By Professor Steven Van Belleghem, best-selling author and Professor at Vlerick Business School,

Many companies and individuals dream about breaking into new international markets. Social media is one of the tools those companies look to in order to achieve this goal. Social networks offer the advantage that they are global channels by nature. Many companies make the mistake of copy-pasting their company structure on social media. That’s why so many Twitter accounts are geographically oriented. This may work for some companies but for most it ends in a social media cemetery.

Slideshare brings me international business
I love sharing content on social networks. I am very active on Twitter but the social network with the highest impact on my business is Slideshare. My professional activities are keynote speaking and coaching companies. Slideshare is the perfect platform to share my vision of the world. I am based in Belgium, but I receive queries from all over the world based on my Slideshare page. Feel free to check out my page: www.slideshare.net/stevenvanbelleghem

5 key strengths to grow internationally via Slideshare
If you would like to grow your international business and if you are active in a B2B service market, I think Slideshare is probably the platform with the biggest impact.
Here are 5 key strengths of this site that allow you to grow an international business:
Google loves Slideshare. If you type in my name in Google, my Slideshare page is one of the first hits. The impact of your search results increases if you publish white papers on Slideshare. Google uses the full text of the paper during searches.
Easy lead generation. Be sure to get a premium Slideshare package. This allows you to monitor who is downloading your presentations. For every download you receive an e-mail with the contact information of that lead. If you’re interested in his or her profile you can now contact that individual directly.
LinkedIn owns/loves Slideshare. A few years ago, LinkedIn bought Slideshare. Because of this, all Slideshare uploads are shared on your LinkedIn profile as well and this creates additional reach. The deck is also added to your personal profile, which makes you look better on LinkedIn.
Easy to embed visual content on other platforms. Posting a presentation on Slideshare is a great idea, but it is also smart to embed the deck on your own as well as on third party blogs. This increases the traffic on your presentation, which increases the likelihood of getting interesting leads.
Global reach. Over the years, Slideshare has grown significantly. Today, millions of people around the world use the network to share and read interesting content. The site provides you with a global audience.

Two conditions for success
Of course, this idea is not science. Two conditions must be fulfilled to make the most of these strengths:
1. Tell a great story. Don’t regard Slideshare as an easy way to promote your product. In fact, product sheets don’t do well at all. It is a storytelling platform. The most successful presentations tell inspiring stories or share anecdotes… The goal is to inspire people, not to sell them something. In 2012, my deck ‘Social Media Around the world 2012’ generated the most likes of all presentations on the platform that year. I assume its success was owed to the generous amount of inspiration, facts & figures people could look into, completely free of charge.
2. Create a sexy wrapper. Slideshare is a very visual platform. The most popular slideshows have great visuals. People scan your stories and the more they are visually attractive, the more attention they will attract.

Combining these two guidelines with the strengths of Slideshare is a very impactful way to grow your business in an international way.

Prof. Steven Van Belleghem is a digital marketing expert and sought after speaker. Follow him on twitter @StevenVBe or visit: www.stevenvanbelleghem.com

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