At the recent B2B Corporate Social Media Summit, I moderated a panel with Alison Watterson of Hewlett-Packard and Dora Smith of Siemens on figuring out which social platforms offer the most to businesses. While we talked about all the typical platforms — LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. — Watterson and Smith also surprised me by talking about their corporate use of SlideShare.
SlideShare is akin to Flickr or YouTube, in that it’s a network built around sharing a particular type of content, but instead of sharing photos or videos, you’re sharing slides from a presentation that was created with Microsoft PowerPoint or a similar business tool. These slides are often used to accompany presentations at conferences or even at internal meetings. These slides are often seen as pure distillations of thought leadership, since they’re designed to inspire others and are composed of easily digestible chunks of information. For B2B firms and other companies that are trying to use their expertise as a way of attracting and enchanting followers, a SlideShare deck can be an easy way to share your message with your target audience.
During her presentation, Watterson shared a few of the SlideShare best practices that HP has developed.
- Get permission. Don’t assume every deck is equally shareable. Make sure you’re not disclosing any proprietary information in your deck before posting it.
- Have a target audience in mind. Who is this deck for? What problem does it address? Craft your decks so that they take on a particular topic in a way that naturally appeals to your ideal customer segment — whether that’s chief information officers, HR chiefs or some other professional group.
- “Further their thinking.” Great decks challenge assumptions and get people talking.
- Put SlideShare’s lead form to work. You can upgrade to SlideShare’s professional version and ask viewers to fill out a contact information form to see your entire deck. That form can let you know who you’re reaching with your thought leadership and give you the means to follow up with them later.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that a social media campaign has to be conventional to be successful. It’s easy to look at the other companies in your marketplace and ape their efforts. It’s tougher to really look at which tools your prospective customers are using and then design a campaign that surprises and captivates them.
What tools are you using? How are you connecting with your audience on its level?
Image credit: RBFried, via iStockphoto