YouTube has millions of channels, viewers and videos, but it’s still overlooked by many small business marketers. Whether you’re trying to market yourself, your craft, your brand, your business or anything else, online video is arguably the best possible bang for your buck. In fact, if you tailor it right, you actually get paid for it instead of having to pay for market exposure. Think you can’t do YouTube or other types of video marketing? Think again. Here are five reasons why you not only can use YouTube to jump forward in social media marketing, but why you don’t have any excuse not to. These are based on my own 7 years of online marketing experience, as well as research and statistics published by major search engines and trend trackers.
It doesn’t take much more effort than text
Really, it doesn’t. People get freaked out by this concept of video, and suddenly visions of high-tech equipment and film studios start swimming in their heads. Yes, production value is important, but it’s not critical if you have good, helpful content. Definitely plan on upgrading in the future if your YouTube marketing pays off, but even the camera and microphone that are built into your computer will work to get started. Camera shy? Me too, but I started off using screencasts instead of live video, and many people use PowerPoint presentations or something similar for their videos.
Deal with less competition than text media
Despite the billions of video clips on YouTube alone, there’s still a lot less competition – and, therefore, a lot better chance at being seen – than text-based content. Video does take a little more work, and it’s outside a lot of people’s comfort zones. It’s also a lot harder to repurpose, since you can’t scrape and spin video the same way that many less-scrupulous people do with written content.
Get active engagement from visitors
There are hundreds of ways you can get engagement from people through your videos. However, the really unique thing about video as a marketing tool is that the very act of watching it requires active engagement. This is a little different now that Facebook auto-plays video clips as you scroll past, but for most things you do have to actually click to the video and hit “play.” That’s quite a bit more thinking than skimming text while browsing social media updates.
Video gets its own special search section
Ever notice that the search engine results can be divided into media type? Depending on the engine you use, video might even get a thumbnail image on the results page along with the title. As of 2013, YouTube is second only to Facebook in sites visited after a search. Pictures catch attention so much faster than words, especially with today’s mobile formats, fast-paced internet expectations, and constant information bombardment. People just don’t have the time to bother with text, or don’t like to read and would rather get the information in a format that’s closest to face-to-face chat.
You don’t have to ‘toot your own horn’ anymore
Some people will respond to everything you say just because they like you. This is pretty much limited to your immediate family, close friends and significant other. For the rest, status updates like, “I just finished a totally super-awesome project” might get old. Instead, you can post a video that simply says, “Here’s something I’ve been working on recently.” Let them click through and judge its “super-awesome” merits for themselves.
YouTube as a social media marketing tool has a lot more benefits than just these, but they are compelling reasons to just do it. Videos are easy to make and share, YouTube memberships are free, and you can link them to advertising partners or use them in your own website’s sales funnel to earn money on them.