Social Media Basics: Do You YouTube?

Social Media Basics:  Do You YouTube?

On April 23, 2005, three former PayPal employees debuted the first-ever video on their new creation, YouTube.com. The 19-second clip, featuring co-founder Jawed Karim, was titled "Me at the Zoo” — which pretty much summed up its content.  

Talk about coming a long way in a short time: Now owned by Google Inc., YouTube is one of the lynchpins of today’s social media. And while many users are on this video-sharing website for fun, not profit, an increasing number of businesses are turning to YouTube to get their message out to the masses.  

Getting Started
If you are one of the remaining few who has yet to watch a video on YouTube, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. The site houses scores of videos, from first-hand accounts of current events to the efforts of an as-yet-undiscovered songwriter, from viral commercials to cute babies and cute cats doing cute things. Viewers not only watch these videos, they can share them with friends, rate them and comment on them.  

For artisans, there are plenty of business opportunities to harness the power of YouTube, including:  

• video galleries of your work;
• overviews about your business missions;
• instructions on the use of your products;
• explanations of techniques and processes;
• you-are-there spots from your latest exhibition at a fair or show;
• virtual tours of your shop or studio; and
• profiles on staffers and their special areas of expertise.  

Your video doesn’t have to be long to be effective. YouTube recently raised its maximum time to 15 minutes, but most videos are much shorter. Once you poke around the site, you’ll realize it doesn’t have to be done with expensive production values, either. Many cell phones and inexpensive video cameras can be used to record and post videos to YouTube. Users with a webcam can instantly record video onto the site rather than having to prerecord and then upload the video.  

After creating a YouTube account, the next thing to do is create a YouTube "channel” for your business, so that all your videos are stored in one place for viewers to find easily. AAB has its own channel, for example, at http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtisanBusinesses.  

Next, decide whether you want your video to be private or public. The public option means anyone can stumble upon you based upon a keyword or "related video” link.  The private option lets you choose who sees it upon upload. This is not only good for uploading personal videos that you don’t necessarily want the world to see, but it also opens up interesting marketing avenues — like telling only your handpicked viewers that they get an extra 10% off their holiday purchase.  

Another great benefit to YouTube is its video embedding feature. Upon upload of a public video, the site provides an embed code that you can copy and paste onto your website, Facebook page or into email messages so that visitors can see the video on those spaces. Other sites can also embed your videos, increasing the potential views they will receive.  

Encourage customers to become subscribers to your channel, so that whenever you upload a new video, they’re notified and can check it out. You can also build a network by "friending” your suppliers and business partners’ videos to increase each others’ views.  

Return on investment
Target Marketing
magazine recommends measuring four sets of data to determine your video’s success:  

1. Number of people who viewed it;
2. Average amount of video that was viewed;
3. Click-though rate to different next steps (email you, visit your site, watch your other videos); and
4. Transmission rate of the video.  

It’s also important to monitor feedback, good and bad, to help you determine the direction of future videos.  

To help you analyze all this data, try YouTube Insight. This free tool offered by YouTube allows anyone with a YouTube account — users, partners or advertisers — to view detailed statistics about the videos they upload to the site.  

Consider this: Every 60 seconds, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Are you part of this phenomenon?

HEATHER GOOCH  (http://www.postiveyarn.com/) is vice president of Gooch & Gooch LLC, an editorial marketing services firm.  She specializes in marketing for the needlework and craft industries.  Heather wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie May.com (www.DebbieMay.com), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.