Slideshare, the popular slide hosting service has been labelled as, among other things, the “YouTube of slide presentations,” the “quiet giant of content marketing” and the “dark horse of B2B marketing.” These may seem like slightly back handed compliments, but according to many B2B marketers, SlideShare delivers one thing other social media sites often struggle to provide: a solid return on investment.
Launched on October 4th 2006, the website was originally meant to be used for businesses to share slides among employees more easily, but it has since expanded to also become a host of a large number of slides which are uploaded merely to entertain. The website gets an estimated 60 million unique visitors a month, and has about 16 million registered users. SlideShare was voted one of the World’s Top 10 tools for education & e-learning in 2010, and has some notable users, such as The White House,NASA, World Economic Forum, State of Utah, O’Reilly Media, Hewlett Packard and IBM. SlideShare excels at combining a first-class content-sharing platform with analytics, lead generation tools, and third-party software integration. As a result, it is considerably more than the sum of its individual parts.
Slideshare CEO, Rashmi Sinah:
“Slideshare is powerful because it has visuals and text together and everybody in business uses it. It can be a great vehicle for communication. In many ways, it defines business communication today and that ubiquity is the basis of SlideShare. We have taken a medium, a cold format for business communication, and made it social. We believe that transformation is really powerful and brings together a certain kind of audience.”
There is a growing trend in Slideshare at the moment to put more effort into the design and look of a slideshow. The most successful marketers are creating content that is far more engaging, original and interactive than the old Power Point graphics from yesteryear. Some B2B marketers offer especially high praise for three features where SlideShare appears to hold a major advantage over other social media platforms:
- Lead capture
- Enterprise software integration.
Premium-tier SlideShare users can, for example, embed lead capture forms with customized fields within their presentations, and then import those leads directly into their own marketing automation or CRM systems.
While Slideshow may be considered by some in the B2B Marketing world as a dark horse, those views could be about to change. According to data presented in a recent infographic created by Column Five Media, the site currently attracts 60 million visitors per month and serves about three billion slide views a month – or 1,140 slides per second. Slideshare gets roughly three times the traffic from business owners that other social media sites get, and it gets about 40% more traffic from C-level executives than LinkedIn.