According to Tad Friend, writing about YouTube in the New Yorker in 2014:
“YouTube was adults with camcorders shooting kids being adorably themselves. It was amateur hour. Nowadays, YouTube is alarmingly professional. It has millions of channels devoted to personalities and products, which are often aggregated into “verticals” containing similar content.”
Who would have predicted that a revolution in digital communication could have such a profound impact on how we connect with people. And, who would have predicted that the way we conduct business would drastically change? And, to make things even more convoluted, the capabilities and functions of digital communication are changing almost daily (well, not quite daily).
Tad Friend suggests that YouTube is alarmingly professional. However, the pipeline for cute baby and cuddly cats videos will never get shut off. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, just to name a few have expanded their capabilities. Twitter, besides having the ability to link to other (content) sites, is now a platform to receive breaking news. You can set up your own Twitter business page, too. Pinterest now has a blogging feature. Instagram is now a good place to find recipes. LivingSocial has moved away from a deal-of-the-month platform to a promoter of concerts, festivals, and other events. Small businesses that advertised on LivingSocial now have to look elsewhere to advertise.
For those of you data junkies, check out some data I from YouTube’s website:
- YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
- YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube is up 60% y/y, the fastest growth we’ve seen in 2 years.
- The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% y/y since March 2014.
- The number of users coming to YouTube who start at the YouTube homepage, similar to the way they might turn on their TV, is up more than 3x y/y.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this information and you don’t know what to do with it, you’re not alone. Some folks take this data ‘with a grain of salt.’
However, if you’re thinking about using YouTube videos as a vehicle to promote yourself, your product, or your service, ask yourself the following questions:
- Producing a YouTube video is not about you (MeTube) and how great your product or service is. It’s about sharing information with your customers and addressing critical customer problems. Will the video address your customers’ most critical questions?
- Who exactly is my audience?
- Why do I think YouTube is the best way to communicate my message?
- How do I make sure the video is seen by my customers/prospects?
- Do I have compelling and fresh content that my customers need?
- In terms of producing a video, have I considered how much time, energy, and money it will cost?
- Who is going to write, design and produce the video?
- How long should the video be?
- Should I embed my video in my website?
My job is to ask you the tough questions. Your job is to make an informed decision as to whether you should use YouTube to promote your business.