If you always thought YouTube was just to upload cute cat videos or funny human mishaps, then you may be missing an entire area of promotion that is cost effective and will help you reach an entirely new audience of potential customers.
One of the best reasons to use YouTube to market your business is that you can easily learn to make the videos yourself, which puts an effective promotional tool into your hands for free.
In a Fast Company article, technology writer Addy Dugdale offered some perspective on YouTube viewership numbers:
“YouTube has hit a milestone. One billion active users a month, it announced on its blog yesterday. That’s one in seven of us on the planet watching something on the Google video site every 28 days or so.”
What Are People Viewing?
Almost anyone with a video camera or some basic movie editing software can throw together an upload for YouTube. However, there is little point in creating the movie if no one will bother to view it. Before you create a YouTube video to promote your business, ask yourself what types of videos are trending on YouTube.
Fortunately, YouTube offers a useful tool for figuring out what’s popular called What’s Trending?
You can browse around this page and discover recent uploads, what people are viewing and even read through the discussion forums to find out which videos are creating a buzz.
One type of video that is always popular on YouTube is anything with a cat doing something cute or funny. If you can figure out a way to include a funny cat with your business marketing, then you’re certain to have a hit. Since that doesn’t fit the theme of most businesses, you’ll need to think outside the box.
Some examples of videos that went viral in the last year or two include:
Finnair Flight Dance
Takeoff to Bollywood! A Dance Crew surprises passengers after boarding of a Finnair flight to Delhi to celebrate India’s Republic Day on January 26th 2012.
Schools, businesses and groups released versions of the Harlem Shake and many went viral.
This cute brother duo went viral once, so they released a new video. Although this isn’t business related, it underlines the point that people love cute videos.
Your first step in creating a video to market your website is to figure out what is trending on YouTube and how you can use that trend to create a commercial or fun video that underlines the product or service you offer. For example, if you sell a hair product, you could create a funny commercial about how a woman’s hair looks after performing the Harlem Shake and how the product fixes her hair back to normal.
Funny or Informational?
Although a whimsical or funny video can easily go viral, don’t underestimate the value of sharing specialized information on YouTube in the form of a tutorial. There are numerous cheer gyms that offer videos on cheerleading routines or how to do stunt and find that they gain new customers from those in their area who view their videos.
A video lesson can be created for any topic you can think of. Keep in mind that the attention spans of Internet users can sometimes be short, as they may be hopping online during a commute on the train or during a lunch break. Keep the video to five minutes or less and you should hold the viewer’s attention.
5 Steps to Getting Your Video Online
1. Create the Video
This step may sound obvious, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you record your video. You may have to experiment a bit to get the recording just right.
- Make sure the lighting is good. No one wants to watch a video that is so dark that you can barely make out the shapes.
- Make sure anyone speaking talks loud and clear. Have you ever tried to listen to a video where the sound quality was lacking? Frustrating isn’t it?
- Practice speaking parts. Try to deliver your lines without saying “um” or “uh” throughout.
- Get feedback on the video before posting. Once your video is complete, have friends and family view it and offer feedback. They may spot things you didn’t and you want the video to be as perfect as possible before you release it online.
2. Create a YouTube Account
Even if you already have a personal account, it is best to create a separate YouTube account for your business. Since Google owns YouTube, consider setting up a Gmail account just for this purpose. You should also link your Google+ profile to your YouTube home page and cross-promote your videos on as many other social media platforms as possible.
Did you know that according to YouTube facts by Jeff Bullas:
“500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook [and] over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute.”
Be sure you completely fill in any profile information with your company information. Every person who views your video is a potential customer.
3. Upload Your Video and Describe It
Uploading your video to YouTube is a simple process that doesn’t require a lengthy explanation.
- Log into your account
- Click on the grey “Upload” button at the top of the page
- Browse to and choose your video
Now, this is where your marketing efforts kick in a bit more. In addition to simply uploading your video, you need to describe it in a way that will help it rank well in the search engines and will let viewers know about your business website.
Make sure you choose a title that contains the keywords you think people would likely search for that relate to the video and your business. Let’s go back to the example of the ad for the hair product. You wouldn’t want to just title it “Harlem Shake” but “Perfect Hair Even After Harlem Shake” or something along those lines. Use keyword search tools and trending to choose the best keyword title for your video.
Search Terms in Description
First and foremost, the description should explain exactly what your video is about. However, this is also a good place to work in a few of the search terms you believe people may be seeking. Make sure the wording has a natural flow. Don’t insert keywords just for the sake of using keywords.
URL in Description
Include your company website URL in the description of the video. This will allow the viewer to easily find the link and click on it should she want to visit your site for more information.
Go ahead and reuse those keywords/search terms again in the tags for the video.
Create an Image for Yourself on YouTube
When you create your business profile at YouTube, be sure to set up some channels and customize the look of your profile page. This is the page that viewers will see when they click on your name for more information. If you take the time to set up channels, you can control what comment goes where on the page.
This is particularly useful if you want to highlight one video over another, especially if it is not the latest video you’ve created.
- Add a custom background
- Set your profile pic to your logo
- Change the setting to “Player View” so you can choose a featured video that will begin as soon as the visitor lands on your page. Be sure to check the box to autoplay the featured video.
Making Your Video Go Viral
While you can’t force a video to go viral, there are some things you can do that will help it do better in the search engines. Keep in mind that the more people who view your video, the better it will rank in the search engines. With that in mind, be sure to:
- Tell everyone you know about the video, both in person and online.
- Ask others to share your video on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- As it makes sense, offer a link to the video in online forums and during discussions on social media. However, be careful that the video adds to the conversation, as you don’t want to spam people. That will drive customers away instead of helping you gain them.
- Make sure the video is under five minutes and gets right to the main point.
- Offer incentive to link back and share your video, but make sure it is ethical and you aren’t just trying to bribe them. For example, you could offer free membership or entry in a contest for each time they share your video link.
When it comes to marketing, there aren’t many things that are free. Creating a YouTube video should only cost you a little time and creativity. However, the potential for impact may be huge, especially if your video goes viral.
Image credit: One Hour Per Second and Hot Black.