The Real Scoop on Using YouTube for Business
YouTube was founded in 2005 by three employees of PayPal. In 2006, it was bought by Google for 1.6 billion dollars. Since its simple and humble beginnings, YouTube has become the dominant behemoth of the online video world. It has a staggering amount of web traffic, including more than one billion unique users each month, more than four billion video views each day, and over one trillion video views since its inception.
How can YouTube’s explosive growth be explained? Several factors play a part. Before YouTube, there was no centralized place or standard format for web video. Although web video existed, there were different technologies that made it work (which is still true today). This means that if a video appeared on a particular web page, it was only possible to play it if you had the proper plug-in software. Back then, there were more compatibility issues. The guys who started YouTube had the idea of creating a site that would convert all videos to just one format, Flash, that had the broadest compatibility. Since YouTube was able to convert videos to the broadest compatibility format, it became the most popular site for uploading videos. Besides solving a compatibility issue, YouTube also created an easy-to-use interface and elements of a friendly community. Viewers of videos are often able to write text comments, create video comments, and give ratings to videos.
Is YouTube good for businesses? You better believe it. Many millionaires have been made by using YouTube’s awesome power. Why is YouTube so good for business? Because of the huge number of people who are exposed to it. People go to YouTube for entertainment, but they also go for educational purposes. Instructional videos are very popular. If there is something you are qualified to teach, you can upload a video of a lesson and then use it to generate traffic to your website. Another key benefit of uploading YouTube videos is that they show up in Google searches (remember who owns YouTube?). For example, if you’re a CPA and make videos about how to fill in certain tax forms, your video can show up in the search results whenever someone searches the phrase “how to fill out a W-9 form.” That video can act as a free commercial for your services and help drive traffic to your website.
Would it be beneficial to use YouTube for your business?
The answer is probably a resounding “yes.” Of course, I don’t know what your business is, but the simple fact that you’re reading this book tells me you are interested in greater visibility on the Internet. YouTube offers that opportunity in spades and without the time investment that the social web platforms demand. By uploading videos to YouTube and tagging them with keywords, the videos can do a lot of work for you without requiring that you spend time on them on a daily or weekly basis. Of course, engaging with others in the community can be beneficial, but it’s not a necessity as it is with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. My advice is to take advantage of the free visibility from YouTube as soon as possible.
How to make videos
These days, equipment for making videos is not hard to come by. Video cameras are inexpensive and easy to use. There’s a good chance you have a video camera in one of your electronic devices, such as your laptop, tablet computer, or smartphone. It’s also easy to find video editing software. A simple Google search for video editing software will yield numerous results. Also, YouTube has a built-in, free video editor you can use.
Here are some tips for recording and editing your videos:
- Good lighting is very important for video. Use daylight if you can, otherwise make sure the room you are in is as well-lit as possible.
- Make sure the camera is as steady as possible. Video with a lot of shaking is not very pleasant to watch. Consider using a tripod or something else to mount the camera.
- If you have zoom control, don’t use it much. It’s better to keep the frame steady and avoid zooming.
- Music helps! A little music can add life to a video. In your editing software, you will have the ability to add a music track. (You must have the legal right to use recordings of music. If you search the web for “royalty free music,” you will find recordings that you can purchase the rights to use.)
- Add titles. Adding titles means adding words to the video that can be read. You will find this capability in your editing software.
- Plan your video carefully. It’s easier to make videos if you have some pre-planned “edit points.” That way you can record the video in smaller pieces and then put them together.
- Audio is very important. Make sure the words of people speaking can be heard clearly. Unless you have an external microphone, it helps if the person speaking is not far from the recording device. Avoid excessive wind or crowd noise.
Ideas for your video content
What will your video be about? You want it to be useful to the viewer and a good promotional vehicle for your business. It doesn’t need to be long—two or three minutes can be enough. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Teach something people can learn.
- Make videos that log activity with your business, such as current projects.
- Interview an expert or have someone interview you.
- Use photographs to make a slide-show video. Then add music and a voiceover.
- Funny videos are popular on YouTube. Can you think of a way to show something funny that’s related to your business?
- Answer customer FAQs.
- Explain a future project your business is working on.
- Introduce your co-workers.
- Make a video of testimonials from your customers.
How to upload and optimize your videos
Here’s how to upload and optimize a video on YouTube:
- Log in to your YouTube account (if you don’t have one, you can create one for free).
- Click the “Upload” button in the top right corner.
- Add a title to your video.
- Add a description of your video.
- Add tags for your video.
The title, description, and tags are very important because they are what will help your video be found by people searching YouTube—or Google, for that matter. Think carefully about the words you choose, especially for the tags. You also have a variety of options you can set for each video, such as the thumbnail image that will represent your video, privacy settings (public, private, or unlisted), category, whether to allow comments from viewers, whether to allow others to embed the video on their web pages, and more.
Ways to promote your videos
Whenever you upload a new video to your YouTube account, it’s always a good idea to promote it. Here are a few ways to promote your videos:
- Embed your video in a blog post.
- Embed the video in your Facebook page or a Facebook post.
- Tweet a link to your video.
- Embed the video on your website.
- Announce it in your Google+ circles.
- Link to it from your LinkedIn profile or company page.
Important and useful features of YouTube
Channels. A YouTube channel is the home page of an account. It shows the videos that have been uploaded and other information that can be entered. Channels can be customized to create a certain look, such as changing the color scheme and background.
Subscriptions. People can click a button to subscribe to your YouTube channel. If they do, they will be notified of any new videos you upload.
Annotations. Annotations allow you to create clickable links in your videos. They can link to other videos, your Google+ account, or to a “subscribe” button. This can be used for a call-to-action.
Analytics. YouTube provides extensive analytics information about your videos views, traffic sources, demographic data, geographic data, and much more.
Captions and subtitles. These make your videos more accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or to those who speak another language.
Google+ integration. You can directly connect your YouTube account with your Google+ pages and posts.
Google+ Hangouts. If you use “Hangouts On Air” on Google+, you can use YouTube to show the video to more people.
Paid-advertising opportunities. Through Google AdWords, you can access a variety of paid-advertising options for reaching YouTube’s massive audience.
Top things to know about YouTube
- YouTube is the king of video on the Internet. It has a staggering amount of traffic, and is the second most searched website in the world.
- YouTube presents a great opportunity for businesses to gain free exposure.
- Your YouTube videos can be great vehicles for driving traffic to your website.
- To get started with YouTube, you open an account (for free) and then upload your videos. You will give your videos a title, description, and tags so they will show up in searches for the keywords you’ve chosen.
- YouTube videos often show up in Google searches (YouTube is owned by Google).
- To record your videos, make sure to have good lighting. Also, avoid camera shaking and zooming.
- There are many types of videos you can make, such as instructional, humorous, or ones that include interviews or testimonials.
- Through Google AdWords, you can use YouTube’s paid-advertising options to reach a large audience.
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