When you think “social media marketing” what are the first platforms that come to mind? Doubtlessly Facebook and Twitter – the standbys. But, what about YouTube? It’s a novel thought, I know, but YouTube is much more than a place for watching that sitcom episode you missed or listening to the latest tunes on the Hit Parade. It is a viable social media outlet and can be very valuable to the small business…if you learn how to make the most of it.
Here are some tips to help you do just that….
1. Do Your Homework
Remember the old adage about “testing the water” before plunging in? That’s a very good idea when it comes to YouTube marketing: do some research. Depending on the topic of your video, some keyword research could be very helpful. By finding out who is actually searching for terms that apply to your product/service, you’ll get to see the size of your potential audience, the level of demand that’s out there, and how many competitors you’ll have to face.
Also (and where else will you hear this advice?) watch YouTube videos. Find out what’s hot and what’s not in the YouTube advertising world. Seek out the good ideas that have worked for other people, and let your creativity take off from there.
2. Find Your Spot
After you’ve gotten a good idea of your prospective audience and of what will and won’t work in the YouTube world, then evaluate your own situation. What is special or unique about your company? Are you an expert (or an innovator) in your field? In other words, come up with something interesting, something intriguing, something that will be appealing and entertaining to your viewers.
3. Create Solution-Driven Videos
In addition to being entertaining, your videos should also be driven by a “solution” to the problems they present. For example, if your company has invented a new type of thermos bottle that keeps cold drinks colder and hot drinks hotter for longer, then portray the problems of ordinary thermoses (cold coffee, lukewarm water, etc.) and present your product as the solution. Potential audiences become actual viewers because of your creativity, and viewers become customers when you offer solutions to their problems.
4. Create Short Videos
Viewers’ attention spans for advertisements are notoriously short. (Case in point: How many times have you “paused” your DVR, just to fast-forward through commercials?) So, create a video that is entertaining and conveys your message without being overly lengthy. Less than three minutes is a good general rule. However, if your video is on the longer side, you might consider dividing it into two or three shorter segments. This way, each video can convey a specific statement, and you may reach a wider audience.
5. Free Stuff!
This is an excellent way to build your customer base: give away free stuff and tell people through your videos. Free trials, free samples, etc. etc. – those four little letters always help to create buzz around a product or service. And, chances are, the people who take you up on your offer will come back…and possibly bring some friends.
6. Purchase YouTube Ads
You know those ads and “promoted videos” that pop up when you do a YouTube search? It’s time that you were one of them. You don’t need to sink a lot of money into this. (The ads go for 50 cents a click). But, they can increase (sometimes greatly) the number of people who view your video. Just be sure, of course, that the content of your video is relevant to the search terms people will be using. Your video will be ranked according to that relevance, and it’s much better for you if it’s higher on the list.
7. Watch Your Return on Investment
If you choose to buy ad space on YouTube, keep track of your numbers – of the number of customers you’re getting, of the number of sales your making, of the amount of money you’re taking in versus your expenditure. In other words: keep a good “business” head on your shoulders. If your return on investment is not as high as it should be (or if you’re losing money) then it’s time to regroup and rethink.
8. YouTube Focus Groups
Okay…so…it’s pretty much impossible for you to call up a cross-section of the people who viewed your video, sit them down together in a room, and discuss the pros and cons of your endeavor. But, take heart! There are several other successful ways you can go about this.
Allow comments to be made on your video and read them. Of course, you’ll get content of all kinds – from the flattering to the obscene – but some people will likely have very good suggestions for you. Listen to them.
Check out the YouTube Hot Spots service. It allows you to see when people are viewing and/or stopping your video.
Conduct some old-fashioned A/B testing. That is, upload two versions of your video – Version A and Version B – and see which one gets the most attention. Then, take down the less popular video and focus on the other.
9. Use YouTube Live Streaming
You can broadcast live using the Google+ back door (Hangouts) to YouTube broadcasting. YouTube reports about 3 billion hours of video streamed per day and you can be sure that a large portion of your audience is on YouTube. Wouldn’t you like a piece of that for your business?
Live YouTube streaming is not just available on a computer. Most modern smartphones can watch a YouTube live stream and smart television sets are coming with that capacity also.
10. Don’t expect Your Video to Go Viral
Hey, it happens sometimes…but not terribly often. It might happen to you…but don’t set your hopes to high. Remember: you might have one million people who have viewed your video and only have 120 customers. Or, you might have 175 people who have viewed your video and 175 customers. The number of views itself is not always important. What is important is that you’re reaching the right viewers. Keep this in mind while you’re playing the post-upload waiting game. It will really boost your morale.
These are just some preliminary ideas for successful YouTube marketing, but they are good strategies to get you started. You, of course, need to find the things that work best for your company. Start here, and see where the world of YouTube marketing will take you.