How to Use File Sharing Sites for Your Social Media Optimization Strategy

By Ric Shreves, Michelle Krasniak

File sharing sites all work in a similar fashion and can help your social media optimization strategy greatly. You open an account on one of these sites and then create your own channel, where you can insert your branding and post some basic information about your website, including a backlink.

After you create and customize your account, you can begin to upload files. When you add a new file to the system, you’re given the chance to write a description and can include a link to the article on your site. Make sure that your description not only reflects the content of the document, but also includes your target keywords.

You can choose to allow or disallow downloads and embeds on other sites. If you want your content to travel and get more visibility, allow both. Another option relates to the license for the item. As a general rule, give your content the most generous license possible, but always require attribution.

When you’ve added content to the sharing site, you have the option to embed the document in your website by using the other site’s file viewer. The embedded viewer interface allows you to show your files directly inside your web page — a nice feature that has the added benefit of promoting your presence on the channel.

Additionally, for video content, allowing a third party to host the video and then using that site’s embedded player to display it on your site decreases load on your server and often delivers better performance for viewers.

Document‐sharing sites

For sharing PDF and PowerPoint files, definitely consider using these four sites:

SlideShare, Issuu, and Scribd are similar services. All three sites allow you to share a variety of document formats. Technically, SlideShare focuses on presentations, Scribd focuses on books, and Issuu pushes a magazine format, but you can use them all for several common document formats. Of the three sites, SlideShare receives the most traffic and has the greatest reach.

For all three services, you should create a branded profile to use for your publishing activities. Accounts are free on all three, and all three offer the option to embed very nice media players that let you display your content on your site while publicizing your account on the service.

An embedded SlideShare document.

An embedded SlideShare document.

SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn and as a result gives you very good integration with LinkedIn — a bonus. SlideShare now supports logging in with your LinkedIn ID. When you’re logged into SlideShare with your LinkedIn credentials, you can easily display your SlideShare presentations on your LinkedIn profile.

Google Drive normally isn’t thought of as a file‐publishing service, but you can use it to publish documents publicly. Here’s how to publish a file publicly on Google Drive:

  1. Log in to your Google account.

  2. Create a new folder, and name it Public Files.

    The Public Files folder is where you’ll store all your publicly visible files.

  3. Right‐click the Public Files folder and choose Share from the context menu.

    You see a pop‐up menu.

  4. Click the Advanced link.

    The Share pop‐up menu.

    The Share pop‐up menu.

    After you click the Advanced link, a new set of options appears in the pop‐up window.

    The Advanced Share options.

    The Advanced Share options.
  5. In the Who Has Access section, click the Change link next to the ­padlock marked Private.

    You see a window with the privacy options.

  6. Select the On Public on the web option and then click the Save button.

    Any files you add to the Public Files folder are marked as Public and shared on the web automatically.

  7. Upload the file you want to share.

    Make sure to upload it to the Public Files folder.

An added benefit of using Google Drive is that files published publicly tend to get indexed quickly in the Google search engine.

Video‐sharing sites

Video content travels really well and has great viral potential. If you’re ­producing video content for public consumption, you really need to publish it as widely as possible. You should always post public video content on YouTube. If you have the time to manage accounts on other video‐sharing sites, you should also consider using Vimeo, Vine, or Instagram.

YouTube should be your first choice for video content because it receives the majority of the video traffic on the web and is also part of the Google empire. Videos uploaded to YouTube tend to rank well in the Google search engine, and YouTube content integrates easily with Google+.

Hosting your videos on YouTube has the added advantage of saving you bandwidth and storage space. Put the videos on YouTube and then embed them in your site — the best of both worlds.

YouTube also allows you to create your own channel, which gives you the option to upload your videos and to curate content from others. YouTube provides an easy‐to‐use embedded video player that you can use to display the videos on your site.

Embedding a YouTube video.

Embedding a YouTube video.

Vimeo is an interesting alternative to YouTube. Like YouTube, Vimeo lets you host videos and embed them in your site. Although Vimeo sees less traffic than YouTube does, you may prefer Vimeo if you’re concerned about having more control of the video interface and the quality of the videos you post.

Vine and Instagram are totally different types of video sites. Both emphasize very short videos, and both are tailored to mobile users. Vine videos are limited to 6 seconds; Instagram videos, to 15 seconds. If your content is suitable for these channels, you should consider them. With the short format, there’s no room for fluff; these sites force you to produce tight, to‐the‐point video content. Some brands have been achieving good results with well-produced, punchy videos.

Twitter owns Vine, and as a result, it’s easy to embed Vine videos in your Twitter feed.