Remember that quiet, kind of unremarkable kid in high school, whom no one really noticed but suddenly grew up and conquered the world while everyone else was too busy trying to look good?
Well, YouTube.com is that superhero. And it’s all kind of happened so quickly.
YouTube is only five years old. Created in February of 2005 by three early employees of PayPal, YouTube spawned from a dinner party. They wanted to share video from the party but there was no easy way to do it…so they decided to created YouTube.
And they did a pretty good job. In November of 2006, Google purchased the company for $1.65 billion.
So why should you, as business owner or executive, care? Because there are a lot of eyeballs on that site and you can’t afford to ignore them.
Consider some of these impressive stats from Website Monitoring:
- In any give day, about 2 billion YouTube videos are viewed. That’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all 3 major U.S. broadcast networks combined.
- Twenty four hours of video are uploaded to YouTube very minute.
- The average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube.
- More video is uploaded to YouTube in just 60 days than all the content the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.
- 70% of YouTube’s traffic comes from outside the U.S.
It’s no surprise that 94 of Advertising Ages’ 100 top advertisers have run campaigns on YouTube and the Google Content Network. The proof is clearly in the pudding. The smart business people are either already on YouTube or sprinting towards it.
Here’s what you need to know:
A picture is worth a thousand words. But a video is worth a million. Think about it. If you see a print ad, it’s good. If you include a picture or a graphic, it’s somehow better. But if you add video, and if the video is truly interesting and informative, your pitch is so much more effective. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling blenders (checkout ‘Will It Blend‘ on YouTube) or just trying to find a tenant for your rental unit, people love video.
Zappos says they can boost sales conversions by as much as 30% using video product descriptions online. Shoppers feel more comfortable making the purchase when they can see and hear about the product. Take a look at Zappos’ YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/zappos
Especially the soft sell.
Unless your video is a worthy of SuperBowl’s Halftime, don’t mislead yourself into thinking everyone will share your enthusiasm for your masterpiece. Remember, people don’t want to be sold. But they do want to buy.
This means you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves, brainstorm a bit, test a lot, and try to create content people genuinely want to watch – especially if you want tons of views.
Just keep it simple. You don’t have to become a movie mogul overnight. But you do need to be genuine, compelling, useful and congruent with your brand.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing on YouTube. Don’t forget the titans in your industry. You can sponge best practices from those who do it well.
For example, Home Depot does a good job of using YouTube to host how-to videos on home improvement. Their channel reaches both current and potential customers. The tactic is to serve. And the purpose is to nurture first time purchases and repeat business: youtube.com/user/homedepot
Take a look a GirlScouts’ Youtube channel, too: They are doing a terrific job leveraging YouTube to extend their brand and boost cookie sales: youtube.com/user/girlscoutvideos
YouTube is free. You can create an account and get started within minutes without spending a dime. Moreover, with very little money, you can reach millions of users and compete with the big boys. All you need is business savvy.
“YouTube is a robust product for any business, big or small,” adds Jamie Grenney, Senior Director of Social Media for salesforce.com. “It’s the same platform for all, so you know it’s going to be good — small businesses are going to get the same benefits as large companies.”
Any simple video camera will work. I like the Flip (theflip.com) video cameras. They are cheap ($150) and amazingly easy to use.
I also recommend Kodak’s Zi8 HD camera because it has an external mic. We use the Azden WMS-PRO for the wireless mic. It works very well.
YouTube has enough online editing software to get you going. The cameras will come with their own editing software, too. We use iMovie to edit most things. However, I am so excited about the potential for video on our website, our Facebook page, our company’s intranet and other distribution channels, we will purchase Final Cut Pro ($999) so we have even more video editing tools available in-house.
Everywhere is good.
YouTube will host your videos at their site. You setup a YouTube Channel can customize the design accordingly.
YouTube also lets you share your videos across other platforms. For example, you can embed video on your company’s Facebook page, one your blog, in your website, on other people’s sites, etc. You can even promote your video using a service called YouTube Promoted Videos (ads.youtube.com/), where Google will extend your video’s reach and you pay only for actual views.
But don’t forget to use your video in other places. You can use YouTube video as an after sales tool to explain and demonstrate product setup. You can use YouTube inside your organization to train employees and to broadcast important company messages. You can even use YouTube videos in your employment ads to capture the interest of the perfect potential hire.
Don’t forget the details.
Many people make the mistake of uploading content and then focusing solely on distribution. YouTube gives you several tools to properly categorize your video for search engines.
For example, carefully choose a title for the video which matches the target keyword search string your audience might use. If your video is about cleaning computers, don’t name it ‘Video Tips from SuperGeeks’. Instead, go with something like ‘How to Clean Your Computer’ because people are more likely to search on ‘How to Clean Your Computer’ rather than the former.
Similarly, be sure to assign right meta tags to your video. This will help ensure your video is seen by the right people.
It’s OK to be crappy.
When it comes to technology and new things like social media, the need for perfection often gets in the way of getting going. That’s wrong. Don’t shy away from new things just because they may be difficult to understand. Instead, let yourself make mistakes. Jump into YouTube with a big splash. It’s OK if your videos are homespun. It’s OK if you’re not sure what to do next. Just get going. It will make a world of difference.
If you would like to learn more about how to use YouTube for business, please join our webinar: supergeeks.net/webinars
James Kerr is founder and Chief Geek at SuperGeeks. He can be reached at (808) 942-0773 and www.SuperGeeks.net. Twitter: supergeeks