With all the press and buzz about Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, one site not commonly known as a social networking site has emerged as just that. With recent social features (and new ones coming with regularity) YouTube is quickly positioning itself as the respected social site for small business. Read on and discover 5 reasons why it should be a part of your small business social marketing strategy.
No Videos Required
The thought of having an account at YouTube (and a channel) is scary for many, even intimidating. Good news, you don’t have to produce your own videos to have an active social experience on YouTube. Indeed you should eventually overcome your fears and publish videos so you can connect with your market, but you don’t have to start there.
A few things that you can do without producing video content of your own:
- Commenting (on others videos, or channels)
- Sharing (more on that later)
- Creating playlists of your favorite YouTube videos
- Rate videos (1-5 stars)
- Favorite Videos (another playlist)
Haven’t set up an account on YouTube? It’s easy to set up a YouTube account here.
Share Valuable Content
For those who are familiar with the various sharing options found on many blogs and social networking sites, you’ll be glad to know that YouTube has this function as well. YouTube users can now share a video using one of the popular social networking sites (including Twitter), it also can be sent to one of your YouTube friends, or emailed.
YouTube also allows you to embed video content for a single video, a playlist, or a channel.
Social Activities Update Feeds
While not comprehensive as Facebook or other feed activity updates, with the release of realtime updates, YouTube seems to be trending in that direction. The fact that this feature has been introduced along with other recent enhancements, there may be other activities will be streamed out as well. Here is a screenshot of activities you can share:
Understand Your Video’s Effectiveness
One of the challenges with social media sites, is the difficulty in measuring the effectiveness of your social activity. Understanding how your market responds to your content can help small business video publishers provide relevant content to grow their business and increase sales. Besides getting feedback from video ratings and user comments, there’s Insight Statistics and Data.
- Insight: YouTube’s reporting function helps you understand views, viewer demographics, popularity, and community.
- Community: The community tab of Insight reports on how other YouTube users are interacting with your video contents in the form of rating, comments, and favoriting. Used properly, this information can drive future content you publish, making it more relevant and targeted.
- Hot Spots: The Hot Spots feature is available on a per video basis, and helps you understand the attention your video has at any point, compared to videos of similar length. Learn where you are loosing interest, and make appropriate adjustments in future videos.
No other social networking site provides this kind of data for free. Let’s hope they continue to build on these useful reporting features.
Active YouTube users generate interest in their profile (Channel) page, and this generates traffic to their website (supposing you are naturally peppering links in your channel and video descriptions).
Some Numbers: While Google remains the number one traffic generator for my site, traffic coming from YouTube users are joining my site for access a special report at 357% the rate of those coming straight from Google search, as the second highest conversion source (Twitter is #1).
What this tells me, is that having YouTube as a part of a social marketing strategy is not only valuable, but serves as a very important source of website traffic that converts (opts-in).
If you’ve ever seriously considered having an active YouTube account, but were concerned with all the time it takes to make videos, the newer YouTube social features of commenting, rating, favoriting, and sharing means you can get started right away without creating your own videos.
When you do start producing videos not only can you build rapport with your market by offering valuable information, but you can drive more qualified traffic to your site, while tracking the effectiveness of the videos with YouTube Insights.
Utilized in this way, YouTube should be an integral part of any small business social marketing strategy. Haven’t setup an account on YouTube? If you haven’t done so, you can sign up for YouTube here (and if you want some YouTube connections to get started, friend me, if you like).
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About the Author: With 15 years of consulting experience, Travis Campbell is helping clients make the most of their online presence through effective strategy and marketing automation solutions, he also operates the site www.MarketingProfessor.com
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great post! yes video is the future- actually i just found out that you tube is actually the #2 ranked search engine (and you know who owns you tube)- who’d of thought! thanks for sharing
Thanks for stopping by. Indeed, and the reporting that YouTube offers a great addition for producing great video content.
It has been a while since I’ve visited your site and now I’m about to head right over. Thanks for this post. I’ve used YouTube for client work, but never for my own small co efforts. Your post inspired me to look more at doing that.
I’m equally curious if you’ve seen small companies that are successfully combining new school and old school marketing approaches. Let’s call YouTube new and outbound calling or direct mail old. There’s no intended bias by me in calling one old or new. Just wanting to find people who are actually driving sales by using both. I hear of good traffic reports via Adwords or blogging with a free report, but what I then often hear is small biz owners saying they didn’t see many sales result from all the effort. At the end of the day, if we don’t showcase more results-driven technologies and concepts, they’ll fall away.
This post is really useful because it takes away the intimidation. Thanks for thinking outside the box and sharing that with us.
I have a YouTube account but I have to admit that I was unaware of the Insight Statistics and Data. Thanks for mentioning that here. Additionally, as social networking san diego pointed out . . . having content there can really help to increase the visibility of your site as your submissions there have a better chance of showing up on the first page or two of a search. Excellent post on the benefits of YouTube, Travis!
Thanks for stopping by. You aren’t alone, many are unaware of Insights stats and data, once videos start getting views it can be a great source of information. I expect more social integration for YouTube, and yes, it is a great source of traffic.
