February YouTube Love
I’ve recently received a few emails from a couple online marketing guys warning against small businesses using YouTube. I have to say that I totally disagree with them. YouTube happens to be my main platform for the Amish Road Show, and I love it. I’m watching it on my TV right now!
YouTube has received a bad rap over time. I attribute it to all the cat videos, and other nonsense that users have upload over the years. It’s always been a playful and open community that accepts just about anything users upload, but that’s part what’s so revolutionary about it all. They have given average people the ability to be seen and heard by sharing content that speaks to them. Whatever you’re interests are, there is a video or channel for you. Don’t forget it’s also the third largest social network worldwide, and the second largest search engine.
So what can YouTube do for your business or brand?
YouTube is an excellent platform for you to reach out and connect with users. In a recent study the Global Web Index determined that YouTube was the third largest social network online. YouTube even beat out Twitter’s 288 million monthly active users to claim the #3 spot.
According to YouTube’s press statistics 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, with over 4 billion hours of video being consumed every month. That’s a lot of content consumption. In addition to the huge amount of creation and consumption, you should also consider certain SEO factors and the easy social sharing integration when deciding whether video content is right for you.
An SEO giant …
As far as SEO (search engine optimization), YouTube is a branch of Google who has had no problem prominently displaying videos in their search results. Google being the largest search engine in the world, and YouTube being the second largest, translates into more exposure for your company or brand. This was the focus of a recent FTC anti-trust investigation where some felt that it was unfair for Google to display YouTube results over other video services. Ultimately the FTC determined their was no harm and gave Google their blessing.
Always be sure to keep keyword best practices in mind when publishing your videos as it will help your search ranking in the long run. A personal example for me came one day last spring while visiting a small business in Bird in Hand, PA. It just so happened they inadvertently discovered the Amish Road Show by searching for a place in Smoketown, PA. Obviously Amish is a highly competitive keyword on Google, but Smoketown is not. I used Smoketown, PA in the description for one of my videos and it happened to show up at the top of the video results for their search. Keep in mind video results usually grab a small spot under the second result on Google’s main search page.
What about social?
The ease of sharing YouTube videos can’t be denied, particularly with the introduction of Google+ as an extension of Google’s services. Google+ is now the second largest social network online, and people on Google+ love to share YouTube videos. Even if you aren’t on Google+ yet I’m sure you have encountered YouTube videos on all of the other networks. YouTube works very hard to ensure their videos are easily accessible, display nicely regardless of the platform, and work across a broad range of devices. That doesn’t even take into consideration the ability to embed a YoutTube player on your own website.
Diversity of devices …
As devices become more integrated with televisions there has been the advent of YouTube becoming a key part of people’s living room experience. Sure I use my phone, and sometimes my PC, but the majority of the YouTube content we consume is by far on my living room television. I have friends over and we each take turns picking terms to search for, and watching the suggested videos at the end. This goes on for hours at a time. It’s acts as an avenue for serendipitous discovery of new content we otherwise wouldn’t have found by simply checking the guide on my cable box.
I have three devices plugged into my TV right now that can stream YouTube. I have my Xbox, my AppleTV, and my Nintendo Wii. That’s just my devices. A more complete list would include PCs, Smart Phones, Internet Enabled TVs, Roku boxes, Bluray Players, GoogleTV, Tablets, and who knows what else.
When I went to the beach this summer the family actually made fun of me because of it. The beach house had an internet enabled bluray player and all I wanted to watch was YouTube and Netflix. I don’t think I turned on the satellite once. Eventually the question was posed “don’t you ever just watch normal TV?” No, not really! Google knows this, and that’s part of the reason they initially put $100 million into the YouTube Original Channel Initiative to help YouTube partners improve their offerings.
I understand that using YouTube isn’t for everyone. Medium to large sized companies have branding issues, and approval processes to go through. Depending on your products and services you may even have high production expectations from your followers. Small businesses though … I can’t imagine what you’re waiting for.
You don’t need to be the next Steven Spielberg, but you don’t want to post cat videos either. There is a middle ground that is easily attainable. You can spend a fortune, or just a small investment in equipment and energy to make something that will potentially bring a good return. You can even make your videos very easily on many smartphones using the right applications and some patience. The bottom line is, there is no reason you shouldn’t be using the video medium to create content, speak to your customers, and reach potential customers RIGHT NOW!
Cut …that’s a wrap!
I’m gonna call this a wrap. There is a lot of information to digest here, and I haven’t even begun to talk YouTube. If you are interested in learning more about using YouTube please subscribe to the blog. I plan on going into a lot more detail in the future about using YouTube including tips about the platform, and tips and tricks to producing great video content. It’s gonna be awesome sharing my knowledge to help you utilize the potential of YouTube!