YouTube has been a cultural staple since its inception in 2005. Back then, YouTube was little more than a fun place to share interesting or funny videos; today, it has grown into an incredibly diverse place chock full of just about any type of information that you could possibly wish to find. A lot of businesses have jumped on the YouTube bandwagon, as well, many of which are finding it to be extremely helpful in building up their customer base and boosting their bottom line.
I know, I know – learning yet another new tool for the computer can be a little overwhelming, but take heart: YouTube is not complicated to use, and the benefits can pay off in spades. Here’s what you need to know to use YouTube to boost your bottom line, as well.
If you are complete YouTube novice, the first step to building your video empire is actually creating an account. YouTube is actually owned by Google, so you can use your Google account if you have one or sign up for a new one just like you would if you were getting an E-mail account. Easy so far, right?
One of the first decisions you will have to make is creating a username, so be sure to make your username a professional one that fits your company. At this point, you will have access to the videos on YouTube and other features, such as Watch History, Watch Later, and Subscribe. The next step is to create a channel on which you can post your own videos. Do so by clicking on “All My Channels,” then “Create a New Channel,” and finally entering all of the requested information.
Content: What Works . . .
Although YouTube videos by companies come in all shapes and sizes and there is no set formula for becoming a popular channel, there are a few things that we can garner by looking at the most viewed submissions. For one thing, they are all short and sweet. We are all operating on a limited time frame, and time is money.
Most people don’t want to watch anything much longer than three to five minutes, so keep your content condensed to this size. Additionally, your videos need to clearly state what they are all about as early as possible to grab your viewer’s attention. Remember that the purpose of your video is not for the entertainment of your audience; rather, you want to communicate some specific bit of information.
Make your communication specific, clear, and concise for best results. For instance, if I make custom furniture and want to teach my audience how to craft a dovetail joint, explain how to make a dovetail joint and nothing else. Don’t add information about installing hinges or finishing the wood – just stick to the task at hand and save the rest for another video.
Many YouTube posters create a fantastic clip and then make the mistake of leaving out their identification. If the point of creating your video is to increase profits, you must tell your audience how to reach you for more information or to make a purchase of a service or product featured therein.
You should also strive to create a video that is as professional looking as possible. Invest in a camera that shoots HD video (these are now very affordable), grab a tripod, and make sure that you speak clearly and are dressed appropriately while filming. Once the video is completed, take the time to edit it for time and substance, add a little background music, and you will be good to go.
. . . And What Doesn’t
For every fantastic informational video on YouTube, there are at least 100 really bad ones. A quick glance through these YouTube fails will provide you with a clear picture of some pitfalls to avoid. One common mistake that a lot of people make is beating the transition horse to death. It is as if they are saying, “Hey! Guess what, guys? I know how to insert transitions!” and then they insert so many that the viewer is left with a headache from seeing the shot turn into an origami bird and fly away about 10 times too many.
Transitions are great, but use them sparingly for your viewer’s sake. Along these same lines, if the background music is too loud or overpowering, it can really detract from what you are trying to say. As mentioned earlier, long and rambling videos also do not work in most circumstances, so try to be concise, even if it involves editing your video down beyond past what you would like to say. I’m sure a lot of college professors give useful information past the five minute mark, but as in our situation, the shorter the message, the more likely your audience will be to stick with you.
Another common mistake on YouTube is a lack of professionalism in an attempt to be funny or controversial. For the sake of your business, leave the comedy routine at home (unless you are running a comedy club, of course). All videos should be well-aligned with the reputation and image that you want your business to project. Like it or not, people will judge you unfavorably if you are too casual in your video appearances, so keep it professional at all times.
Once you have your short video that is properly branded, concise, and outfitted with the appropriate contact information, you are ready to put it out there for the world to see. This process is blissfully easy, for the most part, and it begins with you clicking the “Upload” button after signing into YouTube. Choose the video from your computer, set your privacy controls, choose a custom thumbnail for social media, and hit publish. That’s all there is to it.
Promoting Your YouTube Content
Having content posted is only half the battle. Now, you’ve got to get people to see it. One of the easiest ways to get started is by using the tools that YouTube itself provides. Make sure that your video is appropriate titled and has a concise description, and then add relevant keywords to make it easy for viewers to find. This is also a good time to put the word out on Twitter, Facebook, and your business webpage that new content is up.
Videos can and should be embedded in your blog, and you can even send out E-mails the old fashioned way to drum up support. The great thing about putting the work in at the beginning is that your fan base will grow if they like what they see. This can mean free advertising for you and a little less legwork on your part for other videos down the road.
YouTube is a great way to bring customers in, giving them something meaningful to sink their teeth into. Use it for how to videos, to highlight and review products, and even as a way to do a little cheap advertising. The major rule of thumb is to be a pro and keep things simple, because this type of content is what keeps the viewer coming back for more.