YouTube is one of the hidden gems in online marketing. It is a terrific way for small business owners to compete with the big brands. But creating effective (as in watchable) content and then promoting it can be intimidating.
Of particular interest to business owners who are wondering if the time creating and marketing with video is worth it is the YouTube Partner Program, created in 2007. It now has more than a million creators earning money from their videos. Thousands of channels are making six figures a year.
I grabbed a few statistics from YouTube directly to give you an idea of the opportunity there:
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube, almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year.
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
- 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S.
- Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time.
The following 30+ ways to use YouTube effectively can help you make the leap into video marketing and harness it for your small business.
Tips & Resources to Use YouTube Effectively
1) One of my favorite training spots is Lynda.com where expert instructors teach on a wide range of topics of interest to small business owners. It is a membership-based site, but worth it if you need to take yourself up a steep learning curve. Here’s the full Lynda site based on a search for YouTube courses with 4 courses made up of 109 tutorials.
2) If you don’t know where to begin, The Small Business Guide to YouTube is a good place to get started. Clicking on the “No” answers will give you links to informative content to answer your YouTube questions.
3) Using YouTube for Your Business provides you with an overview of ways you can use YouTube to improve your business.
4) Similarly, How to Use YouTube for Effective Marketing gives you ideas for using YouTube to market your business.
TIP: Keep your videos short to keep them effective. Write a script and practice, then video it. Then watch it yourself and show it to peers.
5) Ways to Incorporate Video into Your Business helps you find new platforms for adding video to your content.
6) This list of 34 Ways To Use YouTube For Business from Gigaom is from 2009, but still loads of great ideas.
TIP: If you don’t feel up to making a full video, use slides from your presentations and combine them with music and perhaps some recorded commentary.
7) Check out 4 Innovative Ways to Use Web Video for Small Businesses for some easy ideas to engage your customers in videos you can produce with little to no cost.
TIP: Run a contest that offers your customers a prize for submitting and showing how they use your product or service, in a video, of course. You load the winning entry to YouTube. Get proper permissions/releases as part of your contest.
8) YouTube Channel Setup explains how to get started by setting up a customized YouTube channel where you can publish your videos.
TIP: Don’t get confused by the term “channel” – this is simply like having a page on Facebook or a profile on Pinterest. A YouTube channel is how you customize your presence on YouTube.
9) This infographic found at Digital Sherpa points out the major building blocks for creating good video content.
10) Before you start recording, you should view this Video Marketing Slideshow, which gives you an outline of how to create successful videos that will be seen by others.
11) Keep your video looking as professional as your business with these 5 Tips to Making Professional Looking Video.
TIP: Pay attention to the audio portion of your video creation. It is easy to record a segment outdoors, for instance, and have a ton of light wind overtake your voice. Test with some short duration recordings and listen to the results.
12) You should also check out Ten Tips for a GREAT Corporate Video. This video offers basic tips to help keep your audience interested in your visual content.
13) The DIY Marketers Guide to Marketing with Video gives you a list of some tools you can use to create successful videos.
TIP: Some of the best editing tools that I’ve found are here on Small Business Trends: 8 Useful and Easy Video Editing Tools. Pinnacle and Adobe Premiere Elements are my two favs.
14) If you are looking for stock videos to enhance your business video, you can find low-cost, royalty free ones at Videohive. Or if you want video, image, sound, illustration and special effects, you can find them all at pond5.
15) You can also find low-cost, royalty free videos at iStock, but you have to purchase credit packs to buy these.
TIP: My advice is to use stock content to supplement what you’re doing – not to be your entire video. Use sparingly.
16) Flixpress helps you to create professional intros to your videos online from templates. This service offers different plans ranging from free to a monthly fee for heavy users. The templates are priced based on their content (i.e. those containing people cost more), but there are several free basic templates.
NOTE: I like this service – it is similar to stock video and photo services, except you can customize it.
17) If you would prefer to do a screencast instead of filming a video, 5 Free Tools for Creating a Screencast suggests great tools for making video content from your computer screenshots.
TIP: I’m a huge fan of screencasts, especially if you are educating users on how to use your software or service. Even though you are walking a user/viewer through the steps of using something, make sure you script it out first. Keep it short, under two minutes.
18) Look at How to Utilize Videoblogging for Business to learn about a more visual way of blogging for your business.
