Youtube is hot: thousands of videos are uploaded and millions are viewed every day on the video channel. Do you think Youtube is only for bored junior high school kids? It’s not! Many small businesses are creating videos and uploading them to Youtube. Why?
I think it is a combination of the popularity of Youtube and the ease of using Flip Cams and other small, point-and-shoot cameras. Today, videos don’t even need editing or fancy soundtracks to become popular.
Della Mendenhall, whose family owns the Indianapolis florist Gillespie Florist, thinks videos are great for showing her every changing and beautiful stock. She often takes her video camera into the flower cooler to show what flowers are available that day, and posts the video on her Facebook page and at her Google Local site.
Another benefit of video: you can use it in multiple places, not just Youtube. And Youtube videos and easily be embedded into your website.
The Roger Smith Hotel in New York often posts videos on their Website, Roger Smith Life. Videos a feature footage of different events at the Hotel. They’ve created so many videos that they developed a Roger Smith Hotel YouTube channel, further extending their reach into the social media world.
One video of the Hotel dog Harry making his bed, generated a huge amounts of hits on YouTube. In fact, the Hotel believes that the Harry video was their first ‘viral’ success.
What does this mean, to “go viral?”
Basically, it means that after you post a video, it spreads around the Internet like wildfire by being reposted at other peoples’ blogs and websites, and from people emailing the link to their friends. Beth Colla and Tim Ferguson own a food truck in Los Angeles, and created videos of their kittens to generate excitement about their new business.
The videos generated a huge response on YouTube and, in a stroke of viral luck, were posted at the popular website “The Huntington Post”. Now, customers expect Beth and Tim to bring the kittens in the truck, and are often disappointed when they find that the kittens stayed home.
Like our other business owners, the food truck owners and the hotel marketers have no idea why their videos become so popular but think it might have been due to a few things: the videos are fairly short (about a minute or so long), they are humorous (kittens wearing hats and eating ice cream, dogs making their beds), people tend to connect with animals, and the videos make people laugh.
Your customers also create videos: some businesses sponsor contests, and others just enjoy the free publicity. One drive-through coffee shop owner told me that customers often record and upload their experience at the service window. Since the shop’s focus is on service, the owner feels these videos can extend their core value to many potential customers.
There are a few cautionary tales about using video. To do well, they need to have a professional look. While editing is relatively easy if you have a basic knowledge of your computer’s software, it can also take time away from other activities. Most businesses focus on short, simple, one-shot videos to overcome this problem.
There’s also becoming an ‘American Idol’ mentality of video marketing: businesses can spend so much time trying to create the one video that will explode onto the Internet when that energy might bet better spent on other communications.
Finally, it is very difficult to get a videos removed from YouTube, so if for any reason your video has a short ‘shelf life’, you might consider other options for it. But think about trying video. And if you have used it, why not share the link in the comments section?
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