Could YouTube be the magic bullet for all of your marketing goals? In all honesty, you could develop your entire business marketing plan around YouTube. I’m not saying you should do that, but since YouTube is recognized as the second largest search engine, you might want to think twice before you decide to ignore it.
Is Video Right for Me?
Before you get swept up in the glitz and glamour of all that YouTube has to offer, take a step back and think about whether or not video could be a viable and profitable avenue for marketing yourself or your business. Some businesses are just not cut out for video, and that’s OK.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself, either. Even if you sell enema kits to nursing homes and you think there is no way you can make an interesting video about your product, don’t be so quick to dismiss video. There is always an emotional component you can tap into—humor, sentimentality, intrigue—you just have to find and develop it. Video marketing can take many forms, including how-to videos, customer stories, product demonstrations, ideas for how to use your product in new ways, tips and tricks, etc.
Do I Have The Resources To Create Video Content?
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create and post a video these days. Of course, you want the quality of your video to reflect your brand appropriately, so that means there are certain habits you should get into, like using a tripod, filming in a well-lit area, prioritizing clear audio, having no visual distractions in the background, and filming in landscape mode. You don’t need fancy equipment, though. Use your smartphone and a tripod and you’re off to a good start. Ideally you would want to have some sort of post-production video editing software or service to clean things up and add some branding, but that’s up to you. (Keep in mind that YouTube has a video editor of its own available for you to use.)
And even though YouTube is still the most popular video-sharing site, there are plenty of other video-hosting services out there. Personally, I like Vimeo, but that doesn’t have the same broad commercial appeal as YouTube, as it tends to attract more professionals and creatives. Do a little research and you will find the video-sharing site that is the best fit for your needs, your audience, and your marketing goals.
YouTube Best Practices
Despite its dominance and longevity, there are tips, tricks, and features of YouTube you may not even know exist that can boost the effectiveness of your account. Here are a few that can be helpful for a brand that chooses to do video marketing:
- YouTube Certification Program Did you know that YouTube offers a certification program? It does, and the program is available to companies and individuals who want to dig deep into how to best use the service to grow an audience. YouTube also offers a Creator Academy with different lessons and courses to help you maximize the value of your YouTube channel.
- YouTube Analytics What good is a marketing effort without the ability to track and analyze results? If you are using YouTube, make it a habit to periodically check your analytics to see what is working and what is not.
- YouTube Advertising There are multiple ways to advertise on YouTube. In-stream ads are those intro videos that viewers can skip after five seconds. (As an advertiser, your goal is to create something compelling enough that they won’t. You only pay if the viewer sticks around for 30 seconds or longer.)
In-search ads are the ones that show up at the top of search results. You can target potential customers by demographic, topic, and interests, among other things. If you are already using Google AdWords, YouTube advertising might be a natural next step for you to consider.
Here's the Beef: How Wendy's Uses YouTube
Wendy’s is a familiar, comforting presence in the world of fast food. Founder Dave Thomas left his mark on the company by creating an old-fashioned dining experience built on family values. Yet, as discussed below by Wendy's digital marketing professionals, the company is also embracing new advances in technology and marketing, including YouTube videos.
(For ideas on how you can use YouTube to channel (pun intended) your brand's personality, check out the example videos in the series of brand archetype posts.)
Embedding Video with YouTube
Whenever a website owner wants to add video to his site, I recommend he first upload it to a video-hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo for two reasons:
- These websites are optimized for video. In other words, it’s all they do. They can automatically detect the best version of your video to present to your audience for optimal quality and speed. If video is uploaded directly to your website, it can put a big strain on your web server resources and degrade the viewing quality for your visitors. Embedding it onto your site from YouTube or Vimeo skips these problems.
- These websites have a huge following. If you want your videos to be seen, having them on these platforms opens up the door for YouTube and Vimeo visitors who would not otherwise be exposed to your brand.
Video and You
Don’t be quick to write off YouTube as a possible marketing strategy for your business. Even though on the surface it may seem like a collection of cute cat videos (aww!), it is also a powerful method for spreading your brand’s message and increasing visibility and engagement with customers.