Social Media Spotlight: YouTube

youtubeSocial Media Spotlight is designed to introduce you to the benefits of social media for your business, with specific examples tailored to the graphic arts industry. This month we’re exploring YouTube.

Why join for business?

Long gone are the days when expensive equipment, specialized expertise and lengthy turnaround times are required to produce a video. Broadcast media have also changed, moving from a top-down, network television approach to a much more open and accessible peer-to-peer sharing approach. As videos have become less expensive and simpler to produce, they are now playing a more predominant role in businesses’ online content strategies. There are numerous online video hosting sites, the most popular of which is YouTube.

YouTube is not only the world’s largest online repository of video content, it’s also the world’s second largest search engine (after Google… and YouTube is owned by Google!). More and more individuals are heading to YouTube, for both business and pleasure, to find video content to satisfy their search criteria. Here are some very telling statistics about the popularity of YouTube (from YouTube’s statistics site as of October 2013):

  • Over 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • There are more than 1 billion unique visitors to YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube each month (which is equivalent to almost every person on Earth watching 1 hour of video)
  • YouTube reaches more adults in the US ages 18-34 than any cable network
  • Your customers are on YouTube searching for videos and your videos should be there for them to find!

Tips for Engaging Prospects & Customers

Video content is an inherently dynamic and emotional medium that allows businesses to connect with customers faster than ever before. Although there are paid advertising opportunities on YouTube, these tips for engaging prospects and customers will focus on organic (unpaid) searches.

The first step is to set up a YouTube account. YouTube accounts are called “channels”. On this channel you can upload your videos and change the preferences to match your business’ brand. Users can subscribe to your channel to receive notifications to their inbox when new videos are uploaded.

After you’ve set up your account, it’s time to create great content! Remarkable content is what will drive customers to your YouTube channel and position you as a thought-leader that addresses customers’ informational needs.

Content Ideas:

  • How-to videos
  • Funny “viral” content
  • Q & A’s
  • Meet and greet with company employees
  • Interesting product demos
  • Spotlight on a specific department and what they do
  • Show award winning work
  • Video blog (vlog) on a topic of interest
  • Webinar recording
  • Customer testimonials

5 Tips for Reaching More Viewers

Use relevant keywords – Proper use of keywords is critically important to ensure that your videos can be found. You will first need to understand the key words and phrases that your customers and prospects are already searching for on the web. A word tracking site (such as freekeywords.wordtracker.com) will not only give you an idea of what your viewership is searching for (in order to tag your own videos) but it also provides intelligence into what’s important to your viewers, to help focus your future content creation. Once your search has returned some relevant keywords, use these words to name your video (don’t use your business name or the name of the video file!). An example of a strong name for a video about how to set up a file correctly for production at your facility may be “How to Set Up a File Correctly for Print” because this is what your keyword search has returned as one of the key phrases that is commonly searched. This is much stronger than names like “Setting Up a Correct File for Jobs at Shop XYZ” or (even worse!) “video1.mp4”. It is also important to use these keywords to tag (label) your video after you have uploaded it for maximum searchability.

Lastly, here is a bonus, super-secret tagging trick: choose one nonsense word to tag all of your videos (for example, “prilililly” or “fobbernather”). These words mean nothing to anyone, but tagging all of your videos with the same word that no one else will use will aggregate all of your videos into the “recommended videos” section beside your video that is currently showing. This helps prevent your competitors’ videos from being “recommended” beside yours and it also increases the likelihood that a viewer will watch another one of your videos.

Link to your video from other online platforms – Your company’s YouTube strategy should work together with your other online social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and your blog to help increase your SEO (search engine optimization). When all of your online content strategies work together, the likelihood that customers will find your business in a search engine is increased. The other benefit of creating video content for YouTube is that these video searches could show up in a general Google search. While there are millions of sites returned for a typical Google search, there may only be a few hundred videos returned. This means that by creating a video, there is a greater chance you will be found on Google. In order to have this happen, you will have to use the right keywords (as discussed above). Also keep in mind that when viewers watch a video included in a Facebook wall post or in a tweet, these views also count towards your overall video view count on YouTube and therefore increases the video’s ranking.

Keep videos short and sweet – No one has time to watch a 20 minute, 40 minute or hour-long video. The most-watched videos on YouTube are short and sweet, typically only a few minutes in length. If you have a video that is longer than 10 minutes (which is still considered long in YouTube time), break it up into parts and post the parts individually. This helps viewers navigate your videos more easily and they are more likely to begin watching it if they don’t have to commit copious amounts of time to viewing it.

Be wordy – When it comes to entering information for a video’s description on YouTube, the longer the description, the better. YouTube uses this description to look for keywords, which means that videos with highly relevant and long descriptions get high results.

Respond to other videos – Positioning yourself as a thought leader on this platform is a two way street – your own videos, along with the comments you make on others’ videos, will help increase your views on YouTube (because your username is a live, clickable link). Piggy-back on others’ success by finding relevant popular videos and comment on them. For maximum visibility, create a video comment response, which stays at the top of the comments section longer. If there are no video responses for a high-ranking, relevant video… make one!!

Two Companies Who’ve Got It Right

Off Register: a SAPPI production (www.youtube.com/user/OffRegister) – This 9-part video series is a satirical work of a satirical work (NBC’s The Office), following the trials and tribulations of a print shop dealing with eccentric clients. It’s a well-written and well-produced mockumentary that many of us can relate to. These are the types of high-quality, chuckle-inducing videos that are sure to be forwarded to print shop employees everywhere.

PaperSpecs (www.youtube.com/user/paperspecs) – With almost 150 videos documenting “Inspiring Designs, Innovative Paper Choices”, PaperSpecs’ founder Sabine Lenz knows about the power of creating video content. Many of her videos document interesting designs and projects using a variety of different papers, which adds value to her designer clients and reinforces her presence in the industry.

Glossary

All glossary definitions are from YouTube’s Glossary Resources site.

Channel or Channel Page: YouTube.com/CHANNELNAME. A channel is the public page for a user account on YouTube. It contains uploaded videos, playlists, liked videos, favorited videos, channel comments and general activity. Some creators manage or create content across multiple channels.

Playlist: A playlist is a collection of videos that can be viewed, shared and embedded like an individual video. You can create playlists using any videos on YouTube. Videos can be in multiple playlists. Uploaded videos and “favourited” videos are default playlists on your channel.

Subscriber / Subscription: By subscribing to a channel, users will see that channel’s activity in their homepage feed. Subscribers can also opt into email communication from subscribed channels on a per-upload and weekly digest basis.

Links to Further Resources

To get started, check out YouTube’s Help Centre (support.google.com/youtube). To learn more about using YouTube videos for business, check out the helpful videos on the GoogleBusiness YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/GoogleBusiness).

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Diana Varma is an Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University and the Owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group, a health & safety company that provides training to the Graphic Arts Industry.