There is a growing religion when it comes to thinking visually. Through best selling books like Back of the Napkin, expert communicators like Dan Roam share their vision for successfully presenting ideas through imagery and visuals. Visual communication may have been an art form, but these days it seems that it is one being adopted by more than just a select few.
Whether you count yourself among the converted when it comes to visual presenting or not, there is a site called Slideshare that you need to pay attention to. Often described as “the Youtube of Powerpoint” – the site has thousands of presentations from independent businesspeople, consultants, large brands and authors. On the site, you can learn just about anything – including what is really happening with healthcare reform, and what to blog about if you happen to start your own blog.
Here are a few ways that Slideshare might help your small business:
- Get free business advice from experts. By far the best benefit Slideshare has to offer is great thinking from very smart people, all for free. On the site you can get visual advice on how to use just about any social media site (like Flickr, Facebook or Twitter), learn how to advertise effectively, see examples of what other businesses are doing, and even understand better some of the external forces impacting your business, such as government policy or consumer behaviour trends. All of this information is readily accessible, shareable and highly useful.
- Share your story visually. There is nothing people like better than a story, and chances are you have a fairly interesting one to tell behind the founding of your business. Not everyone can produce flowing lines of great prose to describe why their company is great, but if you think about your company presentation as a story – then all you need are the right images to piece that story together. For example, what did your original business plan look like? Or where was your very first employee group photo taken? These images can help you to tell your story in a visual and compelling way that is much more interesting than a few paragraphs on your about page. And once you do it on Slideshare, that presentation is easy to embed onto your own company website (just like a YouTube video).
- Use contests for free promotion. One of the things that gets the most attention on Slideshare are the contests that they consistently hold. They are typically judged by business visionaries, and heavily promoted across the entire site. Contests give you a chance to compete with others to have the best story to tell, and help you to connect your story with more people. Along the way, chances are the process of putting a story together for your business will help you to get better at telling it too.
- Demonstrate your expertise. If your business has anything to do with offering some sort of service or expertise, Slideshare can be a great way for you to share your expertise. In addition to uploading your own presentations on any topic, you can also be a content curator and find presentations on any topic of your choice and aggregate them together. This aggregation can be highly useful for people in your target audience, and help to position you not just as an authority with their own smart thinking, but as an expert who can help sift through a flood of information online and identify the most useful.
- Get leads directly from presentations. Slideshare just introduced a new feature on their site where you can integrate lead generation into your presentations – so now the white paper model of getting data for sales leads can be embedded right into your presentation. This can allow you to create an easy integrated way to get more information from the people you might reach through your presentations, and extend a model for marketing that you might already be using if you are a services based business.