There’s no denying that social media has quickly become an important part of any business’ marketing strategy. However, being a relatively new tactic — and one that changes almost constantly, at that — many business owners are struggling to find the best ways to leverage their online presence into sales and positive customer sentiment.
Which social media outlet is “the best” really depends on who you are trying to reach and what you’re trying to accomplish, since sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and others serve different purposes and attract different audiences. However, there is one site that almost everyone agrees should be part of a social media marketing plan: YouTube.
Many business owners scoff when advised to market on YouTube, as popular perception is that the site is a repository for poor quality videos of cats and teenagers playing pranks on each other. While there is certainly a lot of that on the site (after all, about two days’ worth of video is uploaded to the site every minute, so it’s not all going to be good) there are also plenty of high-quality, well-produced, useful videos to be found. And not all of those videos are just online advertisements, either. While a small-business owner might be tempted to just place the same advertisement that they would use on television on a YouTube channel and call it good, that’s not going to garner the desired effect.
Effectively using YouTube as a marketing strategy requires treating it as a source of content, much like a blog or newsletter. That doesn’t mean you should break out your smartphone camera and start posting all sorts of random videos, though. Like everything else, your video content needs to be strategic, reflect your brand, and give your audience a reason to act.
But What Would I Put on YouTube?
One of the biggest obstacles for many marketers when it comes to YouTube is the question of what to post. That’s why so many just put up their advertisements. The problem is, most people don’t really like ads, and do everything they can to skip them.
So what should you post? The best YouTube videos are the ones that establish your authority within your industry. This translates to instructional videos, videos that offer troubleshooting assistance, videos that show new ideas for using your product or your product in action – in other words, content that’s a lot like that on your blog, only in video form. You might also shoot interviews with people on your team or other experts to help build your brand, or demonstrate a process or unique feature that viewers wouldn’t otherwise see. Think about what your audience wants, how they are using your services, and give that to them.
Focus on Quality
Think about the videos you watch on YouTube. What makes you click away and find something else? Assuming the content is relevant, poor quality drives people away. Bad lighting and sound, poor camera work, and uninspired scripts and delivery can all detract from a message.
If you don’t have the skills or equipment to produce high-quality video, a professional production company like Diamond View Studios can help you develop and produce a video that avoids some of the common pitfalls. You don’t have to break the bank to produce a slick, Hollywood-quality video on how to clean air ducts or demonstrate product features, but spending a little more for assistance can make the difference between people watching your video and clicking away.
Test Your Videos
While you might not have the resources (time and money) to run your videos past focus groups or other testers, it’s always good to get a second (and third and fourth) opinion before you post them. Ask a few trusted customers for their feedback and adjust as necessary.
Perhaps more importantly, you should consider every initial posting to be a test run, and watch the analytics (YouTube provides them free) of your video to see what needs to be adjusted. Are people clicking away at the same spot every time? What’s happening at that spot? What feedback and comments are you receiving? What results are you seeing from the video? All of these factors can help you make adjustments to maximize your video investment. If possible, consider running an A/B split test of your videos to compare results and fine-tune your campaign. In short, don’t stop trying to improve, and don’t leave your campaign to chance.
Including YouTube in your social media marketing campaign is important, but you have to do it right. Focus on creating well-produced, useful content and pay attention to what’s working — and leave your advertisements where they belong, on television.