YouTube is the world’s biggest online video sharing site, offering millions of videos on an enormous range of topics. Whilst not a traditional marketing platform, businesses of all sizes can achieve significant success using focused videos to enhance brand awareness.
What is YouTube?
Launched in 2005, YouTube is an interactive video-sharing website that allows anyone to upload and promote their own video content. As of 2011 estimates, upwards of 35 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every single minute, and the site is considered the third most popular on the internet after Google and Facebook. YouTube is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, having been bought by the search engine in October 2006.
How can I use YouTube for business?
- As a multi-purpose video sharing site YouTube has a wide range of business uses.
- Upload ‘how to guides’ and instruction videos to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and build your company’s reputation
- Promoting your products using professional video content and presenting them in new and unique ways to appeal to new audiences
- Keep an eye on competitors and see how they are leveraging YouTube for marketing purposes
- Produce engaging and original video content as part of a viral marketing campaign to achieve significant ROI
- Engage regular YouTube community members by commenting on their videos and encouraging them to do the same
- Upload videos of presentations that have been given by you or that you’ve seen at industry events; this can help establish yourself as a key member of the community
Register an account
The first stage is to register a YouTube account. The basic YouTube account allows you to upload videos of 15 minutes length and 2GB size, although once you’ve established goodwill in the community you’ll be able to upload videos of unlimited length. If your videos become extremely popular you can apply to become a YouTube partner. This allows you to share the advertising revenue that is created when people view your videos, along with other benefits including higher quality videos.
Disadvantages of using YouTube
Although YouTube is a powerful platform there are some obstacles to using it successfully.
- Video saturation - so many videos are hosted by YouTube that getting one noticed can be a bit like asking people to find a needle in a haystack. Clever marketing techniques can often help your cause but there’s no guarantee of exposure
- The emphasis is always on the video content - social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn offer opportunities to promote your business through polls, status updates and industry groups but you’ll find it difficult to sell your products and services on YouTube
- Commercial advertisements are obvious - YouTube is a very subtle way of promoting your business and focuses on brand awareness rather than direct lead generation. Come on too strongly and you’ll quickly turn viewers off
- Creating good-looking videos is time-consuming and requires experience and skill. If you can’t produce professional content in-house may want to hire a professional video company, which can be expensive