YouTube is well-known for its funny cat videos or young “YouTubers" who are changing the world of television and earning money from their work. Less obvious is how valuable it is for small business owners to compete with big brands. This is partly because of myths that creating effective (meaning watchable) content is expensive and difficult and only for those with “screen talent." This post will offer tips on how to leverage YouTube to drive new customers, website traffic and brand awareness.
The reality is that simple, authentic video channels created by all types of business owners are flourishing. Here are a few statistics from YouTube to give you an idea of the marketing opportunity that it presents:
More than 1.5 billion unique users visit YouTube each month (May 2017) with one billion of them technically signed on as account holders.
YouTube, on mobile alone, reaches more people in this U.S. audience than any TV network.
93 percent of the Millennial generation go to YouTube to learn how to do something.
Over one billion hours of video are watched daily on YouTube.
1. You Don't Have To Be "In" The Video
First, as you get started: If you are intimidated by the idea of recording video of yourself, you don't have to be “in the video" to make a video. Using free tools, you can video capture your screen and create what is known as a screencast. This popular video format is often a tutorial about how something works or an explanation about how a product was made, but can be about anything with you providing audio-only commentary with video in the background.
2. Use Slides or Animoto to Create a Video
If you don't yet feel up to making a full video, use slides from an older sales presentation and combine them with background music and perhaps some recorded commentary. For those who may lack the computer software, the online video editor and platform Animoto has a plethora of tools designed for small business owners.
3. Set Up Your YouTube Channel Properly
Take a look at the YouTube Channel Setup video that explains how to get started by setting up a customized YouTube channel where you can publish your videos.
Don't get confused by the term “channel" – it is synonymous with having a “page" on Facebook or a profile on Pinterest. A YouTube channel is how you customize your presence on YouTube.
4. Review the Small Business YouTube Resource Checklist
The Small Business Guide to YouTube from Simply Business is a one of the best places to introduce you to YouTube for business. It offers a useful and interactive chart to help you zero in on challenges that most business owners face in getting started. Clicking on the “No" will then pop up a list of appropriate resources.
Keep your videos short to keep them effective. Many experts suggest starting out with 60 to 90 seconds as a goal. Write a script and practice, then video it. Then watch it yourself and show it to peers before publishing. Shorter videos often get more views, especially as you are building an audience.
5. Insert a Compelling Summary and URL in the Description Section
Most people load the summary/description area with copy they deem important. But they neglect to put the URL high enough in the description area and that means the viewer has to click Show More. Very few viewers will click without a compelling reason, but YouTube allows you to load the URL first. Since the first line of the description is often displayed, even on the limited screen of a mobile device, you will increase the likelihood of a click through to your website.
6. Leverage YouTube Playlists
As you grow your YouTube channel, consider saving videos (your own and others) into playlists or subscriptions — and make those available to your customers and prospects as content that you have found useful. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to participate on YouTube if you are not yet willing or ready to create your own videos.
7. Create a YouTube Video Transcript
Create a written transcript of your video and copy it into the video description. It can help you get found in search engines, an added bonus for the effort, even though Google claims that it can search within video itself for clues to what it contains.
With these tips on how to use YouTube, you will be up and running with a new marketing channel — one that will drive new customers conversations and brand recognition.