Grow your business with Youtube
Best place to use the power of videos to showcase and promote your business globally.
YouTube to market your business
YouTube is an online video hosting service that allows people to share their videos on their platform. Businesses and individuals use YouTube to share or find videos, including entertainment, promotions and instructions.
YouTube is the most popular video hosting service, followed by similar services such as Vimeo, Blip, Facebook video and Flickr. Like other social media channels, YouTube enables people around the world to interact, share and create content through online communities.
Because of its popularity and features, YouTube can be a useful marketing channel for businesses. Your business could use YouTube to launch or promote products, express your brand's 'personality', monitor feedback, provide customer service and help your customers spread the word about your business.
This guide explains the benefits of using YouTube in your business, as well as tips for avoiding potential pitfalls.
- YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
- YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
- YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries.
- You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population).
How YouTube works
YouTube began in early 2005 and has grown rapidly. Every minute, people around the world upload more than 4 days worth of video footage to YouTube.
YouTube has the second-largest search engine in the world, behind Google (which owns YouTube). This means people are constantly searching for information using YouTube and discovering videos relating to these topics.
YouTube provides a simple way for people to store videos online and share them with others. YouTube videos cover any topic anyone cares to upload a video about. These videos are easy to share via other forms of social media, email and websites and can also be embedded in other websites.
Beside every video on YouTube is a list of 'suggested videos' - videos that YouTube's search engine calculates are likely to interest people who watch the video you are watching.
YouTube encourages viewers to express their opinion of videos they watch, to store videos to watch later and to share videos they like. You can make a video publicly available to anyone, or share it privately with selected people.
YouTube Analytics is a self-service analytics and reporting tool. It provides data about each video you upload, so you can easily track how many views it gets, where people are coming from to find it and what type of people are watching it.
YouTube Analytics can give you information about:
- The 'firsts' for the video, including the first referral from a related video, the first referral from a YouTube search (including the search terms used), first time the video is embedded in another website
- How many views came from each referral source
- Which gender and age groups the video is most popular with
- Which countries the video is most popular in
- How many comments and ratings it has received. And much more....
As an example, the YouTube Analytics for the Come On Digital's video on 'How to make money online' on its youtube channel shows that it is most popular with males aged 26-45 in India. It also shows that 63.5% of views for embedded videos have come via youtube suggested videos and google search.
You can set up a YouTube channel for your business, bringing all your videos together. This allows you to customise your channel with images representing your firm. Your channel includes an 'About' section where you can provide a short description of your business and a link to your website or contact details.
Your channel is where you group the videos you make and upload, the videos you watch and like, and the playlists of videos you create.
Your channel will have a web address (URL) that you can promote on your website or marketing material. People can subscribe to your channel. This means when they log in to YouTube your videos will be listed on their YouTube homepage.
You can also create 'playlists' within your YouTube channel to organise your videos by subject or type. For example, you could have a playlist featuring videos about each of your product categories, or you might have a playlist for videos contributed by your customers for a video competition you run.
YouTube incorporates features that let businesses promote their videos to people who might be interested in them, targeting customers by demographics, topics or interests.
Advertisers pay each time someone views their video. You can choose which locations your ad will appear in, what format it will be, and even how much you are prepared to pay per view (if you want to boost the prominence of your ad over your competitors). YouTube's advertising guide explains how it works.
Who uses YouTube?
Other examples of video sharing services include:
- Vimeo: a video website popular with more serious video producers interested in higher quality video production
- Blip: an online video website with a leaning towards series of videos rather than one-offs
- Facebook videos: the most popular social media site, Facebook, allows users to upload, create and send videos as well as photos and text
- Flickr: primarily a photo sharing site, but can share videos up to 90 seconds as well.
Who uses YouTube?
YouTube has over 1 Billion accounts. While YouTube use is dominated by people between 18-34, and people of all ages participate.
Businesses that use YouTube
YouTube use by Indian business is still very small compared with other social media like Facebook and Twitter. About 14% of Indian large businesses reported using YouTube as a business tool in 2015, but only about 7% of small and 9% of medium businesses did, according to the Yellow Social Media Report.
Businesses that can benefit from using YouTube are likely to:
- have interesting, video-friendly content to share
- have a 'personality' as well as a brand
- welcome feedback, comment and interaction and can deal with it well
- have staff who are enthusiastic about social media and keen to use online video.
Indian businesses using YouTube range from large corporations (e.g. banks) to small businesses (e.g. personal trainers). Enterprises with a significant online presence (such as real estate firms, tourism operators, or retailers with online stores) often integrate YouTube with other web-based tools as part of their business model.
Benefits of YouTube for business
YouTube has a range of uses and benefits for business that can complement those offered by other communication channels.
YouTube lets businesses show their products in action. This is particularly useful for companies with limited physical distribution channels, including those who mostly sell over the internet. Businesses that use YouTube to allow customers to see their products in action before they buy include toy manufacturers, theme parks and theatre companies.
Businesses that have a following or are part of a community can use YouTube as a tool to share and engage with customers. Examples include speciality bicycle retailers and running shops that share produce launches, event footage, video blogs and customer footage via video.
Some business people use YouTube to build their reputation as an expert in a field. This might include uploading video tutorials or short video tips, as well as linking to other experts' videos that relate to their area of interest.
YouTube lets you embed video content in your website without increasing your site's bandwidth. This means you can include video in your website without slowing down your customers' download speeds.
Showing your brand's 'personality'
YouTube is a chance to add colour and movement to your business image. For example, a coffee supplier can not only post footage of coffee tasting events and video tutorials, they can also share video footage from the point of origin of the beans and interviews with the people who choose the varieties they use.
