How To Use SlideShare for Your Small Business

Office Desk Brainstorming

Does your business use SlideShare as a social media marketing tool? SlideShare is a great resource for providing information to your target audience. When used effectively, SlideShare is a powerful way to market your business and generate leads.

Your business is probably using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, so what is the hesitation with SlideShare? SlideShare is a valuable resource for improving your search engine optimization and also proving your business as a subject matter expert, which is valuable in driving leads. Historically underutilized, SlideShare has less competition, so your business can take the spotlight quicker than on other platforms.

SlideShare is “the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and other professional content” and boasted an average of 60 million unique visitors a month in Q4 of 2013. [Source: SlideShare] You can upload presentations, infographics, documents, PDFs, videos and webinars to your SlideShare company page. In this post, I’ll share our recommendations for how to use SlideShare effectively for your small business.

Add Links and Calls To Action Within Your Presentation

SlideShare is a useful way to provide subject matter expertise, but we understand you really want SlideShare to help drive users to your website where they can convert. By using embedded links and call to actions within your presentations, you create a seamless transition from your presentation to your website for interested readers. Starting at the fourth presentation slide, you can place live links in your presentation that send users to relevant landing pages. You can take advantage of an interested user by including clear calls to action, both through text and visual items, like arrows and buttons. Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to share and download your slides.

Optimize Your Presentations With Keywords

Finding the right keywords are important for your brand as a whole, in addition to your presence on SlideShare. Consider the relevant keywords for your SlideShare presentation topic and use those keywords within your filename before uploading to SlideShare, as well as in the title, description and tags of your presentation. Since Google is taking a stronger look at relevant synonyms in search, it may be useful to use variations of your keyword phrase to rank higher in search, as well.

Take Advantage of LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a business professional network, owns SlideShare and the platforms work seamlessly together. LinkedIn even encourages SlideShare use by allowing upgraded features to all users at no cost. In addition to uploading your unique presentations, you can upload video. We recommend repurposing company videos and webinars on this platform through short teaser videos. LinkedIn’s sharing functions allow you to share certain SlideShare videos and presentations with different audiences making your exclusive content that much more desirable. Share your presentation from your personal and company pages to increase your reach. While you are in sharing mode, make sure to share the SlideShare slides on your other social networks too!

Insider Tip: SlideShare lets you update your posts without losing your social shares and views counts, so feel free to take a look at old presentations as a starting point.

Ready to Get Started with SlideShare?

If you are ready to take the next step, we encourage you to jump right in. As with any content marketing and social network, it may take time before you find the right strategy and voice that works for lead generation, but keep at it. Visitors most likely are looking for several interactions with your brand before they are ready to make a purchase or commitment.

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How Many Connections Should I Have On LinkedIn?

That, my friend, is an excellent question!LinkedIn

There are two primary schools of thought on this: quality or quantity.  Those who lean toward quantity will try to create the biggest list of connections possible in order to expand their network as far as possible.  This could come in very handy when looking for jobs, especially targeted searches for particular companies or industries – obviously, if you have thousands of connections, a single post to your LinkedIn page is going to reach far more people than if you had just a couple hundred connections, thus increasing your chances of finding your target somehow.  LinkedIn has also become quite the gathering ground for business- or industry-related articles and opinion columns.  Having a lot of connections means a lot of eyes will see whatever you post, and increase your chances of getting interactions and notice from others in your industry.  However, there are some downsides to having a huge network on LinkedIn, and they need to be considered, as well.

For one thing, one of the best ways to connect to someone new and grow your network is through LinkedIn introductions.  Normally, you would ask one of your existing connections to write a brief introduction message and put you in touch with someone you’re trying to reach (who is a connection of theirs).  If you have a vast network of connections but don’t really know them very well, that introduction message is likely to lack a certain heartfelt genuineness that could put off the recipient and fail to bring about an actual contact in real life.  Second, when you connect with someone, you can see all of their connections…and they can see yours.  Whether or not it’s fair or right, the people with whom you associate do reflect on you, so if you don’t know your connections well, it’s possible that their actions, words, or histories could be damaging to you without you even knowing it.  Finally, studies show that it’s usually the quality of your connections rather than the quantity of your connections that are more likely to land you a job.  It’s those personal recommendations from people who really know the kind of person — and professional — you are that carry weight with those making the hiring decisions.

