By Les Robinson
We all know the power of YouTube to take videos viral, but you may not know that YouTube is also the second-largest search engine. With users searching YouTube to find videos of information on brands and products, companies need to consider having a presence there. With such a powerful platform at your disposal, you’ll want to consider making YouTube part of your marketing strategy. Here are three key reasons to get your business going on YouTube, and some helpful tips to keep the momentum once you’re there.
1) Humanize your business
YouTube provides the opportunity to tell the story about your company and the products you sell in a visual way. Viewers often get a better feel for products with visual demonstrations as an alternative to just text and pictures. And, by having these demonstrations given by knowledgeable people at your store who know your product, you are putting a personal face on your business. Whether your videos feature the folks at the front counter, the hard-working individuals tuning up equipment in the back, or the loyal customers who couldn’t imagine buying OPE anywhere else, YouTube provides you an avenue to show the world what makes your business stand out from the competition.
Be wary of “selling”: You need to earn the right to be heard. In most cases, this means using the video to “inform” rather than sell. If you “inform” well enough, people will want to buy from you.
Production value: People are using YouTube to “search” for facts about you, your business, or the products you sell. Your mission is to be the source of that information. Define what your standards are for your business and hold true to those. Not everyone has the budget to hire a professional video production crew, nor is that necessarily expected by viewers. You can still be effective with a self-produced video and can purchase a Flip Cam or similar gear for as little as $100. Remember that if you choose to shoot and produce the video yourself, it can be time consuming, so plan accordingly. Ultimately, the goal is something that will accurately portray your business without breaking your bank.
Video length: Regardless of what you’ve read, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long YouTube videos should be. A general rule of thumb is 3-4 minutes, but you can try different lengths and see what works best for you from a production standpoint and how the audience responds (a wealth of information can be found through YouTube Insight).
Playlists: Once you have a few videos shot, organize similar content on your page using YouTube Playlists. This makes it easier from a user’s perspective to find more videos around topics they’re interested in.
Good use of “Humanizing” the Ram brand through real people and real products.
2) Grow loyalty
When we speak about “social” platforms, we generally mean those which promote a “two-way” conversation between businesses and users. By creating a YouTube page that encourages comments, you humanize your company and let users know you’re social and approachable and want to share your company’s story. A two-way conversation with your visitors establishes a connection that will grow loyalty over time through continued interactions.
Monitor your page frequently: Once you start posting videos, people will have feedback, comments and questions. Be there to respond to these when it’s needed. Responding often sparks a two-way conversation and will let the audience know your page is an active one. You can set up e-mail alerts that let you know when someone comments on your video.
Refresh content: Users will subscribe to your page because they are interested in new content you post. By posting new videos regularly, you’ll keep the audience engaged. You don’t have to post every day, or even every week. Shoot for once a month to start, and see how the audience responds. Even if you have a large number of videos produced and ready to go, you may want to consider staggering making the videos “Public.” This is one way to have a consistent refreshing of the content on your page.
Users will share: YouTube makes it easy for users to share a video they like with friends. They can provide a link to your video in an e-mail, share with their social networks, embed the video on their website, or “favorite” it on their own page. In this way, they are acting as a referral service for your business.
Lead the way: People are making their own videos about you and your products anyway. So, why not lead the way? Establish yourself as a trusted, reliable expert on the products you sell. By doing this, customers will be familiar with you over competitors and trust the “voice” they’ve come to know online.
3) SEO benefits
Another reason for you to consider getting your business on YouTube has to do with search engine optimization (SEO). Videos are pulled into Google via Google Universal Search, so videos are another avenue for getting customers and/or prospects to find your content. Videos within search results are visually appealing and increase the chances of grabbing users’ attention, which can obviously provide a competitive advantage.
Optimize around search terms: Optimize your videos around the terms that people are searching for. Do this within your title, description and “tags.” Doing this also allows you to grab users early in the purchase funnel with information, how-to type content, product-centered videos, product comparisons, etc.
Another avenue to your business: As we noted earlier, YouTube is the world’s number two search engine…after Google. By having useful videos on YouTube, it provides another way for people to find your website via a link in the video’s description or your user profile. The path could look something like this: Google search > Your YouTube video > Your site. An example of a search leading to Stihl USA’s YouTube channel with a link to the company’s Web page can be seen below (see Steps 1-4).
Step 1: Search for “wind a Stihl trimmer head.”
Step 2: Results return a video from the Stihl USA YouTube channel.
Step 3: Clicking on those results takes the user to the Stihl USA YouTube channel.
Step 4: This is where the user can find a link to the Stihl USA website.
YouTube can provide a powerful voice for your organization and the products you sell. Information about those products is becoming more accessible than ever, and by having representation on YouTube, your business will be leveraging one of the most widely used social media platforms out there. Start small, grow gradually, but be consistent in refreshing the content with new videos and monitoring the page for interactions with users.
Les Robinson, a six-year veteran with social media, is the social media specialist for Stihl Inc.
Optimizing your channel on YouTube:
Troubleshooting upload issues:
Understanding YouTube Analytics “Insight”: