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Understanding Social Media: YouTube

Despite a long absence, I am back to blogging.  Holidays will do wonders at derailing your best laid plans to maintain the blog.  But, now we’re back on schedule at Smarter Searches and we’re back to helping small businesses think smarter (not harder) when it comes to their web marketing strategy.

So, when we left off in November, we were going through an analysis of each of the different social media platforms – at least the most frequently used ones.  Today, I want to take a look at YouTube.  As the most popular video streaming site on the web and the SECOND most used search engine (yes, YouTube tops Yahoo and Bing), YouTube can be a viable, credible way to distribute content relevant to your business.  For me, there are two main categories for the content marketing aspect of YouTube potential: Informative and Branded.

Informative content is exactly what it sounds like – it explains more about products, services, techniques, or inside information.  For example, a hip bar could create a YouTube channel with information about how to make certain drinks.  A salon could give tips on how to maintain color. Promotional products companies could add videos demonstrating the uses of a particular product.  There is no real limit to what you can use video to do.  While you never want to be boring or overly dry, informative content can not only increase your reach to other customers and serve as a way to distribute content that goes beyond the text on your web site, but it also presents you as an expert in your field, creating a sense of authority and authorship that people love to see on the web.

Branded content is not typically informative in terms of goods of services, but it is typically what ends up going viral.  Branded content can be funny, entertaining, or useful, but what it’s best for is providing information about who you are as a brand and presenting it in videographic form.  So, to use the examples from above, the bar could present a video from a recent performer or clips from events.  The salon could do a series of interviews from different stylists.  The promotion products company could do a funny or entertaining video based on distributing products at a trade show.  The key with making great branded content (as opposed to something that falls flat) is to be authentic.  If you are a serious company, then making a slapstick video just won’t work.  If you have a young and trendy staff and target market and you try to take yourself too seriously, you risk alienating your clientele.

YouTube video channels can be a great vehicle for distributing content to your leads, prospects, clients, and colleagues.  But remember that you can use it for more than funny cat or baby videos or boring tutorials.  Think outside the box a little and be creative in your endeavors without losing your authenticity. As you develop your brand voice, you have to make sure that your video efforts match up with how you see yourself as a brand. If you’re interested in getting help finding your voice, let us know and we will help you devise a winning YouTube strategy.