Leveraging events or promotions
YouTube gives you the ability to revisit successful events by showing video footage of them to people who weren't there or who want to recall what happened.
If you run an event (such as an author talk in a bookshop or a seminar for a consulting firm) you can share the highlights via YouTube, as long as you have permission from the 'talent'.
Solving customers' problems
Some businesses use YouTube to provide solutions for their customers. For example, they post videos demonstrating how to install their product, or 'screen capture' tutorials showing how to use their software.
A video can be a great way to address a frequently asked question or help troubleshoot common problems with your product. It is better to be proactive about this by acknowledging an issue and showing customers how to deal with it, rather than letting the market do it for you and criticise your product in the process.
You can also use YouTube to offer solutions to people who don't even know about your product yet. Every day, people post questions into search engines asking how to solve their problems, like 'my pink socks ran in the wash. What can I do?' If your product solves a problem like this, posting a video on YouTube demonstrating it in action is a great way to bring your product to the attention of the people who need it.
Tips for using YouTube
YouTube can be a powerful tool for businesses. These tips will help you make the most of it.
Include a 'call to action'
Ideally, watching a video will lead your customer to do something, such as buy a product, promote your business through their social media networks, give you feedback or seek more information about your business or your product.
You can include a call to action within YouTube, such as inviting people to leave comments, rate your video, share your video, subscribe to your video or check out your YouTube channel to see your other videos.
Alternatively, your call to action might direct people to your website, or ask them to call into to your shop or phone you. Examples include suggesting people quote a promotion code to receive a free or discounted service.
YouTube is designed to be interactive, with people rating videos and making comments. This interactivity can be a real strength because it gives you direct customer feedback, which you can then respond to.
To do this well, you need to monitor the comments and ratings on your videos, and respond to them if necessary. If that's not possible, you may be better off to turn off comments when you upload a video.
Reinforce your brand
Simple things like including your logo at the start and end of each video ensure that people connect the video with your business. It's also important to make sure the tone and style you use on YouTube is consistent with your brand image.
Show, don't tell
The video is a great medium for showing your products or services in action. You can post videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to get the most out of your products.
For example, a coffee roaster could post a video tutorial on making the perfect café latte, a bed and breakfast could show a short tour of the local area, while a pineapple grower could demonstrate peeling techniques.
Improve your search engine optimisation
Including video in your web content (e.g. embedding a video in your website) could improve your weighting in Google's search engine so that people doing a Google search are more likely to find your website.
You can help people find your videos by tagging them with keywords that people are likely to use when they are searching for the content you are presenting. Think about the words people might use in a browser search, and use these words as keywords in your video.
For example, consider your product category as well as your brand name (e.g. 'aged care' as well as the name of your in-home care service for older people). Then think about the words people might use to search, like 'cleaning', 'transport', 'stay at home' or 'ageing parents'.
Promote your customers
Some businesses use YouTube to show videos of happy customers - testimonials from users or videos showing people using their products. A video of someone talking about your business or succeeding with your product can be much more powerful than a written testimonial.
For example, a video of a personal training client finishing a half marathon is a great endorsement for the trainer as well as a tribute to the customer. Similarly, a dress designer could post footage of a celebrity wearing one of their outfits at a televised event.
Integrate with other marketing
You can embed videos on your website so that your website can provide 'how to' advice, product tours or behind-the-scenes interviews. YouTube allows you to add videos to your website or blog (as long as the video owner has enabled an embedding function).
You can promote your YouTube videos through your website, social media or any other channels you use. Learn about social media strategies, including Facebook, Twitter, location-based marketing and coupon marketing.
Encourage video sharing
Every day, millions of YouTube videos are shared through Facebook, Twitter and other social media. At its most extreme, this is called 'going viral' when an online ad or video is shared rapidly by millions around the world.
Track your YouTube results
There are a number of ways to assess the benefit of your investment in YouTube (including your time and effort even if you don't spend any cash). YouTube and Google provide tools to analyse use of your videos, including profiling the people who view them.
If you include a call to action in your YouTube videos, it's also possible to track the impact of each video. For example, you could include a promotional code that people need to use at the point of sale to get a discount, then track how many people use the code. You can also use internet analytics tools to see how much of your website's traffic is coming from YouTube.
How your business can avoid pitfalls on YouTube
Using YouTube is not without risks. Here's how to avoid the major ones.
Posting unwatchable videos
YouTube videos don't have to be polished. YouTube lends itself to spontaneity. But your videos do need to be audible and the quality needs to be high enough to be watchable. A common error is making videos too long. Make the video as tight as you can so your audience doesn't lose interest before they get to the important bits, like the call to action.
When you upload a video you can monitor data about how far people get into your video before they move on to something else. If they're not getting to the end of your video, you need to make your next one shorter and more engaging.
Thinking about how a movie trailer works might help you plan a video that's short, catchy and leaves people wanting more.
Going terminal, instead of 'going viral'
The videos that 'go viral' are either very entertaining or very interesting. The vast majority of videos on YouTube will never attract more than 100 views, and some will sink without a trace. Keep your videos tight and interesting. Remember, to capture attention you need to solve a problem or entertain or move people.
Losing sight of the goal
Every video you upload should have a purpose related to your business. It might be encouraging customers to buy a product. It might be building an emotional connection with your brand. It might be resolving a problem that has emerged with your product.
If you post videos without a clear goal in mind you risk sending inconsistent messages about your brand or confusing people.