It doesn’t really matter whether you love or hate the social media; there are two facts that are incontrovertible.
Social media is here to stay, and it’s starting to play an increasingly important role in both our personal and business lives. I accept that not everyone will be cheering at this news, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.
It was understandable that some businesses were initially sceptical at the suggestion that the likes of Facebook and Twitter could help their companies with branding and building a community, yet experience has shown that these worries were unfounded. Many businesses have thrived and it’s now accepted thinking that any company wishing to expand and reach as wide an audience as possible really needs to embrace social media wholeheartedly. Why is it then that some businesses are very reluctant to consider using YouTube to help them with their branding?
The answer to that is perception. Many people who are unfamiliar with YouTube tend to have very fixed opinions about it.
Any medium that employs video is for some reason or other seen as either inferior or not exactly serious: granted a lot of the footage that grabs attention might be more suited to ‘you’ve been framed’ or may seem a little frivolous, like the recent ‘talking babies’ video, but that really misses the point. YouTube can be a phenomenally powerful social tool if used correctly and in an appropriate and targeted way. It has the power to transform a company’s fortunes and really establish a brand. Anyone with any lingering doubts about the truth of that need look no further than Proctor &Gamble’s Old Spice Man adverts.
If your business hasn’t gone down the YouTube road yet, here are a few simple suggestions that might make the journey a little easier.
- Before you even start to market your product or service on the platform, you’ll need to have a complete understanding of who you are as a company, what you stand for and what you want to achieve. If you know the answer to these questions, it will be much easier to use the platform effectively. If your service is a resource for customers, then be prepared to interact with them and respond to questions: if you’re selling a product using humour, like Old Spice, make sure that humour is carried through in any responses you make to your followers – consistency is the key.
- Content is the key to success on YouTube whether you’re an established business or a fledging company. Content has to be engaging and compelling enough to make people want to watch what you’ve provided and share it with others. It doesn’t always have to be funny, like Blendtec’s ‘Will it blend?’ video, but it has to be able to spark discussion.
- Once you’ve shared your video, you can’t just cut and run and hope for the best. Engagement is underpinned by hard work unfortunately. If your footage is as good as you’d like it to be, then you will get comments and feedback. If the idea is to build an online community around the brand, then your business will have to respond positively to these comments. You don’t have to go to quite the extent that Proctor & Gamble did by releasing further Old Spice Man videos to answer the queries, what is important is that you respond. You can’t expect to build an online community if you’re not prepared to engage with it.
- Learn form the responses you receive from the online community: they’ll tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Use this information to determine your next step and how your brand will develop and engage with the audience to get their feedback on what next step they think you should take.
- You often find that there are simultaneous discussions across all social media networks about the same subject. If you’ve posted a video on YouTube that’s been well received or commented on, use that information to prompt discussion on Facebook or Twitter. Ask each audience what they think about that particular subject or footage and try to get some cross –platform discussion going. It will make your brand more recognisable and will also give different parts of the online community the chance to interact with both your brand and each other. Publicity is the key, and the wider you can broadcast the message, the better it is for you.