slideshare-blogSlideShare bills itself as the “world’s largest community for sharing presentations.” The company, acquired by LinkedIn in May 2012, claims to be one of the 200 most visited websites in the world with 60 million visitors and 130 million monthly pageviews.

SlideShare provides a platform for people to share their presentations, documents and videos with the public or with private groups. Anyone can upload their material, and content includes everything from professional product demonstrations, university lectures, how-to instructions, product reviews, as well as industry research, pedestrian humor, spiritual advice, and sports talk. You can search for presentations on a specific topic, or browse by any combination of category, popularity, media type, and language.

With such a wide range of content and quality, it is easy to dismiss SlideShare as another online waste of time. However, SlideShare gives savvy business owners the ability to learn from their competition, as well as educate themselves in areas of lesser experience. If employed strategically, SlideShare can provide significant knowledge and financial benefits to your small business. Here are four ways to use it to your advantage:

Upload Your Own Presentations to Build Industry Reputation

One of the easiest ways to build your industry reputation is to highlight your product and service features as well as your business expertise. When you post, you can also include links to your other social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. Content is typically well indexed by search engines. With a free account you’ll be able to view usage and sharing statistics for one presentation. With a paid account, you’ll be able to view analytics for multiple presentations as well as use SlideShare to collect leads.

Study Presentations of Your Competition, Customers & Client Prospects

Beyond uploading your own presentations to increase industry credibility, competitor research and analysis is easy on SlideShare. Simply look up your closest competition to see how they’re selling their product or service. You’ll be amazed at the information some companies publish. Just remember, if you’re researching their presentations, they’re most likely researching yours.

Beyond researching competition, you can also review the presentations of your customers and prospective clients. Doing this will help you tailor your sales presentations to individual customer styles, interests, and immediate business needs. For larger customers (like IBM or General Electric) that are more likely to post thought leadership presentations, it can also help you understand a company’s near and long-term marketplace assessments and business strategies. A good way to stay on top of your customers’ new material is to “Follow” them on SlideShare.

Incorporate SlideShare Material into Your Own Business Presentations

If you need a great statistic slide, a video demonstration for a key selling point, or even just a compelling intro slide, chances are you can find it on SlideShare. Most of the presentations are downloadable, and can be mixed and matched to augment your own content. (Just don’t forget to cite your source and give credit where credit is due.)

Increase Industry-Specific Knowledge & Learn New Skills

Whether you want to learn the newest SEO and affiliate marketing trends, learn how to configure your new mobile device, or are interested in current research on customer behavior in your industry, chances are you’ll find a SlideShare presentation on the topic.

Small business owners wear many hats and often times don’t have the resources to hire an employee for every specialized task. Using SlideShare, owners can educate themselves in multiple fields and better manage their business. Use the search bar at the top of the page to find content that answers your specific questions.

To learn more, check out the SlideShare 101 page. Additionally, A Small Business Guide to SlideShare on the Business2Community site provides useful tips for creating and uploading your first SlideShare presentation.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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