[tweetmeme]Social media encompasses a number of platforms — from blogs to wikis to microblogging to social sharing. One type often overlooked by many small businesses is social reading and publishing, which is essentially the sharing of documents, manuscripts and presentations.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter where you share a brief description and the link to the documents, social publishing sites allow you to publish and share long-form written content. This includes PowerPoint presentations, Word files, spreadsheets, PDF files, among others. Examples of social publishing sites include Scribd.com, Slideshare.net, Issuu.com, and others. They also offer tools that allow your documents to be read and shared, including embedding them to websites or blogs.
Social publishing sites attract millions of readers who want to read content that interest them. The leading social publishing site, Scribd.com, is ranked by Website Magazine as #13 of social media resources in terms of traffic.
Businesses can use social publishing sites to tap these readers, make their content discoverable, and enable them to share the content to their own contacts. Social publishing sites are a perfect venue for establishing your expertise and reputation as a thought leader in your space. They are also useful for keeping your content viral. Once your materials are published through their platform, readers can download your content, embed them on their own blogs or sites, and share them with their contacts in other social sharing sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
A number of big businesses use social publishing sites to share their content, reach existing and new audiences. Publishing houses use Scribd.com primarily to release teasers and excerps of their upcoming books. Even President Obama during his campaign actively used Scribd.com to release PDF documents of his thoughts, papers and campaign materials.
There’s a growing segment of online population who are consuming content via social publishing sites, and you need to consider if social publishing fits your social media strategy. Then make sure that you have a plan regarding the types and formats of content you can disseminate through these platforms.