Why Linkedin SlideShare is for Branding

Linkedin SlideShare (SlideShare) is a B2B social media channel for sharing a wide range of genres, including presentations, videos, white papers, e-books, infographics and more. Referred to as ‘the world’s largest professional sharing community’, the channel reached 70 million professionals with  18 million uploads in 40 content categories, ranging from education, technology, government & non-profit, food and more. (Linkedin Slideshare, About us)

The emerging social media channel is one of the few social media channels for B2B integrated marketing communications (IMC) of brands – enhancing pull marketing strategies particularly in SEO (search engine optimization), building brand values and propositions and developing networks with their targeted  and business partners.

Who is SlideShare?

SlideShare was founded in 2006 in India by Rashim Sinha, Jonathan Boutelle and Amit Ranjan.

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Photo source: Utah State University Extention, https://extension.usu.edu/innovate/htm/content-management/slideshare

Backed in 2010, one of founders Rashim shared SlideShare’s vision in an interview with IndiaKnowledge@Wharton, School of Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.  ‘SlideShare’s Rashmi Sinha: ‘We Wanted to Reach Millions’. According to Rashim, she and her husband founded SlideShare they wanted ‘to do something that would have much broader impact’. The vision of SlideShare is to turn ‘Powerpoint’, a common business communication tool into ‘social’. Businesses have to develop original content themselves and build up their networks through knowledge sharing. She said SlideShare generates revenue through its ‘wealth of relevant content’, instead of advertising. In other words, the portal is able to quantify the value of content. Using pay-per-click, ‘Linkedin Lead Generation’ allows businesses to insert contact forms in between slides in order to reach their target customers.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/Slideshare/lead-generation-on-slideshare-howto-guide

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Businesses can collect contact data from customers using contact forms

Even though SlideShare is catered for business professionals, anyone can access to the portal free-of-charge via their Facebook and Linkedin accounts.

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The free access strategy can help businesses to communicate with new customers

Back in 2003 when SlideShare was launched, it had reached 60 million visitors and generated 130 million page views. (Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing). In 2012, Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network, acquired the company for about $118.75 million. (Linkedin, Press Release, Linkedin to acquire Slideshare)

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Slideshare is now under the Linkedin Brand

Photo source: Linkedin SlideShare, http://www.slideshare.net/about/logos)

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Photos source: http://www.slideshare.net/AmitRanjan/yourstory-techsparks-the-slideshare-story

Jonathan Boutelle wrote in his blog that the founders of SlideShare left the company in 2015 (Jonathan Boutelle, SlideShare: The founders have left the building)

Key features of SlideShare useful for IMC

Companies use IMC in order to develop profitable relationships with their customers through targeted messaging across communication channels and data gathering (Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, MMC5506, Week 2 What is IMC?) Users often use an analogy of ‘Youtube version of Powerpoint’ for SlideShare. In addition to presentations, companies can upload documents, whitepapers, infographics, videos on the portal.

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Upload files in SlideShare

Driving traffic

Google will index all SlideShare materials every day in its search engine. Companies can bolster traffic in their slides through adding in title, tags, categories and descriptions in their materials. The ‘discoverability score’ feature can help improve SEO of companies’ content.

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Analytics

Companies can track the performance of the slides including number of clicks of each slides, views, downloads etc.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

Companies can also download analytic reports for data analysis.

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Businesses can select relevant data of and download them

Social sharing

Firstly, professionals will have their Linkedin or Facebook accounts connected to SlideShare. This encourages two-way communications between comapnies and customers.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

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Secondly, companies can improve SEO by sharing their materials in social media platforms including Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and embed them in their websites and blogs.

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Networking with professionals

Companies and business partners and customers can get connected when they ‘Follow’ each other.

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Photo source: http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis/presentation18-24185290

Mobile compatible

Professionals can view all the content in SlideShare via its mobile app.

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Overview of Slideshare mobile app

Statistics show that majority of people outside the U.S. using the app to access to SlideShare. The engagement of users in mobile app is nine times more than desktop. (DMR, By The Numbers: 19 Amazing Slideshare Statistics)

SlideShare strengthens branding

1. SlideShare is pull marketing for businesses

Pull marketing refers to strategies of creating sales of products and services in the interests of customers.(Marketing Schools, What is Pull Marketing)  Consumer behaviours change due to the growth of internet and social media. Companies want their customers to seek out products and services by providing them with customer-focused, targeted messaging. As one of the founders of SlideShare Amit Ranjan said the mission of the company is to visualize ‘language of business’ and use content as a medium to connect people with businesses and vice versa.

