Videos have become a massive part of the web. Ten years ago, loading a web video was a painful experience. You’d either need to download a hefty file and play it on your computer, or you’d have to install some sort of proprietary player that would take an age to install or load (I’m looking at you, Apple QuickTime). Fortunately, YouTube came along and made .flv streaming the norm. Even Google saw the potential, which is why they bought YouTube and dropped their own “Google Videos” service.
It’s the immediacy that attracts. You don’t need to read a lot of text, and it’s a lot easier to instil personality in a video than within writing. This is why people would rather watch a film adaptation of a book rather than read the book; nobody has the time to read through swathes of text. Give me the information now!
The trouble is that a lot of businesses think that all videos have to be “viral”, which is daft. The chances of creating a viral video are slim, unless it just happens to capture a certain zeitgeist or be circulated by the right people. This is why the front page of YouTube is populated by meme videos, parodies, video games and pranks. I can see one video for a new car on there, and I bet it’s got some sort of joke in it.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use YouTube though. Did you know it’s the second most popular search engine next to Google?
So how can you use this to your advantage? If you offer a service or have something to show, chances are that putting out a few videos showcasing your wares or what you do might just be enough to show people that you know what you’re talking about. However, it can go the other way! Here are some golden rules:
•Don’t do it on the cheap – you wouldn’t want to sit through a pixelated video that someone recorded on their webcam, so neither would anyone else. Get a proper camera. Someone who knows how to use it would be a bonus.
•Keep it short – just because YouTube extended their ten minute time limit years ago, it doesn’t mean that you need to fill half an hour. Try and keep it short and to the point. Do multiple short videos if you’ve got a lot to say: that way you have a series!
•Get someone to edit it – it’s one thing to record a video that doesn’t look naff, it’s another to present it properly. Jump cuts and bad sound quality just reflect poorly on you.
•Aim for the niche – if your business fills a particular nook, don’t make your videos generic to try and appeal to everyone. If I search for videos on cleaning my sink, I want just that. I don’t want to hear about sinks, what a sink is and how your product is perfect for cleaning sinks. I’ll see that you know what you’re talking about just from you telling me how to clean the sink – you’ll become the authority figure. If you’re an authority, it heavily implies to me that your product might just be the bee’s knees.
YouTube isn’t on par with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook yet, but that’s a terrible reason to ignore its potential.