TechnologyMar 19, 2010

“Broadcast Yourself” and Your Business on YouTube

Anna Lubinsky

Can’t afford to advertise your products and services on T.V.? Then “Broadcast Yourself” on YouTube. Many people only think of YouTube in comedic terms in reference to the popular videos of Charlie Bit My Finger, Laughing Baby, or the infamous Wedding Entrance Dance. However, YouTube can be a powerful advertising and marketing tool which will drive traffic to your ecommerce site. Wouldn’t you rather watch a video than read an article? YouTube is the nation’s third most popular website, indicating that most of America would rather watch than read.

Of the websites that made the Internet Retailer’s 2009 Hot 100 list, 13 companies are leveraging YouTube. From household names: Best Buy, Dunkin Donuts, North Face, Roxy, Journeys, and Wet Seal to less recognized, yet very successful: Crutchfield (electronics), Gaiam (yoga), Sweetwater Sound (audio), and Drs. Foster & Smith (veterinarians). Each company’s YouTube “Channel” (equivalent to a Facebook page) hosted a variety of videos from product promotion and review to instructional “how-to”s, contest advertisements to customer interviews, and event broadcasting to photo shoot montages. Check out some of their videos firsthand:

Best Buy: The Way to Lead: Making Best Buy a Great Place to Work

Gaiam: Yoga for your Head and Eyes

Dr. Foster & Smith: Why We Love Our Pets

Think Greek: Timmy O’Riley

Dunkin Donuts: Create Dunkin’s Next Donut 2010

Crutchfield: Monster In- wall Speaker Cable

Wet Seal: Kristina DeBarge Spring Photo Shoot

Not only do these companies use YouTube to promote their products and services but they also seek out ways to creatively message to, and engage with, their viewers. In an article on, Meryl Evans lists 34 Ways to Use YouTube for Business. The main three concepts discussed are leveraging the social medium to highlight expertise and thought leadership, marketing and advertising efforts, and customer service solutions. The two latter concepts are imperative to any type of commercializing campaign, but it is the expertise and thought leadership piece that can really set your business apart. Start thinking about where your company’s expertise lies.

The message and intent behind your video is very important, but not any more so than its quality and logistics. In an article in Business Week, Carmine Gallo gives advice on Making YouTube Work for Your Business. He highlights three tips to making effective videos: 1) Keep it short. YouTube co-founder, Chad Hurley, says the average viewing time for a clip is 2.5 minutes so keep your video under three minutes adhering to the age old adage “short and sweet.” 2) Make it loud and clear. Many users only use the camera microphone, hence poor overall sound. Make an investment in an external microphone to give your video professional audio. 3) Avoid bulleted PowerPoints. You have to make your videos more visual then a few lame slides. Now it is understandable that you might not have a professional film crew at your disposal, in any case if you have to use PowerPoint use more pictures than written words and splice in voice over. Make sure to provide a direct link on your e-commerce site to your YouTube channel like all sites on the Hot 100 list. Once you have uploaded videos utilize Insight, YouTube’s reporting function that helps you understand views, viewer demographics, popularity and community…it’s free!

So “Broadcast Yourself” and broadcast your company on the nation’s third most popular website. To find out how to set up an account, upload videos or customize your channel, visit YouTube for tutorial videos. And while you are at it, have yourself a laugh and check out my all time favorite video: Otter’s In Love.

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