Photos source: http://www.slideshare.net/AmitRanjan/yourstory-techsparks-the-slideshare-story

To achieve this, SlideShare initiate special features to help businesses reach their customers by providing targeted and quality content. These include allowing Google to index all content in SlideShare in search engine and sharing content on social media channels, blogs etc. For example, KPMG, known as one of the ‘big four’ audit and accounting firms in the world, has been uploading a variety of content on the company’s SlideShare in order to help them generate traffic for their website dedicated to their social media feeds.

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Snapshot of KPMG Slideshare page

2. SlideShare complements branding

According to Drew Boyd’s video ‘What is a brand’ in Lydna.com,  a brand is ‘a promise to customers’. He talked about five brand processes: brand values, positioning, value proposition, building awareness and measurement. SlideShare is a great tool for companies for branding. Companies can share their industry insights and operational experiences, or being thought leaders to develop brand values. For example, MSL Groups, global communications company, share infographics, documents, presentations and ‘Critical Conversation’ on SlideShare. I was impressed by the company’s e-book of food communications. The visuals of different food products are eye-catching and the content is unique, discussing the trend of communications in food industry.

Presidential candidate of the United States Hillary Clinton also shared videos on SlideShare. (I am not sure if the purpose of opening the portal for Mrs Clinton is for commercial activities. Perhaps she wants to bolster the SEO of her campaign) One of the videos, ‘Trump rooted for the real estate crash’ generated 17,439 views and 16,787 embeds.

I’ve created a prezi to discuss SlideShare is crucial for SEO and branding. Feel free to check this out and leave your comments.

Linkedin SlideShare & SEO

 

3. Professional networking

SlideShare can leverage Linkedin to share share content within professional networks. Businesses and professionals can seek for quality content in the hub and connect with others by ‘following’ the brands or individuals on SlideShare or through Linkedin. Companies can collect contact information from their potential customers by using ‘Lead form’ function from ‘Lead Generation’. They can send or contact their customers with targeted messaging through different means including email marketing. Some companies wants to leverage their employees’ network, allowing them to share companies’ presentations.  For example, IBM allows their employees to share presentations of products, industry trends etc. on SlideShare. (Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing). This can help companies build their networks from their current employees and reach their targeted customers.

References:

Linkedin SlideShare Help, https://www.linkedin.com/help/slideshare

Linkedin SlideShare, About, http://www.slideshare.net/about

Knowledge@Wharton, The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania, SlideShare’s Rashmi Sinha: ‘We Wanted to Reach Millions’, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/slideshares-rashmi-sinha-we-wanted-to-reach-millions/

Steve Olenski, Forbes.com, SlideShare: The Quiet Giant Of Content Marketing, http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=http://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2013/02/28/slideshare-the-quiet-giant-of-content-marketing/&refURL=&referrer=#68fe23a4561b

Jonathan Boutelle, jonathanboutelle.com,  SlideShare: The founders have left the building, https://jonathanboutelle.com/2015/01/24/slideshare-the-founders-have-left-the-building/

Professor Jaclyn Rhoads, MMC 5006 Introduction to Multimedia Communication, Week 2: What is IMC?

Laura Wallis, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/LauraWallis?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Marketing Schools, What is Pull Marketing, http://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/pull-marketing.html

KPMG, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/kpmg?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Social, KPMG, https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/social.html

MSLGROUP, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/mslgroup?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Hillary Clinton, Slideshare.net, http://www.slideshare.net/HillaryClinton?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_medium=sssite&utm_source=ssslideview

Johnny, massplanner, SlideShare and Linkedin Marketing: How to Use the Two Platforms to Grow YOur Business, http://www.massplanner.com/slideshare-and-linkedin-marketing-how-to-use-the-two-platforms-to-grow-your-business/

Marguerite McNeal, AMA.org,  Stacking the Deck with SlideShare, https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/B2BMarketing/Pages/stacking-the-deck-with-slideshare.aspx

Leyl Black, Marketing Bootcamp, 5 Strategies for Using SlideShare in Your Marketing, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242168

Lance Brown, WTWH Marketing Lab, 8 Reasons Why SlideShare is Important for Social Media Marketing, http://marketing.wtwhmedia.com/8-reasons-why-slideshare-is-important-for-social-media-marketing/

DMR, By The Numbers: 19 Amazing Slideshare Statistics, http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/slideshare-statistics/

Andri Kristinsson, blog.Linkined.com, Discover the People Behind the Conent on SlideShare Mobile, https://blog.linkedin.com/2014/09/04/slideshare-mobile-update

Kristina Allen, Convince and Convert, Top 5 Slideshare Marketing Tip, http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/top-5-slideshare-marketing-tips/

Drew Boyd, Lydna.com, ‘What is a brand’, https://www.lynda.com/Enterprise-Marketing-tutorials/What-brand/171053/372366-4.html

Push and Pull – Winning Strategies for Websites

Companies often use  push and pull marketing strategies in order to reach their target customers, develop their brands and boost their sales. Push marketing refers to companies ‘push’ their products and services to customers using online or offline advertisements – emails, pay-per-click ads, pop-up ads. Meanwhile, pull marketing is a customer focused strategy in which companies and customers interact with each other on social media platforms or through SEO, blogs or whitepapers in which customers will find them intriguing . My client The British Council in Hong Kong and its competitors  The Wall Street English and the TESOL International Association (TESOL) provide English language learning to customers based on demographics such age, English proficiency levels as well as customers’ objectives in learning the language – for work, personal interests, academic use. One point to note is that my client also works on arts, education and society in order to promote the British culture.

Push techniques on websites

E-newsletter

The British Council’s customers or interested parties can fill in contact forms and opt in the bilingual corporate e-newsletters which includes all the events and programs of the organization. The tap ‘Newsletter’ is found in the top right corner of the website.

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The British Council e-newsletter enrollment form

The e-newsletter is available for public. However, the button of the e-newsletter is not conspicuous, at the right side of the ‘Press office’ page.bc-e-newsletter-in-press-office

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Layout of British Council Hong Kong e-newsletter

For specific area of work, for examples Arts will have its e-newsletter targeted their customers.

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Arts newsletter enrollment form

The Wall Street English provides a bilingual, bi-weekly magazine to its customers or interested parties will subscribe it when filling in their brief contact details. However, customers have to look for the page link of the magazine in the pull-down menu of a tab ‘English tips’. I think a subscription button can be placed in the home page for accessibility.

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The Wall Street English Bi-weekly magazine subscription. Visitors do not have full access to the magazine in the website.

TESOL’s monthly e-newsletter is found in the pull-down menu of the first tab ‘Read and Publish’ in the home page.

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Visitors can find the latest and archives of the e-newsletter in the website as well.

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The RSS feed subscription is available in the e-newsletter. I suggest RSS feed also be available in the home page too.

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Call-to-actions

In the British Council’s website, each web banner carousel has a button such as ‘Register now’, ‘Apply now’. Visitors who click through the button will be directed to the event page.

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The ‘Register now’ button in the ‘Education UK Schools and Colleges Exhibition 2016’ banner is directed to the above page

Some promotional buttons are on the home page about events prompting interested parties to click through.

BC_promotional button.jpgThe banner carousels of the English and Chinese websites in the Wall Street English are different. Carousels in both versions are ‘call-to-actions’ of course promotions, discounts, free trial.

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Banner in Chinese website of the Wall Street English
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Banner in English website of the Wall Street English

Visitors who click on the carousel will be directed to page about course details and registration.

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The home page of TESOL has a banner carousel about latest products and event details. A static menu bar is on the right of the carousel. Visitors can choose to subscribe the membership, connect with their staff, visit bookstore or find product or services.

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Push Techniques off-sites

Web banners or pay-per click banners

The British Council use pay-per-click ads to promote the English courses.

Trade shows and conferences

The British Council participated in trade show to promote its International Pre-School.

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TESOL organizes branded forums and conferences.

