Photo: John Hafner
While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for retailers, many are also discovering the free video-sharing service has scores of other uses — all of which are also free for the taking.
Employee recruiting, product/service how-tos and dissemination of news are all increasing in popularity on YouTube as retailers and others transform the medium into a Swiss Army Knife of business communications.
Michael Miller, author of YouTube for Business, says, “If you’ve never visited the YouTube website, you’ve missed out on the hottest thing on the internet today.”
Unquestioningly, one of the major reasons archery retailers and others are flocking to YouTube is its runaway popularity. Just a blip on the internet a half-dozen years ago, the video-sharing service has since rocketed to one of the most visited websites.
In fact, YouTube currently boasts “more than a billion users,” according to Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, YouTube’s parent company. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Plus, the online video-sharing service has been localized in 88 countries and made available in 76 languages.
Moreover, half of all YouTube views now take place on mobile devices, according to the company. And more than a million user-created channels in dozens of countries are generating ad revenue from the service.
Indeed, among consumers aged 13-24, online video is now more popular that traditional TV, according to a recent study by Hunter Qualitative Research.
The age group studied spends 11.3 hours a week watching free online video, as compared to 8.3 hours a week watching traditional TV.
Besides its unquestionable popularity with young people, YouTube’s ease of entry and low cost also make it hard for retailers to resist. Virtually anyone with basic PC skills can upload a video to YouTube — for free — in a matter of minutes.
And since YouTube’s videos are generally viewed on a relatively small viewing screen, there’s no reason for retailers to endure painfully large budgets for video production costs. In fact, the subtleties of high-end video production are generally lost on YouTube, says Miller.
Plus, retailers are saving significant coin using YouTube by shifting hosting responsibilities for their company videos to the online video service. Ordinarily, a company needs to pay additional transmission charges anytime a website visitor views a video hosted on the company’s website. But when that same video is uploaded to YouTube’s servers, businesses need never pay transmission costs — no matter how many times that video is viewed.
All told, it’s a frothy mix of remarkable popularity, ease-of-entry and non-existent hosting costs that have the wheels of innovation spinning at countless businesses.
Here are five free and easy ways to use YouTube to benefit your bottom line:
This is without a doubt the most popular retailer use of YouTube, and it can be wildly successful. Businesses with shoestring promotional budgets have become overnight stars on the service, often with zany and off-the-wall marketing pitches.
Besides using humor, retailers can also use the marketing side of YouTube to give video tours of their facilities. Or, they can feature video interviews with key staff to reassure current and prospective customers that they’re going to be doing business with a highly professional, highly people-friendly staff.
In addition, YouTube’s free analytical tool, YouTube Analytics, allows you to test the marketing punch of your videos. The tool’s metrics include the overall popularity of your video, who’s viewing your video, where those viewers are coming from on the web and what keywords they’re using to find your video.
Given that many companies already have videos touting their businesses as inviting places to work, posting those same productions on YouTube is a no-brainer. “Don’t limit yourself to a single, long puff video,” Miller says. “Produce separate videos for individual departments, as well as to illustrate company values, employee benefits, facilities and the like.”
Any company can leap well beyond the image of faceless, industry player with on-the-fly videos which feature customer service people answering frequently asked questions. Sure, many businesses already have written FAQs on their websites. But there is something to be said for going the extra mile and offering the personal touch that’s inherent in the video medium.
4. News Video Clips
Expanding? Renovating your range? Moving to a new, bigger location? Stocking a new bow line? Announce your news through video.
The beauty of posting your business’ news to YouTube is that your information is not sliced, diced or in any other way whittled down to a mere shadow of its former glory. Plus, if you have a Facebook or Instagram site, you can cross-promote the two online presences by posting shop news on Facebook with a link to your supporting video on YouTube.
5. Product/Service How-Tos
These videos can serve a dual purpose for your store, offering detailed info for novices, while serving as a promotional spot for looky-loos.
In addition, you can use how-to videos to alleviate common archery problems your customers run into. Do your customers know how often to wax their crossbow string, or how to properly install a lighted nock? Prevent problems before they happen by creating detailed instructional videos and sharing them on social media.