These are great points. I think YouTube is so often overlooked for it’s networking potential. People think “Well I don’t do video so YouTube doesn’t pertain to me”, but as you point out there is a myriad of networking to be done even if you don’t “do video”.
Thanks for the lecture on YouTube? Have you recorded it on YouTube too? 😉
I think Google has been leading the development with this tool and I understand the “viral” aspect of it, but I wonder why companies are not looking into the possibilities to get video features that are matching their graphical profile, logotype, etc.
@Matt yes, a lot of folks are glad to hear that they don’t have to publish videos to get started on YouTube…
@Martin not yet recorded this blog post, but might do just that 🙂 Not sure I fully understand your question re: ‘video features’, please explain.
It’s all about facetime. Want to be known for something? Get your face out there!
This is a great post. I never thought of YouTube for anything other than actual videos. I like the other options for using this social marketing tool! Thanks.
@Kris Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts.
Yes, many were excited to know they had a place to ‘host’ their videos, it is much more than that, now it it time to get excited about the social aspects of the site.
I have enjoyed your instructional videos and interviews on YouTube channel.
I meant that YouTube is a part of Google and its style. I am using a tool called Talk Fusion that is enable you to add your own logotype, frame the video clip with special templates and your graphical profile and color scheme, etc. I think you should take this in consideration when you are contemplating on how you want to build your brand awareness. Will you become a small part in big conglomerate or do you want to stick out in the crowd?
Small Business Trends Radio had an interesting interview (Increase Sales Through The Power Of Video) with Derrick M. Guest, CEO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Service, Inc. on January 15, 2008.
Amen, Travis! Few people understand that YouTube is about more than just a place to go to get free video hosting. It’s about lead generation, search engine optimization — and you got it: SOCIAL NETWORKING.
Even if you are not currently producing your own video content, you want to set up your channel and start getting it optimized…This is going to allow you to begin building a reputation and creating a foundation for attracting new potential customers or prospects in your niche.
As Travis points out, even just interacting with and aggregating OTHER people’s content can get you traffic back to your own main site.
I encourage everyone — whether they are producing video content yet or not — to get over to YouTube, set up a channel, and begin socializing with others in your niche (a.k.a. the start to optimizing your channel). And then who knows, maybe one day post a video, too. (Go on — you can do it!)
Another important thing to remember is that the socialization factors on YouTube count a great deal toward one’s channel “page rank” (I refer to it as a “profile authority”), which can ultimately help your videos rank better in both the YouTube search index, as well as in the Google Universal Search (GUS) results.
Again, excellent post, Travis!
P.S. Insight rocks, doesn’t it!?
Wow, that was quite a comment! I agree, starting small is key, build confidence as you get familiar with it, expanding your use as you understand how the site works.
You went into more detail in that comment than I could fit in the post, thanks for your well stated and timely encouragement.
I have the same sentiments about the fear of getting into this activity because I don’t have any idea how to produce my own video. But with this article Travis, you lifted up my entrepreneurial spirit to grab youtube’s popularity as part of my social marketing strategy.
Indeed, Youtube is a great way to market your business as to Social Media. Franchises continue to do very well via Social media advertising and it’s always getting better.
Ah, hadn’t heard of Talk Fusion, thanks for the tip, I will check into that one.
I understand your concerns. What I’ve been finding, is in using YouTube you see the benefit of what it can bring your business… This realization motivates you to more action, like creating videos. Learning is part of the game, so in creating videos you might find yourself uncomfortable to start, but you never have to start again. Some find it easier to start with dong screen captures, and then move to full motion. I still do screen captures (if you’ve seen my channel) mostly every week.
Great overview of YouTube. The features you talked about here were all new to me. I thought using YouTube was just a matter of posting videos. I had no idea that there were all these underlying ways to use it socially. Gonna go to YouTube now and see what I’ve been missing.
Glad you discovered reasons to rethink YouTube. It is interesting to see Google step into social media through the ‘back door’ per se of YouTube (not mentioning Orkut which is not as popular in north america). Be sure to say hello on my channel once you get there.
Great information, particularly the details on how you can engage in youtube without actually having to produce video content of your own. For businesses that do want to implement their own video content, Miles Technologies provides complete corporate video production services.
Travis, thanks for taking the time to lay this out in such great detail. Like most people I think, I felt YouTube was mainly of use if you created videos. Now I can see that I should have been taking a much broader view of things.
Yes Travis, I agree. Learning is always a part of it. My thirst for learning has never been quenched, or the question is, will it be quenched?
Anyway, will be trying YouTube. Thanks again! 😉
Would love your input on my earlier comment, but I also want to point out Lisa’s post on using video. I’m cross-posting because she points out excuses we use to keep us from doing video promotions and you point out ways to be using video platforms without it. BOTH of those are awesome strategies and the conversations taking place in both posts are helpful.
@TJ McCue, thanks for your input, and your questions. As it pertains to combining offline and online efforts with Video, unfortunately this serves as both a short an long-term solution. Once you get offline connections/prospects in to an online funnel you can feed them a steady diet of digital content, including videos.
