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YouTube, It's Not Just For Videos

The Social Media Platform You Should Not Overlook

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Social networks are popping up everywhere - and most are cleverly disguised marketing machines so that you may not even be aware of how you, and information about you, are being exploited. The more you understand about the purpose and value of social networks, the better it is for you and your business.

For example, you may not think of YouTube as a social media marketing platform, but it is a lot more than just a place to post and view videos of musicians, cute babies, cats, and people doing ridiculous things. True, the media is video, however, people can subscribed to feeds, leave comments, and share videos virtually across any global network or platform.

YouTube is a place for advertisers to direct market - only instead of having to seek out potential customers and guess their interests, YouTube does it for them. By virtue of simply viewing a video about "how to sew a dress" algorithms and common marketing sense, tell potential advertisers I am interested in sewing, clothing, and might even be a mom (if I am looking at videos about making clothing for children.)

It is the same "if you came, you are interested in xyz" concept used in movie trailers for decades only amplified by millions. Because YouTube algorithms (as well as Google's) can do more than a movie trailer - they can tell how long you watched the video (partially or in its entirety), if you shared it with others (and who you shared it with so they too can be targeted) and if you looked at other videos - or left YouTube.com to go to another website.

It is no wonder that YouTube has become such a powerful social networking platform that an increasing number of savvy video bloggers have managed to quit their day jobs and earn a living from YouTube ads and opportunities.

Jenna Marbles, Blogger, Entertainer, Great YouTuber Success Example

One example of a successful "YouTuber" is Jenna Mourey, more commonly known by her pseudonym Jenna Marbles. Jenna is a young woman who (usually) sits in her bedroom entertaining millions with her quirky take on life - her mouth and ideas have few boundaries. Posting one video every Wednesday about everything from how guys pack a suitcase (as well as how girls pack a suitcase) to things she would rather be doing than cleaning her house. She takes ordinary, everyday topics and turns them upside down with frank, colorful (and often graphic) humor.

Marbles, like many other savvy YouTubers, has put her finger on the pulse of something deeply rooted in us all: humans are social creatures who like to connect with other people and will even identify with complete strangers if their message either resonates with us or outrages us.

And when we don't connect well with people, we will seek out videos of animals (cats and dogs still top the list) or the things we are interested in. When we go, "yes! That's me!" or "so true" we feel connected with complete strangers. This exploitation of human nature; finding a common interest or philosophy to identify with removes the "stranger" feeling and is the basis for every successful political campaign, and the formula for most successful comedians and sitcoms.

YouTube Marketing Mistakes

Some of the worst mistakes businesses make when considering YouTube as an advertising platform is:

They overestimate the personal value of their own product to a consumer. For example, simply offering product information without some tie into how the product can personally impact the consumer's life. When products fail to serve such a compelling personal value (i.e., isn't most toilet paper pretty similar in its personal value except for price?), marketers may appeal to a wider conscience and tie products into a global cause, either a "green" life, or by donating to a cause with every purchase.

They overestimate the level of interest in their product. Millions may drink milk, but milk is boring. The "Got Milk?" campaign was so successful because it created a meme that was reused in countless ways, social rebranding the company with every misuse.

The many faces of celebrities, athletes, musicians, and even imaginary heroes (Superman and Batman "got milk") featured in the milk campaigns helped consumers focus on something more interesting than the white dairy drink itself - milk mustaches on people we admire, are fans of, or root for.

Don't be egocentric about how wonderful and fascinating your product is all by itself. Give it a face, personality - its own voice.

Example: Will it blend? BlendTec has made its high-end, very expensive blenders more interesting by grinding everything from iPhones to skis in their blenders.

They think of YouTube as a video channel. YouTube is a social networking platform. While it is important to target those who come searching for videos, it is far more important to businesses to appreciate the social networking power at their fingertips. Videos go viral because they have mass appeal - people share them for a variety of reasons, most often because they are humorous or strike a powerful social note in the human vocal cord about a cause. Don't just make videos - make videos worth sharing.

Example: Old Spice Ad Campaigns: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Old Spice is one of many colognes on the market, it has been around a long time and simply due to his product age was often thought of as "your dad's cologne." Instead of trying to convince younger men to try the cologne, Old Spice wisely targeted women suggesting they could have a man that smells like the sexy man in Old Spice's videos that go viral every time a new one is launched.

One Final, Often Overlooked Benefit Of YouTube Marketing

Google often promotes videos (and images) higher than content websites in many searches. If your competition has a website and a video channel, they are already ahead of you in search engines.

Google "how to sew on a button" and you will most likely get videos before you get written instructions.

If you can put something into a audio visual format, you will find an entirely new audience on YouTube to begin forming a more interactive and rewarding relationship with -- those who don't have time to read instructions, but enjoy watching "how to" do anything.

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