According to YouTube themselves there are over 800 million unique users visiting their website every month. But is YouTube a good platform for business opportunities? You can undeniably make money from YouTube but can it really be used as a marketing channel in its own rights for your existing business? Can it help you generate direct leads or sales?
Probably not if you don’t use the paid advertising option; the problem being you cannot add links to your website in your videos which makes it difficult to point viewers to your online shop for example. But you can still use your free YouTube channel to get indirect sales and leads.

YouTube for business: the free option

It’s very easy to create a YouTube account and upload videos. To produce short films all you need is a little bit of time, a few ideas, a camera and basic video editing skills. One of the most user friendly software to produce movies is probably Windows Movie Maker. The great news is it’s free and extremely easy to use and it will give you an excellent end result.

Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the other options, however it can be a little bit tricky to use sometimes and a little long to process your videos. Whatever option you choose, it is recommended to save your videos in wmv for best results. Also try to use high quality audio (avoid mp3) while editing as the sound will get heavily compressed when processed on YouTube. In the examples below, YouTube is used as a simple broadcaster whose links you can share anywhere on the internet.

Channel creation & video optimisation

Name your channel after your business and customise it with a background picture to make it visually attractive. Make sure to add a description and tags to your videos. Tags are keywords for which you’d like your videos to be found. If for example you’ve uploaded a video about your business activity, you should add it as a tag along with your company name and anything that defines your video. You will also need to select a category for it, How-To & Style would be the one if you’ve produced an educational video, Entertainment or Comedy if it’s more on the funny side (even if it’s business related).

In addition, when editing your video in Windows Movie Maker for example, make sure to add your company name or logo in a corner. This will help people remember your name and increase brand awareness. Alternatively once your video has been uploaded and processed you can add annotations to it. Simply go to Video Manager/video/edit/annotations. You can edit your video to include your company name or any other information you deem useful to increase brand awareness.

Popularity & brand awareness

Although YouTube may not be ideal to generate direct leads and sales for free, it can be a great platform when it comes to brand building. All you will need is a bit of creativity and a good entertaining angle. Have a look at the top viewed videos to try and get inspiration. Funny characters, funny situations, funny stories or simply a very original idea can help your video achieve a great buzz. Or why not simply try to parody an ad from the market leader in your sector of activity?

Whatever you decide to do, be audacious, inventive and avoid being boring. Once your video has been uploaded try to share it on all other social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to get more views. If your videos achieve a high level of popularity you will also get the opportunity to make money from them with ad insertions.

Customer support & corporate videos

Educational or how-to videos can be very helpful to your customers so don’t hesitate to create some just to explain how your products work. Put them on your own website and share them with people who need visual guidance. Corporate videos are a good way to showcase your company to potential clients: give details of your processes, introduce the different departments of your company as well as key employees who will briefly explain what their role is.

Try to add video testimonials from your current clients too in this presentation. Try to make it entertaining, a succession of short dynamic sequences. Don’t make it too long, 5 minutes in total should probably be the maximum. Although these videos won’t help you achieve great popularity they can be pretty useful for customer acquisition and retention. And having them on YouTube will allow you to share them easily with everyone.

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