Social network connections by pnx - NetworkingThis leads us to the quality school of thought.  In addition to the recommendation aspect previously mentioned, there is the flip side, as well.  If someone asks you to introduce them to one of your connections, but it’s not someone you know well enough to thoroughly endorse, then why bother having them as a connection in the first place?  Similarly, you don’t want to introduce someone to one of your connections that ends up being a total flake; that makes you look bad!  Actually knowing all of your connections is probably the single biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to either side of the recommendation coin.  Of course, there’s a threshold below which being choosy in your connections becomes silly – if you only have three or four connections, then you’re kind of wasting your time on LinkedIn.  Find a happy medium that works for you.  There’s also that association thing at play, too; you don’t want to be connected to someone who turns out to be a serial killer, and you certainly don’t want to introduce them to anyone new!

In all seriousness, though, the bottom line is that when you’re setting up your LinkedIn network, first stop and think about how you plan to use it.  Is your goal to get as big a network as possible because you plan to post industry relevant information on a regular basis?  Is it just to have a convenient online resume that people can see when need them to?  Is it to make (and help others make) genuine connections in a way that jobs are found and lives are improved?  Bottom line: what’s your purpose?  This question will go a long way toward guiding your decision-making process on who your connections should be and what threshold you use for determining which connection request to send or accept.Contacts by roshellin - Contact Book

One more thing – don’t be afraid to remove connections.  It’s probably a good idea to sweep through your LinkedIn contacts list at least yearly to remove contacts with whom you no longer keep in touch.  Think of it as a digital spring cleaning.  If nothing else, use that sweep to first try to re-establish contact with people and renew those relationships.  If they don’t respond, then you know it’s time to remove them from your list.

LinkedIn is a terrific tool, but like most other tools it is only really useful in the right situations and in the right hands.  Develop your purpose, make a plan, and then execute it.  You’ll be doing yourself a favor.

Has LinkedIn figured out what it is yet?

Confused Felipe

Photo attribuation: By FelipeIbazeta (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

LinkedIn has been around for quite a while now. You never noticed? Well, it’s been here since 2002, ready to replace Facebook for professional people. Yet another social media site, to fill with photos and information about oneself. But, it wasn’t fun and… cool… so, it’s kind of a nobody in the social media world. Maybe more of a somebody than Google+, but still pretty low down on the totem pole.

Part of the reason LinkedIn isn’t a businessman’s “right hand social media man” is because LinkedIn hasn’t really seemed to know what it should be. Mix business with pleasure? Strictly Business? Hiring and firing site? Resume showcase site? All of the above? None of the above? Hundreds of people have been sent to this site by their bosses with instructions to get themselves a profile, only to find themselves pounding their heads on their desks, plaintively asking, “How are we supposed to use you, LinkedIn? What are you actually designed for and how can you help me?”

Crickets chirping…

Facebook is popular because it creates all types of varied communities, and allows you to set up groups and network about anything, be it higher things like philosophy, history and math, or more mundane things like the latest celebrity news. It’s also pretty self-explanatory, so much so that a child below the legal age of 13 can get on, fill out a profile and start friending people. In the middle of a serious discussion about whether or not to fire an employee, one can be entertained by a video of a cute kitty that just happened to pop up on your feed. LinkedIn, however, is largely, though not exclusively, a business community. It is not designed for Tweets and Re-Tweets, or discussion of the latest YouTube viral video. It IS a way for businessmen to network their skills, easily share their resumes, and solve business problems in a way that is largely drama free and professional. Now, if you think about it from a businessman’s point of view… isn’t that kinda nice?

The basics of LinkedIn are that you can list your work experience, your profile picture and add a personal touch to your business life. Unlike with Facebook, where you can willy-nilly friend any Tom, Dick or Harry without knowing them at all, this is not a good strategy to follow with your LinkedIn account. This is a SERIOUS networking site, folks. You only link in with people that you are working with or could be valuable to you business-wise. You won’t find any cats or dogs with people’s names either.

LinkedIn additionally allows one to create groups and network with professionals based on their areas of expertise. So if you are a professional historian, you can join a group on ancient Chinese history and network with professionals in that field, sharing information and details. Or, if you are an IT professional, you can network about PhP and C++ with other professionals in that area, without having to do some grueling searching.

