(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – As well as being an entertaining place to spend free time, YouTube is increasingly becoming an invaluable tool in business. Free to use, fantastic for reaching a wide audience and highly compatible with other media, it offers a great deal of potential to marketers. The catch is that an awful lot of other businesses are using it too, and doing so effectively takes quite a bit of skill. This begins with understanding how to unlock its potential.
The rise of online video
Over the last four years, online video has experienced a boom in popularity, with study after study identifying it as one of the very best ways businesses can connect with customers. Next to a face-to-face meeting, it’s the best way to inspire trust and loyalty. It creates a sense of personal connection, and customers simply find it more exciting than the written word.
One of the longstanding problems with text-based online communication is that most people don’t read more than the first three lines of any given website or post before they form an opinion about it. That opinion may be that they want to read more, but too often it isn’t, because it takes really good writing – and a bit of luck – to forge that instant connection. Video is a completely different matter. It communicates more information more quickly, and it forges a much more powerful emotional connection. This can hook people while that all important sales message gets through, significantly increasing the rate of conversions.
How YouTube works in business
Like all forms of media, YouTube has one purpose when used in business, and that’s to drive potential customers to a location (online or off) where they might make a purchase. This can be done directly – by making a strong sales pitch – or indirectly, through attraction marketing, providing viewers with a useful service that makes them feel positive about the business. It can be done purely on YouTube itself, or it can also be embedded on the company website and potentially other sites.
With over 100 million video views daily and a wide demographic reach, YouTube has a lot of potential, but is a medium in which it’s all too easy to disappear. Avoiding that requires careful key wording of videos and, if possible, taking advantage of curation schemes. This means getting connected with people and sites that recommend YouTube content. While some people assume this can’t be done with a commercial product, in fact it’s quite easy as long as the video has some strong appeal, such as being funny, innovative or beautifully shot. Videos should also be branded to enable businesses to build up a following over time, and it’s a good idea to have a YouTube channel.
Developing video content
Although business owners obviously know their work better than anyone else, they are not necessarily the best people to talk about it, even when they have a background in other forms of marketing. There have been massively successful YouTube videos shot by amateurs with phone cameras, but a better guarantee of success comes from using good quality equipment or from hiring professionals. There are many small film companies happy to make YouTube adverts at very affordable rates, with varied packages that enable different levels of creative input from the businesses hiring them.
Case study: Fisher Investments
Fisher Investments YouTube videos are shown on their company’s own YouTube channel, helping to define its brand. Rather than simply posting adverts for its own services, this company regularly posts videos aimed at providing useful information to those working in the finance industry. These include educational videos explaining specific concepts in finance and careers videos useful to those exploring their options within the sector. For people already working in finance roles, there are videos addressing significant issues in the markets and aspects of the long-term investments outlook.
The value of these videos to Fisher Investments is twofold. First, they draw in people who are looking for useful resources. Secondly, they position the company as an authority in this area. This means that people looking for the financial services it offers will be impressed by it and think of it as a good company to choose, without the need for a direct sales pitch. It is showing, rather than telling, what it can do, and this tends to carry a lot more weight with potential customers.
There are many different ways to approach using YouTube, and the optimum choice will vary between businesses, but one thing is for sure: nobody can afford to be without this wonderful marketing tool.