Should your business jump on the You Tube bandwagon?


Beyond cat videos and stupid people tricks, is You Tube worth it for small business?

Last week I attended the SF Business Times Social Media for Small Business workshop with Michael Neuendorff

After three hours of lecture, my head was absolutely spinning.  The course was chock a block full of great information — very specific to what entreprenuers and small business folks need to figure out how they fit into the social media landscape.  Michael is clearly a very experienced and knowledgeable coach in this area, so I took his advice very seriously.

On the subject of You Tube video and its effectiveness for business, Michael rattled off these significant stats:

1.  500 YEARS of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every month

2. Each WEEK 100 million social interactions occur on YouTube

When I got home, I consulted my other guru on the subject, Paul Slack from Splash Media. His book, Social Rules, estimates that by 2014, 90% of all web traffic will be video.  His stats were equally impressive:

1. You Tube is the second-largest search engine in the world.

2. Over 2 billion videos are watched each day.

3. 70% of the people watching are adults, 18 years or older.

I also, naturally, loved the fact that Paul advocates using a professional company to produce your You Tube video.

His book has a whole chapter on You Tube video and how to maximize it but whatever the stats, for me it always comes back to storytelling.  What is the story you want to tell? Can video communicate it in a way that is better than still photos and text? Sometimes, incredible still images are preferable to mediocre moving images.  But then, still images can always be edited together with music, motion graphics and narration to give them a sense of movement that may be more engaging for your audience.

Is your story informative? Is it funny? It is heartwarming? Somehow, you want to engage your audience emotionally, so finding that hook will make for the most successful You Tube video for your service or product.

Recently, we launched a series of You Tube videos on volunteer travel, entitled Journeys for Good.  These are short 2 -3 minute videos, with each one capturing a part of a voluntour experience.  Over the series, you get a sense of the whole experience, but each one is broken up into a “digestible bit”.  Fans come back for more, or click onto the website for more information.

For A Band of Wives, a social media group, we produced a series of funny and heartwarming videos on a group cleanse.  This helped convey the sense of fun and community that the group espouses.

It doesn’t have to be a series.  You can start with one, well produced You Tube video that captures what you do best, or tells more about who you are, or gives some related information that your audience will appreciate.

Whatever your product or service, think about what a viewer would really want to see.  What would engage or impress them enough to take a next step with your business?  And remember, your You Tube video will represent you, so make sure it is a high quality tool.  It doesn’t make sense to spend a gazillion dollars on a website or brochure, but cut corners on the video.  Bring in a great creative production partner who can help get your story across most effectively.

And if you’re a pet store owner, well heck, you have an advantage on all of us.  You can set up a cute kitten cam and you’re on your way to You Tube stardom.