Harness the Value of YouTube to Promote Your Small Business

Monday, July 1st, 2013
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Any robust marketing strategy these days is likely to include a YouTube component. Harnessing the power and reach of YouTube allows you to increase your online visibility, promote trust in your brand, and can be an important way to reach out to new customers. Part of YouTube’s power lies in the fact that it is not simply a storehouse for videos — it is also the second most popular search engine, after parent company Google. This means people often go to straight to YouTube when they are searching a topic, and if your YouTube channel isn’t optimized (or you don’t have one), your business is missing an important opportunity to connect with eager viewers who are foregoing Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.

Think video marketing is out of your reach? Consider the following if you are questioning whether YouTube needs to be part of your strategy: Betty Given, retired math professor and self-made internet cooking guru, took a low-tech approach to creating her online following. She began her YouTube channel, Betty’s Kitchen, with a few simple “how to” videos. She now has 73, 599 subscribers and an impressive 27,707, 144 views. In an interview, Givens remarks that “there has never been a time in history when an average person can so easily become a phenomenon,” a fact that she handily attributes to YouTube.

With some planning, YouTube success is within reach for your business as well. Below, we take a look at some of the best strategies out there to help you get the most out of your YouTube content. While we’re at it, we’ll discuss some businesses and organizations that employ these tips with aplomb.

1. Purchase Ads:

While it would be nice if you could simply post a video on YouTube and have it go viral, the chances of that are very slim, unless you have a very special/talented pet. Instead, consider purchasing keyword rich ads to get the word out there about your YouTube content with Google AdWords for video. Prices for this service are typically less than they are for AdWords outside of YouTube, making it a smart investment. Once you have an AdWords account, the Placement Tool is a convenient way to find spots that are relevant to your ad based on keywords.

Quick Study: Embarq (now CenturyLink) began life as the Brown Telephone Company in 1899. Despite its long history, the brand struggled to compete with larger, national telecommunication firms. Their strategy relied heavily on advertising via YouTube. In addition to developing a brand channel, the company also included targeted display ads into its plan, resulting in greater visibility and brand loyalty.

2. Provide Viewers with a Call to Action

Being successful in online video means not only that people are viewing your videos, but are also engaging in some community building with you. Some of the best ways to do this are to include specific calls to action along with all of your videos. Want people to share a post on Facebook? Or to subscribe to your video channel? If yes, then you have to ask them to do it. Some other great examples of calls to action that work include:

• Prompting viewers to watch a related video.
• Posing a question in your video or video description and then asking viewers to comment in the comments field.
• Providing a link to allow users to register for an event associated with your business/organization.
• Requesting that people “like” your post or channel on Facebook.
• Asking for feedback on a specific video to make for a better experience: “Was this video easy for you to follow? Why or why not? Let us know in the field below!”

Quick Study: The organization Teach for America does an admirable job of weaving calls to action throughout their video content. For example, at the end of each TFA video description, the organization invites viewers to “Join the Conversation,” providing links back to both the TFA homepage and the job application page on their site. Another useful tactic occurs at the end of each video, when the screen tiles to present a host of other, related videos for viewers to sample. (In this last example, the CTA is “watch more videos.”)

3. Integrate YouTube and Other Social Media Sites:

YouTube is not an island, or at least it shouldn’t be. Your video marketing efforts will be rewarded if you capitalize on the success you have with other forms of social media as well. Here are some ways to do this:

• If you have a dedicated blog following, make sure that you post your video on your blog as well, with a link back to your YouTube channel.
• Posting videos on Facebook allows you to convert followers there to YouTube subscribers. (This also can increase your EdgeRank.)
• Join StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery program and have your content show up in all sorts of relevant places.

Quick Study: President Obama’s Organizing for Action group seamlessly integrates social media into their YouTube channel and vice-versa. From the organization’s YouTube channel, viewers can click a simple “I’m in Button,” to be taken back to the group’s homepage. A brightly colored Twitter button links back to their Twitter page, where you can sign in and become a follower. The group’s Facebook page consistently posts videos that also appear on their YouTube channel. We can’t guarantee that you’ll win the election, but this approach should ensure that you effectively combine your strengths across all of your social media efforts.

4. Diversify your Videos:

Innovative marketers can have a lot of fun diversifying their video content while upping their viewership. (It’s a win-win.) Your viewers will appreciate a variety of videos, and will likely get bored and click away if you only offer them the same old client testimonial videos over and over again. A better strategy (and one that will help you attract more viewers through search) is to vary your approach. Consider mixing things up with a combination of How to Videos, client testimonials, conference presentations, press clips, vlogs, and workplace interviews, as a start.

Quick Study: Mod Cloth, the online clothing company known for its cult-like online following and savvy social media skills, diversifies their video content to powerful effect. The brand includes interviews with the company’s founders, DIY beauty and styling How To’s (like “How to Tie a Pashmina”) as well as special behind the scenes footage of photo shoots and other glamorous happenings. Their YouTube channel extends their brand message — that ModCloth is a community of fashion lovers — through the plethora of different types of videos they choose, allowing viewers into the behind the scenes of the company.

The Takeaway:

Getting started with video marketing can be daunting, but with some planning and some creativity, you are sure to make a go of it. Fortunately, there are many great YouTube resources out there that treat the topic of video marketing comprehensively. One final tip before we leave off: Anyone who wants to learn how to master the art of video marketing needs to carve out some time to watch a lot of videos. So, sit back, relax, and let the talking animal videos begin!

Guest Post by: Britt Klontz of Distilled

Britt Klontz is digital marketer from Distilled, a creative online marketing company. She particularly fancies online PR and spends a lot of time studying the intersection between traditional campaigns and new media marketing tactics. You can give her at shout by tweeting her @Britt_Klontz or circling her on G+.