Is Your YouTube Strategy DOA?

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Synopsis –We all know that YouTube videos can be successful marketing tools, but how do you know what marketing strategy will work best for your company? When it comes to creating an effective product overview, testimonial, case study or tip video, the bottom line is you first need to have a clear plan and goal for the final product.

In his article, “Is Your YouTube Strategy DOA?” Chris Slowik reveals tactics some very successful companies use to succeed on YouTube. Slowik also provides 12 specific tips to optimize your YouTube video so you can build relationships with your customers and gain repeat business.

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Is Your YouTube Strategy DOA?

We’ve all been there. The conversation goes like this:

Me: “We need to be on YouTube.”

You: “OK, why?”

Me: “I don’t know, everyone else is.”

You: “Oh yeah, good point. What should we do?”

Me: “Ummmm, I guess we should just upload some content and hope for the best.”

The truth is that YouTube is the third most popular site on the Internet, behind Google and Facebook. Statistics claim that a massive 3 billion videos are viewed every day and 120 million people in the US visit the site each month — an incredible 57% reach of the US audience (Source: Nielsen/NetView Audience Profile Report, May 2011).

Since we know this is a key marketing channel, where a lot of potential customers are spending time, why waste valuable impressions with a poorly crafted plan or no plan at all? Both B2C and B2B companies can succeed on YouTube, but that success depends on developing a strategy early on, before you start uploading random content and “hoping for the best.” After all, how will you know you have succeeded if there’s no plan to go back and check against?

The most important part of any strategy is the goal — in essence, what do you want to accomplish? A strategy must also contain measurable objectives. Let’s look at possible strategies for both B2B and B2C companies.

Business-To-Business (B2B) Strategies

Typically, a B2B company’s goals are centered on gaining relationships and generating qualified leads, but is YouTube the best channel for accomplishing these? No, it’s not the best channel, but it can move you toward those goals, and YouTube’s reach can’t be ignored.

It is helpful to see what tactics successful companies use. Corning Incorporated, a producer of specialty glass and ceramics, turned to YouTube in early 2011 when they needed a conversation-starter between their product design department and R&D organizations. The result? The 5 minute video “A Day Made of Glass,” which takes place in the future and shows multiple conceptual ways Corning glass products can be incorporated in everyday life to create a seamless flow.

The video premiered at Corning’s investor conference on February 4, 2011, and two months later had been viewed 12 million times. Brand awareness for Corning was dramatically boosted, and the company reported that the video helped form new relationships with partners and potential new customers. Of course, not all B2B companies are dealing with an operating budget similar to Corning’s, but the key is that they had a goal, devised a way to reach that goal, and were able to measure its success.

For B2B companies that don’t have the resources to create an awesome video like this one, what are some other strategies? If you have a goal of increasing product knowledge and trust, your company could include product overview videos, testimonial videos, and case study videos. If your goal involves becoming an industry expert, possibilities might include industry-specific tip videos that showcase your company as a thought-leader.

Business-To-Consumer (B2C) Strategies

The B2C space for YouTube is easier for marketers to crack, but a strategy with goals and objectives is just as important. Funny, quirky videos might get lots of views, but will they sell your product in the long run? Possibly, and possibly not. B2C YouTube strategies need to focus on repeat customers, as sales cycles are much shorter than in the B2B space.

The doughnut giant Krispy Kreme has a few videos doing a good job on YouTube. One of them is only 17 seconds long, but with a title like “Krispy Kreme (200 calories),” even if you don’t have 17 free seconds in your busy life to watch a donut being glazed and then eaten, you get the full story just from the title.

Google, while not a traditional B2C company, is employing tactics on their YouTube channel that can easily be applied by many B2C companies. When Google+ first debuted, many wondered why they should use it instead of that other social networking site (which will remain nameless). Google chose to have short, focused videos that each showcased one key feature of Google+. Their YouTube channel also has videos showing tips and trick for products like Google Maps, Google Chrome, and Google Flight Search.