19) 10 YouTube Tips for Small Businesses provides you with good information on presenting your business at its best by suggesting ways to polish your content and channel.
TIP: Do not leave the standard video camera file name that looks like this: 04012014_0345abdc. Always name your video file with key terms or company name because search engines will notice these words/terms and sometimes the file title shows in a search result. Give yourself every chance to be noticed, just don’t go overboard.
21) Ways to Make Your Videos Viral gives you great insight into what makes customers share your video with their friends.
22) At the same time, you can keep your expectations real by avoiding these 5 YouTube Marketing Mistakes.
TIP: YouTube is part of the social media phenomena – people want to be entertained and they want to share things that are funny, heartwarming, exciting, so don’t just stick to a traditional commercial format. Not everything has to be a hard sales pitch. If you haven’t seen Will It Blend or even the recently viral “World’s Toughest Job” video, you have to look at how others are combining fun with marketing messages.
23) An important part of using YouTube or any social marketing is to look at it from a long-term perspective. 4 Tips for Marketing Your Business on YouTube will give you things to think about when developing your YouTube marketing strategy.
24) Learn how other small businesses were able to make YouTube work for them by checking out these 3 YouTube Success Stories that I wrote for American Express OPEN Forum.
TIP: Watch some of the most popular videos done by your competitors and peers. I always look to see how many views a video has – some YouTubers block this info, but you can often still see those stats if you click the link that states how many videos that channel has on it. In that gallery view, you can usually see the video views count for each video. Sort on popular, then watch and learn what others are doing to drive that success.
25) YouTube has its own Keyword Tool to help you find keywords for your video content.
TIP: This is a great way to take a step toward helping the YouTube search engine (and by extension Google) find your video content and is related to my later tip on naming your video file with keywords in it.
27) You can learn 5 Ways to Promote Your YouTube Video so you develop an audience and grow it.
28) Watch this YouTube Analytics Tutorial to see how to use YouTube analytics to find out if your videos are working for you. This is a great tool to find help identify what you may want to change or tweak about your YouTube video strategy.
29) Pixibility Inc. offers an entire YouTube channel devoted to YouTube marketing. They are advertising their YouTube marketing software but have many videos with helpful tips posted. I reviewed the service here on Small Business Trends.
30) Even if you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into using YouTube to post videos for your business, you can still follow channels that contain content specifically for helping small businesses, such as the U. S. Small Business Administration Channel. This channel is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date with government information for small businesses.
TIP: If you use YouTube for educating yourself on different topics, you can save those videos into playlists or subscriptions – and make those available to your customers and prospects as content that you have found useful. I would do this if I wasn’t yet willing or ready to create my own videos, but wanted to participate in the YouTube platform.
31) No one has to attend the university to get great advice from the Harvard Business Review. This channel is filled with the latest videos on everything business.
TIP: You can use these other educational channels to come up with ideas for your own videos. Many times, when I watch a video I think of ways I can use that information – those ideas can easily be used to jumpstart my own video. “While I was watching this video on marketing from the Harvard Business Review, I thought of….”
32) Yes, the Google Business Channel focuses on using Google products to increase your business, but most of it can be done at little or no cost.
33) Create a video transcript by following Jan Bear’s post from her Market Your Book blog. You can also find the same explanations within YouTube’s support section. The transcript can help you get found in search engines, an added bonus for the effort.
TIP: Transcripts make your content easier for search engines to index. In addition, you can add in additional messages and ideas you may not have had time for in the video itself. Don’t go hogwild on the hard sales pitch, but there is room in the description section for a variety of content, including links – just keep the full URL in that area as it won’t hyperlink unless you have the http:// in front of the www.
34) Don’t forget that you can upload/embed your YouTube videos on your Facebook page. I recommend you simply click the Share button just below the YouTube video you are watching and click the Facebook icon. It opens your Facebook page status update if you are logged in. Add your comment and post.
TIP: I wouldn’t share only my own videos, but ones that my customers or allies have done, too. Again, YouTube is a social platform, use it to help yourself, but to help others, too.
35) Last tip: Always create a call to action at the end of your video. Splice in a slide that lists your website. The best post that I’ve seen on this comes from my friend Jay Baer on his Convince and Convert blog (compelling blog name, huh?), 4 Ways to Include Calls to Action on Video.