One thing about sales whether offline or online, it is about timing, being in front of a prospect when they are ready to buy.
Thank you for the easy to read and understand article about You Tube. I learned how to make my You Tube experience a more productive one.
I love your article. I had not thought of You Tube as a social network. I’ll be trying out some of your suggestions.
I just started using Youtube to drive traffic to my main page…it is working pretty well, but these suggestions gave me some great ideas! Thanks!!
Excellent point about linking your other social marketing sites…I just started doing that and it is making a huge difference…looking forward to future posts!
@carter Great to hear. It is important to get started, and build from there. I like to test things, so measure at least one thing and see what you learn, then build from there.
@michelle Thanks for sharing. As you’ve learned, linking to a video is important, especially for Google Universal Search. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for the response. I’m with you — it is long term. The fact that universal search is changing the search game and that videos pop pretty high in the results makes it level the playing field further for small businesses. I love it. Now I just need to leverage it for my company and clients!
The No Videos Required section continues to spur my mind to all sorts of new ideas. Thanks again.
@TJ McCue Truly, it is hard to keep up with all the changes, sometimes thinking outside the box (no videos required) is necessary for ordinary people like me to get ahead 🙂
If you are interested, I recently incorporated a YouTube conversion traffic case study as a part of a product review. I was surprised with the results. Article is here:
Review of YouTube Secret Weapon Conversions Up 296%
Great post regarding YouTube’s importance. Thanks for sharing.
like many others I do have a YouTube account but I have to confess that I didn’t know that one can do so much by using it.thanks a lot!
This is great post! Youtube is not the only place to post videos but also to build social activities. This is something I provide for small local businesses to promote their products or services. I enjoyed reading your social marketing strategy. Thanks!
I could not agree more.
My team and I just had meeting this morning to discuss this. In fact we spend quite a bit of time researching videos to share with our clients as a teaching tool.
Thanks for raising this issues in the marketing community.
WOW! thank God i stopped by here. this is great. i am going to get to work now.i have been blogging for awhile but never ever used you tube but it stops mow.LOL!
Charles, thanks for taking time to give this feedback. YouTube continues to introduce new features and functions as a result of Google’s emphasis on making the site profitable. A great site for marketers to get involved in, and get traffic.
I’m interested in your thoughts about the quality of the videos one produces or chooses to have produced to promote their website or business?
I’m inclined to agree with the idea that some video is better than no video at all, but only to a point. It seems to me to come down to knowing your customer. If you are in a high end professional industry you may not be serving yourself or your business by shooting videos of yourself with your web cam and posting them to You Tube. The poor quality of the video in this case could damage your reputation and overall ethos with the viewer. Although here you could argue that content is king and if you really have great information to share a shoddy presentation will be overlooked.
Enough of my thoughts, please tell me what you have found as far as best practices for video production on websites.
For folks who are getting video up for the sake of video, are likely primarily interested in the ‘links’ and SEO benefits they believe they will get for their efforts.
Those who realize we are in a social world, will indeed put value on the quality of the content and presentation of the video. I think there is convergence in the video marketing marketplace, and publishers are being rewarded (socially, and SEO traffic) for quality in the content and presentation.
Thanks for chiming in.
PS: I have invested in video trailer components to increase the quality, and will continue to do so.
what do you suggest is the easiest (cheapest) way to convert .swf ‘videos’ (flash) to something that is accepted by youtube? I have played with some free online versions, but the quality seems to not be so good.
I was very easy (and almost free) to create a short flash video with the help of Wilform Flair (free trial) and istockphoto.com (flash scenes). Should I trust a professional to convert the .swf? Do you have any suggestions when it comes to youtube and flash animations?
Unfortunately I don’t have an easy answer for you. You might consider playing the flash file while recording it with your screen capture software. From there you can render using the options your software provides.
I’ve used this approach (using Camtasia) when I’ve run into this, and it worked fairly well.
Wow, what a great idea. Thank you so very much, Travis, I will try that (I have demo builder for screen captures). Thanks again!!!
Glad you found it helpful. Now if I could just get back to this post more often to respond to questions! 🙂
Just what I was looking for.
I said last (2010) March that I would post on YouTube 100 readings from my book Your Life and Sex Island. Barely made it; last one 12-23-10. Now I am looking for other ways to tie in and promote. Your article fit right in.
Like most humans, I had no idea how to make a video. But I learned. They, the postings, got better as the year progressed – I think so anyway. I bought Adobe Premier Elements 8. Like most new programs it was very frustrating at first but I came to love it. If you are only going to do a few – five or ten – videos, have a pro edit them, otherwise learn to do it yourself. My opinion.
Again, thanks for the info in your post.
Now it is a good time to get some footage shot and uploaded on YouTube to promote my company’s services.
Travis, these reminders about utilizing YouTube in your marketing strategy never get old…especially since Cisco made the bold prediction that within 3 years 90% of web traffic will be video traffic.
Thanks for sharing, it is absolutely cool! I have YouTube account and I never upload any videos to my channel. Now I learnt..