This does sound intriguing…

Since being founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn slowly grew and grew until it recently exploded in its number of users as well as its profit and revenue. In 2011, LinkedIn grossed more income from advertising revenue than Twitter. (Source) The number of users of LinkedIn has grown to 200 million members in 200 countries (Source). As it continues to grow, businesses have begun utilizing LinkedIn’s professional orientation to establish tools to apply for jobs through LinkedIn on their listings. Employees can search for jobs through LinkedIn, having fast access to thousands of companies and even meeting future employers directly. LinkedIn also serves job recruiters by sorting the talents and abilities of members who might fit the positions that businesses are looking for. Businesses can advertise on LinkedIn, listing products and services with descriptions on their company pages, and users can write reviews for them. All in all, there are endless opportunities for all types of economic activity. So, it’s not Facebook, it’s not meant to compete with Facebook; it’s meant to market you, and market businesses. Aren’t you glad we had this discussion and figured this out? Now, on to save the world.

What does the future hold for LinkedIn? LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced at the end of 2012 that the company’s plans in the coming decade are to establish an “economic graph,” which kinda/sorta pillages Facebook’s social graph concept. LinkedIn presents its economic graph (when finalized) as an all encompassing chart of the global economy and all of the connections therein. The terminus ad quem of the “economic graph” is to make the connections of the global economy thorough and universal, in order that LinkedIn might possess not simply all the job recruitment in the world, but furthermore the skills required to acquire those jobs, the total number of professionals who might work them, and the businesses (whether nonprofit or for-profit) in which they work. Weiner aims at nothing less than making the global economy mapped, charted and transparent. This sounds Googlish to me!

There are signs that LinkedIn could achieve this grand vision. Not only is it growing in the US and Europe, but even in markets which are not always friendly to Internet movements, such as China. (Source) Comprising 1/5th of the world’s population, the Chinese expansion could make LinkedIn to the business world what Facebook is to the social world, further linking the global community via their phones, tablets and laptops.

Is the world ready for this level of centralization? The growth, marketability, and versatility of LinkedIn would suggest that its heading in that direction, ready or not. Best to get on the bandwagon then…

Hootsuite: Love It or Hate It

With the myriad of social media options out there, the thought has probably crossed each of our minds before at least once: “If only there was a way to condense all these into one place” or “I wish I could connect all these things and organize them on one page.” There are a couple of social media organizational dashboards out there, but this time we’re going to enter the wonderful world of Hootsuite.

Hootsuite: you either love it, or hate it. If you google it, you’ll find adamant camps of haters or admirers, the haters really hate, the admirers will hear of no other platform. Let’s take a look at what Hootsuite has to offer you, and you may decide for yourself.

Currently, Hootsuite’s free version offers you a web-based tabulated dashboard that can keep track of up to five different social media programs (you have to pay a pretty penny to go pro if you want Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or more than five different sites in there). Hootsuite allows you multiple streams of information per site tab, so when you click on, say, your Facebook tab, you can create a stream for your current posts, a stream for comments you receive, scheduled posts, personal messages and more. All of this appears on one page, right before your eyes, no clicking back and forth to different, open tabs. They just recently added Google+ into the list of social sites they offer you, so right now you can put your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress and Mixi accounts on the dashboard. It is fairly simple to create your account, and then click on the tab settings to add your social networks.

Entering your usernames, passwords, and giving Hootsuite authorization to access all these accounts takes a few minutes, and pretty soon you have a dashboard of tabs.  

If you are boring, and want to say the same thing at the same time on all your sites, you may choose which social media sites to post to (at the top of the dashboard there is an easily seen dialog box in which to do this), then there is a dialog box to type your post for the day. Choose all your sites at one time, type one post for all, add a link if you wish and viola, you post and it’s on all the networks you chose. You spent only a few seconds but reached all of your fans across your entire social media spectrum.

What if you’re not boring, and want to say different stuff at different times? With Hootsuite, you can definitely get more creative. You’re still saving time by operating on all the social media sites from one dashboard, eliminating the need to open up a bunch of tabs or manage usernames and passwords (basically, saving the minutes and then seconds that we have come to value in our fast-paced tech world), and you can see what is happening in one glance with comments, re-tweets, sharing, etc. all from this page. You can schedule posts for later days and times, reply to comments and interact with your followers; it’s an OC organizers delight! Want to carry a theme for a week but only have time today to plan it? Get together all your material and schedule a whole week of themed posts and links in an easy-to-view column of information, pick the time of day you want each one to post, set it and forget it! This is great for people with structured, planned Google+ or Facebook pages, but who want to keep, say, Twitter real, live and in the moment.

