Watching yourself on camera can be uncomfortable so the thought of uploading a video of yourself onto YouTube, where nearly 2 billion users tune in each month can be terrifying. But being brave can help boost your business and dramatically increase your reach.
Why should I use YouTube?
YouTube isn’t for everyone but it will give your business something that other platforms can’t – and that’s the personal touch.
Connecting with customers on video provides a sense of immediacy and intimacy that you can’t always achieve using text or photos. Users are often compelled to ‘see what happens next’ and it’s a great way to hold someone’s attention in a way that written content sometimes can’t. Promoting your business on YouTube is also another way of standing out from the crowd.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to get started – a webcam on your PC or smartphone will do. Just make sure the sound quality is good (minimise any background noise) and that the camera is steady. A tripod is a good idea if you’re recording with a phone or other handheld device.
There are two routes you can go down using YouTube – posting your own videos or advertising your business in between other people’s videos.
Advertising on YouTube
Like other social media platforms, YouTube advertising is a self-service tool. It also gives you the opportunity to really dig down and target the most relevant audience. You can select who sees your ad based on age, gender, location, income and even whether or not they have children.
Thanks to YouTube’s analytics tools, you’ll also be able to find out how many times your ad’s been viewed so you can work out whether it’s been successful or not.
If you’re worried about paying for ads that nobody sees, you can put your mind at rest – you’ll only pay for an ad if someone watches it for more than 30 seconds.
Post your own videos to boost business - If you don’t want to overtly advertise, posting videos is a great way to increase your reach, get your voice heard and inspire customer loyalty – here’s how you can make the most of your few minutes of fame.
Set up your own YouTube channel - If you want to post videos, you’ll be prompted to set up a channel. A channel is simply a way of housing all your videos in one place which makes searching for them easier. You can use your own name to do this or set up a ‘brand account’ in your business’ name.
Choose your subject - Decide what topics you want to cover, needless to say they should be related to your business if that’s the over-arching reason for setting up a channel.
Think about whether you want to do a series of one-off videos about a new product. Alternatively, you might want to create a series of video blogs (vlogs) looking at different topics each week but centred around a particular theme.
For example, if you’re an artist looking to give lessons, a few vlogs on different materials like watercolours, pastels or inks could really inspire new pupils to come forward.
Whatever your topic, keep it relevant and as short as possible without skipping over important information. Anything long-winded that strays from the point runs the risk of people switching off (literally).
Choose your format - Thinking about the type of format you want before you hit record can help you focus on the things you want to say or show.
The fantastic thing about YouTube, is that it’s a platform where you can be as creative as you want to be. Instead of a straight piece to camera, think about different ways to present your subject, for instance:
>Interview style – involve a willing customer and ask them questions about why they like the product or service you’re selling. Aim to have a brief outline of questions as a guide but don’t be afraid to be a little spontaneous or you’ll come across as stiff and unapproachable.
>Demonstration – this is perfect if you do something creative. Showing how to crochet, paint, sculpt or lay bricks first-hand doesn’t just illustrate your skills, it’s content that people can share and comment on which increases your audience.
>Screenshare – similar to a demonstration but what you’re showing can only be seen on a computer screen – for example if you’re showing how to do something in Excel or WordPress.
>Product review – focuses on one particular product, or maybe the launch of a new range.
Make sure you use keywords - Your videos need to be easily found so make sure you use keywords in the title, description and tags. If (for example) you’re selling dog beds, make sure these words and other relevant descriptive terms are used wherever possible (such as dog baskets, dog cushion, animal beds).
Have a call to action - When you post anything, always ask yourself ‘so what?’. What’s the point of what you’ve just said, what do you want the viewer to do next?
Whether you want viewers to click on a link to your website, go to a specific product page or read a blog, make it clear what the next step is. If someone watches your video right to the end and doesn’t know what you want them to do, then you haven’t just wasted your time, you’ve wasted theirs too.
Interact regularly - Social media is all about getting closer to your customer so make sure you respond in kind to any comments and feedback.
Even if feedback is negative, don’t take it personally. Think about whether the comments are constructive and if they are, then bear them in mind and use it to help you improve. You can also address the comment head on and let customers know that you’re listening to what they say.
Of course, one of the downsides of platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are the number of purposely nasty comments. If you don’t feel a critic is being genuinely constructive, rise above it and move on. Engaging in online negativity won’t help drive your business forward.
Promote your video - YouTube should be part of an overall marketing campaign so don’t treat it as a standalone platform. Share your vlog on all your other media channels like Facebook and Instagram, and on your website too, and encourage others to share and comment on it too.
Getting the most out of social media
The trick with all social media is to post little and often (but not too often). It’s a fine line between keeping the audience informed and overloading them with unwanted information.
If you run your own business, then chances are you’ll also need to fit all your online marketing alongside everything else which means it’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of the pile.
If you’d like to explore how different social media platforms can be used to complement traditional methods of advertising then why not contact us at Grow My Small Business. You can call us on 01473 561023 or send us a note using our contact form.