YouTube is the world’s most popular video sharing site. YouTube allows anyone to upload and store video for free. Videos can be viewed by friends or to the public and viewers are welcome to leave comments. YouTube was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. YouTube is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine behind Google. Video is a very powerful tool for businesses of any size, but the user friendly, mass-market audience makes YouTube an excellent choice for small businesses. But like any business tool, it has to be used effectively to generate results.
1. Create a Branded YouTube Channel
This step is often skipped by small businesses. Your YouTube channel is basically your house for the videos you create and upload, the videos you have selected as favorites, and those that you have organized into a playlist. A customized channel gives you the opportunity to add and showcase your company’s branding with specific colors, information and links to your website and/or relevant social media pages. A channel also gives viewers an option to subscribe to your content with the click of a button. Plus, it helps them easily search for only your content.
2. Make Sure Your Content Fills a Relevant Need
If you are a steak house, create a video on how to cook steaks or sharpen knives. A great example of this is with the Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse. They have one location and have made numerous videos teaching people how to do a variety of useful things from how to properly use a knife sharpening steel to how to properly pan sear salmon. By doing this you create valuable information and interest in you and your company thus generating loyalty and trust.
3. Develop Videos that are Quick, Simple, Engaging, and Professional
Decent video cameras are no longer expensive, so you can make a professional video without breaking the bank. Pay attention to lighting the area, sound quality and shakiness of the camera. Your best bet is to use a tripod. It is important to plan an outline and a script prior to making your video. Much like writing a story, you will want to include a beginning, middle and end. Make sure your video has a purpose. Keep it simple and short. We recommend 2-4 minutes for a video.
4. Optimize Your Video
According to Wikipedia, “In April 2011, James Zern, a YouTube software engineer, revealed that 30 percent of videos accounted for 99 percent of views on the site.” YouTube claims that more than 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute, so the number of specific videos on the site is constantly changing. It is important you do everything you can to make your video easily found. Utilize tags and keywords, choose a thumbnail that is enticing so people will want to immediately click and watch your video. The title of your video might be a “how to” and include keywords related to the video and your business, again, making sure your video fills a relevant need. For example, the “How to Properly Use A Knife Sharpening Steel” video by PrimeCuts TV and the Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse has over 18,600 views. They used the following tags:
5. Consider Adding Subtitles
This can be particularly helpful for a “how to” video so that your viewers can easily take notes and follow along. Not to mention it is a huge asset for hearing impaired viewers. Demonstrate you care. Show you not only want to engage and entertain your viewers but also educate them.
6. Participate With Others on YouTube
Spend time looking around on YouTube and make “friends.” Visit the competition and see what they are doing well and not doing so well. Engage with others on YouTube and they will in turn engage with you and your brand, which helps spread your information.
7. Share Your Videos in Other Places
Share your videos on your website, blog, tweets and Facebook page. This is once again where your thumbnail, tags, title and keywords are important to further encourage interaction with your video and your brand. Videos are effective on Facebook landing pages welcoming people to your brand. Tweet the link of your newest video to your Twitter audience. Video blogs are becoming more and more popular. The possibilities are endless.
8. Call to Action
Always include your company’s website address in the video as you want to give the viewers additional reasons to engage with your brand. Other ideas for calls to action might include: offering a contest, discount coupons, or instructional guides. The Caminito Steakhouse might want to include something like, “Print out detailed written steps for how to properly use a sharpening steel and receive a free dessert at the Caminito Argentinean Steakhouse!” If you’re working on building your YouTube subscribers, your message might be “Subscribe to our YouTube channel and receive a free appetizer.”
YouTube offers free analytics tools that are simple to use, providing you with a quick snapshot look at the results of your video. The information is available with the Insights area. You can track the number of views, the demographics of the viewers, and also how people found your video. Again, these are free to use so don’t miss out on accessing this valuable information when measuring the success of your video.
These are just nine effective ways companies can use YouTube for business. Do you have other ways you have found successful? If so, please list them below in the comment section to share with others.