Google recently released an eight-minute video showing an internal search quality meeting, complete with annotations and information about who is talking. The important aspect here is that they are offering truly unique content that is professionally produced, yet doesn’t come across as a sales pitch. As such, any B2C company can learn a lot about possible strategies for YouTube from Google’s approach.

Hosting And Optimization On YouTube

Whether you operate in the B2B or B2C environment, the optimization of YouTube channels and content should be approached in a similar fashion. Before we dig into best practices for such optimization, be aware that different hosting options exist to get your content onto YouTube. The first — and most obvious — option is to upload your videos to YouTube. Then, if you want your video on Vimeo and/or DailyMotion as well, upload it again to your accounts on those sites. But there is another option to consider. Services such as OneLoad and Hey!Spread offer a one-stop solution for distributing your video content to all the large video sites. Although these are paid services, their solution provides maximum visibility and OneLoad also offers centralized analytics.

Once your hosting is sorted, to ensure that you get the most out of your video placement, consider optimizing your efforts on the sites on which you have placed your video. The sidebar highlights a dozen practices to implement with videos placed on YouTube.

12 Optimization Tips For YouTube Video

  1. Set up a YouTube profile and create a custom YouTube channel.
  1. Customize your YouTube channel toward the target audience.
  1. Choose the right category for each video.
  1. Use keyword-rich video titles. For insight, use the YouTube Keyword tool and check suggested results that appear when you start typing a search query in YouTube.
  1. Include the word “video” in the title to help Google rank, since people commonly type “video of …” when they want to see a video.
  1. Include transactional and informational keyword phrases like “how to,” “what is,” “buy,” “free,” etc.
  1. Add a call to action at the end of your video. Consider using YouTube’s annotation feature for this.
  1. Include an audio transcript in the description section, especially if the video’s dialogue is content-rich. A transcript makes this content visible to search engines. Transcription services such as RAMP can help.
  1. Include a clickable URL in the beginning of the video description. YouTube doesn’t allow HTML tags in the description, but any URL entered with “http://” becomes a clickable link.
  1. Keep you video as short as possible, but remember that the goal of video is to tell a story. Ask yourself how quickly and efficiently your story can be told.
  1. Add annotations anywhere the video could use more description.
  1. Link to other relevant video on your channel via an annotation at the video’s end. Annotations can even be used to create a multi-step experience where you set up a situation in the first video and then give the user two different options for learning more, each linked to separate videos. Sesame Street’s “Sink or Float” video is a good example of this tactic.

 

Moving Beyond Traditional Promotion

The bottom line is that you should tell everyone you can possibly think of about your video in order to promote it. Views encourage rankings. So go ahead and create a dedicated Facebook page/app video channel to showcase your YouTube videos. Tweet the video at strategic times using the word “video” in the tweet (use a tool like Tweriod to see when your Twitter followers are most engaged to judge the best time to tweet). Incorporate your video in blog posts with social sharing buttons on each video. In short, however you can, spread the word about your video.

Then, if the traditional means of promoting your video aren’t working as well as you’d like, consider investing in YouTube promoted videos. Promoted videos work much like PPC ads, except YouTube is the search engine and videos, not text ads, are promoted to the top of the video search results. This is a great way of getting your content in front of a huge number of eyes. Similar to PPC, those viewing promoted videos have already typed in a search query relevant to your video.

Conclusion

Up until now, you may have felt as if your YouTube efforts were Dead On Arrival. Crafting a YouTube strategy can seem like a daunting task, but just the fact of actually having a strategy in place sets you up to be successful. Just be sure to keep in mind that any good strategy must include goals and measurable objectives. Get out of the mindset that YouTube is just a place for funny videos of monkeys riding on pigs. It is actually a place where B2B and B2C companies can generate leads and reach customers. Meanwhile, if you want to see that monkey riding a pig, you can join the more than 13 million others who have seen it at http://youtu.be/5_sfnQDr1-o.

About the Author

Chris Slowik is a Digital Analyst with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Chris helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

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