Nearly all businesses from small to large have a Facebook account. Most also use Twitter. Your business probably does, too. But, the social media discussion is often limited to Facebook and Twitter with a little Instagram and Pinterest thrown in.
There’s another player to think about. If it hasn’t appeared on your radar yet, you could be missing out on one of the best marketing tools around. What is this mysterious, often overlooked yet highly effectual social media platform? It’s YouTube. That’s right — the same place you watch videos of your favorite singer and playful farm animals is what some experts call the most valuable marketing tool there is. Here’s why they’re saying it.
Statistics Speak Volumes
Companies of all types and sizes now have YouTube accounts. You’ll find YouTube presences for small financial businesses like Talus Payments to huge name-brand corporations like Walmart. What do they know about YouTube that you don’t? Could it be the fact that more than a billion people use the platform? Could it be that viewers watch over 500 million hours of video on YouTube each and every day? Impressive statistics, right?
You’re probably thinking, “Oh sure. All those people are watching cute cat and dog videos. That’s where the numbers come from.” OK, people do watch a lot of video on YouTube that has nothing whatsoever to do with business. But did you know that four times as many consumers choose watching a video about a product over reading about it?
Worldwide, 52 percent of marketers name video as the online marketing content format with the best ROI. Just using the word “video” in an email subject line increases open rates. Experts predict that by 2019, 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic will be video. Clearly, if you’re not using YouTube as a marketing tool now, you have to get started. Already a highly effective marketing strategy, video is only going to grow more important over the next couple of years.
Who’s an Expert? You Are!
The challenges online businesses face is figuring out ways to stand out from the competition, prove the company is real and establish an image of authority. In other words, your business has to demonstrate it’s the real deal to people who can’t see your office and wouldn’t recognize you if they passed you on the street.
Social media platforms such as Facebook give you the opportunity to create a relationship with customers as well as prospects. But even Facebook can’t hold a candle to YouTube when it comes to seeing the people behind the business name in action. And video is the clear winner when it comes to letting people know you’re an expert in your field.
Do you sell home-improvement products? Prove you’re an expert by creating a how-to installation video for the products you sell. If pet products are your thing, show and explain the proper way to use them. Service businesses can take advantage of video as well by using the platform to explain more about what they do and why it’s important. YouTube allows you to provide the high-quality visual information that attracts online users.
Put Your Human Face On
Trust is not a given. It has to be earned. Building trust is particularly difficult online because small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to enticing prospects away from larger competitors.
Most buyers read reviews before purchasing from an online business for the first time. To them, your business is just another faceless company in a cutthroat competition with other faceless companies.
Video is the way to go from faceless to trusted.
- Show prospects who you are.
- Use video testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Upload behind-the-scenes footage of not only business-related information, but employee stories.
Effective use of videos takes viewers beyond the unknown to the heart of your business.
Dazzle Your Customers and Prospects
OK, maybe dazzle isn’t the right word. How about engage? Your brief little unpolished video is more engaging than all the served ads and marketing ploys in the world. Viewers don’t expect Hollywood when they watch your video. They expect to see who you are, what you do, the people who do the work and why you love doing what you do. They want to feel like they’re walking in your office door.
People don’t want to see ads plastered on websites and have largely learned to ignore them. Videos are a different story. They love watching videos. Video seems more personal, more entertaining. With YouTube, viewers offer feedback, ask questions and leave comments. You can interact with them on a one-to-one basis. It’s a degree of engagement that’s just not possible with served ads.
Wait Just a Minute…
Do the business advantages of YouTube videos mean you can chuck Facebook and Twitter? Nope. Your social media marketing strategies have to include several platforms to build reputation and strengthen branding. But YouTube has to be part of your social media plan now and will likely play a larger role as time goes on.