So far it sounds great, but for some of us who get lost in a world of a million and one options, where if one miniscule box is unchecked or checked it could mean professional embarrassment (double posts anyone?), or you are the kind of person who must see the actual Facebook page and familiar Google+ page to figure out what you are going to say for the day, then you (like me) need a bit of time to play with Hootsuite in order to learn how to use it effectively. If you have a question, Hootsuite’s Twitter feed is full of quickly answered queries on “how does one do x?” and the answers are prompt, polite and helpful. They also have a series of video tutorials called “Hoot Tips” available to help you (#HootTip), and if that’s not enough, for $21 a month, you can enroll in Hootsuite University, and even earn a social media certification! In addition to this, another company called Grovo is offering sixty-second video tutorials for your quick questions related to Hootsuite (and other platforms).

From what I can gather, the people that hate Hootsuite are people that want a quick, easy, one-stop-shop where they can glance at the screen and know exactly what it is they want done and how to do it. This is definitely not Hootsuite. But, if you have some time to invest in learning how to use this comprehensive social media tool, it can do great things for you. Their blog, HootSource, is worth giving a read, anyhow.

Let’s recap: Hootsuite offers you the ability to manage multiple social networks, schedule messages and tweets, track mentions, and analyze social media traffic. They will train you for free to use their tools, and they have excellent help available. Now go play with it!

LinkedIn: Does it Matter?

With over 259 million users, LinkedIn is no small social network. Considered the top professional networking and job search site, LinkedIn is a useful tool for both professionals and businesses to share their talents, experiences, and references. LinkedIn is also a goldmine for business news and discussions as users and businesses share articles and stories aggregated across the web on one platform. Sounds like LinkedIn matters to me!

A powerful tool for marketing yourself and your business, LinkedIn allows for numerous opportunities to showcase yourself and your products to gain contacts that can lead to future jobs or clients. In this post, I’ll explore highlights of personal profiles, as well as company profiles that are key to presenting yourself in the best light.

Key Features of Your Personal Profile

It’s important to optimize your personal LinkedIn profile by filling in every section as completely as possible. This will help manage your online reputation by optimizing your profile for your name and skill set.

Recommendationslinkedin recommedations

LinkedIn recommendations are important for LinkedIn users who are either trying to secure a new job or a potential client by showing off some of your highlights. Recommendations are the LinkedIn equivalent of references and I recommend personally requesting recommendations from those who you have a strong relationship. In that note, ask your reference to give a specific example, if possible, so the recommendation holds more weight. In my opinion, Recommendations are much stronger than the Skills section since anyone can give you props for a skill even if they have never worked with you in that area.

Professional PortfolioLinkedIn Professional Portfolio

LinkedIn’s portfolio feature is a great way to showcase your professional experience using rich visual content. Key areas of this great imagery tool are in your LinkedIn summary, experience, and education sections. Types of content that can be added are photos, videos, presentations and audio recordings. Here is the official list of approved providers, like SlideShare and Spotify.

Key Features of Your Company Page

Again, it’s important to fill in every section as completely as possible to provide the story of your business in a visual and concise manner to show your business in a positive light.

Company UpdatesDell - Best LinkedIn Page of 2013

When sharing posts from your company page, share useful tidbits of information to grab your readers attention. Also, sharing information about your corporate culture helps readers connect to your brand, which is helpful in growing brand ambassadors. Companies, like Dell, one of LinkedIn’s best company pages of 2013, “doesn’t bury the lead” when they share status updates. “Companies with snappy intros catch the eye and get better engagement.” Check out some of the other top pages of 2013 here.

Use Visual ContentFour Seasons Visual Content with References

Rich media and visual content doesn’t end with your personal page. With Company Pages, you can create large image (and clickable!) headers, as well as individual icons for each product and service you offer. There are also several places within your page where you can include short videos to engage your visitor.

So to answer the question, does it matter? Yes. Yes, LinkedIn does matter. Comment with your success stories below.