other small business folks to get their take on integrating SlideShare into the overall business yarn, and here's what they had to say:
"I use SlideShare for my presentations at conferences," says Robert Pease of Gist Inc. "I put the slide deck together and make it available both before and after the conference via a link." Pease says he finds a short, ten-page, visually oriented (not text heavy) deck in SlideShare an easy way to demonstrate his expertise and knowledge.
Steve Drake says he's been using SlideShare for two years and views it as part of his overall content management strategy for his business. "I've posted thirty-one presentations, which have been viewed an average of 1,407 times. One presentation was viewed 14,663 times," says Drake. Drake says he actively promotes his SlideShare posts via links to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Josh Mendelsohn, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Constant Contact, says that SlideShare is a great platform for sharing small business expertise. To get the most social media juice from SlideShare, Mendelsohn suggests tagging your presentations with relevant keywords so users can easily find your content easily when researching a specific topic.
Bill Elward of Castle Ink considers SlideShare to be part of his search engine optimization efforts. "Google loves to index SlideShare content," says Elward. "So build a small presentation about your business that includes a live link to your site. Chances are excellent that Google will crawl and index your SlideShare presentation."
In my experience, SlideShare is still a bit of a stepchild when it comes to Internet marketing. It's not the first social media tool that comes to most small business minds, but it is an effective one. If you haven't already, pick a topic, put together a ten-slide PowerPoint, post it on SlideShare, promote it and see what happens. It might just make the story of your small business a bit better in the telling.
Have any tips on using SlideShare or a presentation you would like to share? We welcome your comments.
This article originally appeared at Xero.com, online accounting software for small business.
Karen Leland is a freelance journalist, best-selling author and president of Sterling Marketing Group where she helps businesses create killer content and negotiate the wired world of today's media landscape -- social and otherwise. For questions or comments, please contact her at email@example.com.