Pull Techniques on official website

SEO on websites

The article ‘A Simple Guide to SEO for Local Businesses [Infographics] ‘mentions that websites with targeted messaging in their meta title tags, URLs, company descriptions and keywords can be easily identified by search engines and hence, SEO. The British Council uses targeted messaging across all sections in the website. For example, in home page, the meta title and the URL are British Council Hong Kong and these will be updated when moving on to different sections. For example, the page about English courses, the meta title and the URL will change to ‘Learn English British Council’ and ‘English’ respectively. The organization’s introduction is also concise (48 words). The tabs use wordings that are targeted to customers ‘Learn English’, ‘Take an exam’ ‘Study in the UK’.

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The British Council’s home page
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The British Council’s ‘Learn English’ page

The Wall Street English also uses concise messaging in meta title and the URL ‘Wall Street English’ and change them in different sections e.g. ‘MultiMethod’. However, company’s description is not available in the home page but it is under the tab ‘About WSB’. The messaging in the website is not targeted but promotional messages, for example – ‘Course’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Promotions’ in tabs.

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The Wall Street English’s home page

 

I think TESOL has done a good job in SEO. Although the organization does not have a company’s description on the home page. There’s a tag line which is the organization’s value at the top of the web page ‘Advancing Excellence in English Language Teaching’. The messaging in the website is targeted such as in the tabs – ‘Read & Publish’, ‘Enhance Your Career’.tesol_seo-in-website

Blogs/ Whitepapers/ Resources

The British Council put their press releases, annual reports, e-newsletters and blog posts available in the same page under ‘Press office’ but the link of the page is found near the bottom of the home page. Visitors may not be able to locate it easily.

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The British Council’s ‘Press office’ page

The Wall Street English has a page ‘English tips’ which contain blogs and e-newsletters. Visitors can locate the link of the page in its home page.

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TESOL on the contrary provides a variety of publications for visitors including journals, bulletins, e-newsletters for members and non-members, annual reports, white papers. Experts of the organization’s bulletins and blogs are available on the home page.

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TESOL’s home page
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Navigator of list of resources near the bottom of the home page
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All the resources are available in the page ‘Read & Publish’

Visitors can also login the site to submit resources about teaching, planning activities etc.

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Companies having original content and customers’ voices in their websites will immensely improve their SEO performances, according to articles in Forbes.com, ‘The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2016’ and American Marketing Association, ‘Six SEO Rules for 2016’.

Pull Techniques off-site

Search engines SEO and advertisements

All three organizations’ names are on the top of the search in Google and Yahoo. The British Council and the Wall Street English place advertisements on search engines.

 

 

But for The Wall Street English in Yahoo search, the company’s website is on the top of the search and the rest of the results are irrelevant.

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The Wall Street English in Google search
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The Wall Street English in Yahoo search

Mobile Friendliness

All three organization’s websites are mobile friendly. The British Council and the Wall Street English have tailored sites for mobile devices.

 

 

Sharing/ social share buttons

Web pages of the three organizations are sharable on social media channels.

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The British Council
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The Wall Street English
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TESOL

Improvements of the British Council’s website from branding perspectives

  • Improving the brand positioning

The British Council is a registered charity organization in the UK to promote English language and culture of the country. However, the messaging of the organization’s Hong Kong site focuses on learning English and taking IELTS exams. Promotional buttons  of these segments are conspicuous and constantly updated in the home page while content relevant to UK culture – arts, education and society are only found in static text boxes with no promotional buttons. I think the tab ‘Our works in arts, education and society’ in the header should be placed towards to left side of the page, alongside ‘Learn English’, ‘Take an exam’, ‘Study in the UK’.Visitors will be aware that the organization’s culture works are as important as other segments.

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The sections should change static text boxes to promotional buttons of latest events and programs.

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  • Engaging with customers to build brand loyalty

With customers’ voices such as testimonials, comments and feedbacks as well as interactions between companies and customers, companies can build the bonds with customers and cultivate brand loyalty. In British Council’s website, majority of the content in the website is organizational focused. The organization should create more content of customers’ interests. Its competitor TESOL International Association is doing well in this respect through publishing white papers, blogs and creating a forum for members to upload their resources. This will help improve customers’ online search experiences and develop the brand loyalty in the long run.

References:

Marketing-schools.org, ‘What is Push Marketing?’

Marketing-schools.org, ‘What is Pull Marketing?’

Hubspot.com, Lindsay Kolowich, ‘A Simple Guide to SEO for Local Businesses

American Marketing Association, Christine Birkner, ‘Six SEO Rules for 2016

Forbes.com, Jayson DeMers, ‘The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2016