When people think of Internet tools to help their business, they thing of obvious ones like blogs and websites. But many of the tools we use every day can be adapted for business purposes. One of the most fun, and potentially overlooked free Internet tools, is YouTube.
Unless you have been deliberately avoiding the Internet for the last few years, you have likely heard of YouTube. YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload videos for other users to watch.
Before YouTube existed, there weren’t many places to go to easily stream videos. This meant that once it launched in 2005, it quickly exploded in popularity. In early 2009, YouTube had 83 million unique visitors per month, was the fifth biggest brand on the Internet, and Credit Suisse estimated that over 40% of streamed videos in the U.S. go through YouTube. Some of the most popular videos get enormous numbers of views: Lady Gaga’s video for “Bad Romance” has only been on the site for three months, and it has received over 130 million views.
That’s all well and good for major media figures, but the power of YouTube is its ability to make unlikely stars out of unknown people and things. The wedding entrance dance of a couple in Minnesota has received over four million views in less than a year. And this produces YouTube’s major benefit for businesses.
YouTube and “viral” videos
YouTube can let advertising become “viral.” A viral advertisement is an advertisment that naturally spreads without a push from marketers. The YouTube video for Dove, called “Evolution”, is a perfect example of this. From an initial budget of little over $100,000, it spontaneously was passed along by viewers until over twelve million people had watched it in its first year. It was also discussed on shows like Good Morning America and the View. Estimates suggest that traditional marketers trying to replicate the effect it had would have spent over $150 million.
Other Benefits of YouTube
Although viral videos can have a profound impact much stronger than their initial marketing investment, getting something to go viral can be one of the most difficult things to achieve. Fortunately, getting a video to go viral isn’t YouTube’s only benefit for business. Here are a few other benefits:
1. YouTube can help you recruit new employees. You can use YouTube to advertise for new employees by showing what you have to offer and what they can expect. This works really well if your company or business is very different than what people normally expect from a company. A good example of this is Google’s recruitment video.
2. How To Videos. People are always looking for information on how to do things on the Internet. If you are marketing a product or service that can be complicated to new users, think about creating a branded how to video. It will give people a taste of what you have to offer, and people will be drawn to its useful information.
3. PR and company communications. News releases can be very dry, and when newspapers pick them up, they filter and skew your message. Putting a PR video on YouTube, however, enables any interested party to hear the truth directly from you. And hearing news from a person is always more exciting than reading it. A good example of this is Amazon’s statement about their acquisition of Zappos.
4. Market research. Posting a new ad on YouTube before you put it on TV can give you free, instant and honest feedback on whether it is working or not. With the site’s metrics, you can also gauge who is watching the video, where they live, and how they are finding your video. Just don’t let it go viral if the response is becoming negative!
5. Training and employee communication. Although there are other services that provide more secure online video viewing, businesses that have to deal with a lot of freelancers with a wide variety of computers and interfaces know that showing a video directly to all of them at the same time can be a major headache. In contrast, almost everyone can watch YouTube videos, and they can watch them in their spare time. It may not be the most secure method to deliver employee communications, but it can save you a lot of hassle.
6. Deliver sales pitches to clients. Sometimes you want to create a strong pitch to a few selected clients. Creating a custom made video and uploading it to YouTube can be exactly what they are looking for. This can work well for real estate agents, decorators, or even dog groomers – any business person whose personality is a part of their business. Embedding custom videos to your blog or website can also make those sites more engaging, and will encourage people to spend more time on them.
7. Cultivating a brand. A local restaurant that wants people to find it fun, wacky and engaging might make a couple of videos showcasing their friendly staff and delicious food. A natural products manufacturer might show off the ways they make their products and the good things that go into them. Adding YouTube videos to your site will not only create a hard pitch, but will also help people associate certain emotions to your company or business.
In fact, the flexibility of YouTube means that there are probably many more benefits that aren’t even apparent now. Consider this tool the next time you are stuck in a business problem, and it might be the best solution for you.
Don’t Forget to check out this leadership video below: