Nearly every business is on Facebook and Twitter, but YouTube is often overlooked as a social media site. That’s a missed opportunity, because video is a powerful tool for creating authentic communication and engaging online audiences.
Here are three reasons why:
1. The YouTube Reach
You may think of Youtube as a haven for cute cats and hilarious fails, but it’s also a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. In the United States, more than 100 million people watch web videos every day. And worldwide, people watch approximately 4 billion YouTube videos daily.
There are many ways that sustainability enthusiasts use online video, and if you’re not on YouTube already, you’re missing a big part of the conversation. Industry professionals highlight corporate sustainability programs. Consumers upload product reviews and search for eco-friendly how-tos and DIYs. Media providers distribute news reports that praise or pan the CSR efforts of brands.
In response to this rapidly expanding audience, online video advertising grew 20% in 2011. Google AdWords now applies to in-video advertising, and many brands have success paying to promote videos or teaming up with popular content producers who are already reaching their target audience.
2. Search, Search, Search
Of course, you don’t need to pay to succeed on YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine in the world, after Google. Through smart SEO – maximizing tags, titles, descriptions and more – you can get a lot of organic referral traffic on the site, and on other search engines.
And while there is one hour of video uploaded to YouTube every second, there’s still much less competition for strategic keywords. On Google, for example, the term “Sustainability Consultant” returns 1.86 million web pages, but only 9,000 video hits. Similarly, “Corporate Social Responsibility” returns 130 million web pages, but only 230 thousand videos.
The bottom line is, online video is the easiest way to be competitive in search. People are doing more video searches, and videos are showing up more and more on the front page of regular Google searches, leapfrogging text-based results that have been online much longer.
3. YouTube is Easier Than You Think
Many brands aren’t on YouTube because they don’t have any video content and they don’t know how to make any. The good news is, you can have a successful, engaging YouTube channel without ever creating a single video.
The easiest thing to do is create playlists of other users’ videos that you think would be of interest to your audience. These could include how-to videos that address your customers’ questions, news reports about your company, or PSAs related to your issues.
And even if you’ve never made a video before, there are lots of projects you can easily make in-house, such as an online animation, a customer testimonial or a virtual tour. Many great videos have been made with nothing more than a cell phone and some creativity.