Once upon a time, YouTube was considered to be a place exclusively for immature adults and bored teenagers to swap entertaining video clips. With the rising recognition of social media as a valuable marketing avenue, YouTube has also gotten its due as an essential part of the marketing mix. Now it’s used to promote anything from non-profit organizations, to specific causes, to individuals offering how-to advice. With YouTube, anyone can offer messaging in as close to face-to-face format as the internet will allow. It doesn’t require the marketing budget of a television campaign, and it’s just as easy to update as a text blog. TOMS Shoes ranks among YouTube’s marketing success stories.
How has TOMS Shoes capitalized on YouTube?
Not long ago, most of the potential market for TOMS Shoes had never heard of the company. While TOMS does make good shoes, their true value is in the services they offer to children who don’t have any shoes. Through YouTube, TOMS has been able to raise awareness for their campaign to give one pair of shoes to needy children for every pair of shoes they sell.
Traditional marketing might allow some messaging around the primary objective of one donated pair of shoes for every purchased pair. It might include some nice images, maybe even a touching tune, and then it’d be over. A television ad for just that would cost as much as several thousand pairs of shoes, and it likely wouldn’t connect with viewers any better than a public service announcement about poverty in third-world countries. We all like to think we care, but it rarely moves us enough to head for the computer and do something about it. YouTube is free, and it allows TOMS to share every aspect of the business, the growth, and the objective with their followers.
Why is YouTube such a great option for companies like TOMS Shoes?
YouTube is better than television advertising because it’s free, and because it already has millions of viewers who specifically sought out the information. But it doesn’t stop there. Instead of carefully crafting a high-impact 30-60 minute clip, TOMS can be more real to people by posting off-the-cuff clips. Instead of a generic message about children who have no shoes, they can show children running barefoot through snow in Romania, show the condition of their feet, and then capture each and every smiling face as they’re handed their new shoes. At the end of it all, viewers can scroll down and discuss their reactions with other interested people who also felt compelled to comment.
For most companies, it’s just not possible to run a television commercial every time something happens. YouTube offers a way to share every event and every shoe drop, as well as statements from celebrities and other supporters.
Can YouTube expand an audience?
While YouTube offers more targeted traffic to videos because of searches, it also delivers targeted brand new customers that may have never heard of the company. They don’t have to look for TOMS Shoes; with proper SEO, they could be looking for any related subjects. Maybe they’re looking for information about a child’s living conditions in a certain country, or want to know a socially responsible way to spend their money on everyday items. No one has to be told the difference a company is making if the proof is played in front of their eyes.
Overall, YouTube allows a level of connection that just isn’t possible with any other form of marketing. Even other types of social marketing don’t quite measure up to the power of video. For TOMS Shoes, YouTube lets people see any aspect of the company and what it’s achieving without dredging through pages of dull text on the company’s website. Best of all, the money they’re saving by using YouTube can be used to help even more needy children.