The average internet user watches hundreds of YouTube videos each month. As a business owner, the opportunities to reach potential clients through the service are endless. But what’s the best use of your resources? Below are some suggestions for making the most of YouTube to help promote your organization and reach your target audience.
1) Be Real – People know when they’re being sold to. To avoid having the BS detectors go nuclear and ticking off the viewer, make sure the content you create is real. You can still promote your product and support your brand, but if you’re overtly trying a hard sell the likelihood of conversion is pretty low.
2) Be Educational – One of the main reasons people watch online video is to learn something new. If you establish your company as a viable source for valuable information, you’re more likely to bring visitors back over and over. For example, suppose you’re an all-purpose home improvement company. Your website will list all the services you offer – roofing, electrical, plumbing, and so on – but a video could offer useful information such as how often to change the batteries in a smoke detector. A simple video on the subject would take just a few minutes to shoot and upload. Now you’re providing value, which leads to . . .
3) Be Valuable – Shoot a short video answering basic questions about the industry you cover. Or review a new product. Using the home improvement example above, you could film a clip about the average length of time it takes to replace a sink. Maybe there’s a new type of shingle being used on a lot of new homes. You could talk about how it stacks up to other products.
With video, you’re limited only by your imagination and willingness to think outside the box. The steps above provide a solid foundation for using YouTube for your business.
Let me know some of your tips for YouTube for business.
In the social media realm, Facebook is still the top dog. Despite the seemingly daily changes, it’s the easiest to join, has the largest base, and is most integrated with other applications. But the social tool that perhaps offers the most immediate gratification and value is Twitter.
At last count, Twitter had about 30 million users. It’s fast, fun, direct, and one of the quickest ways to meet new people. Want to tell an author how much you liked his book? Send him a tweet. Chances are if he’s savvy, he’ll answer you back. Trying to connect with a cool new band? Tweet out how much you love their newest song – they might retweet it to their followers.
A lot of tools are available to maximize your Twitter use. Here are three of my favorites:
1) BufferApp – One common complaint is that people don’t always remember to tweet. With BufferApp, you can schedule when you tweet. Sit down for a half an hour and queue up a dozen.
2) Twitter Grader – Unless you’re a celebrity, building a Twitter following is an organic process. But you need to work on it and accept that it will likely take some time. To check on your progress, you can use Twitter Grader, which will give you a score to gauge your influence. It’s like Klout, but Twitter-specific.
3) Twibes – One of the best parts of Twitter is finding like-minded people to share your interests. With Twibes, you can locate those people and join the discussion. In the process, you’ll build your following and influence.
Are you an active Twitter user? What are some of your favorite Twitter tools?
The big news in the social media space earlier this month was Facebook’s $1 Billion (yes, billion) acquisition of photo-sharing service Instagram. After the online screams of the agonized Instagram users who feared Facebook would crush their beloved system died down, the big question that experts began to ask was, “Why?”
One billion dollars is a lot of scratch to pay for an application that currently makes no money. Making that money back is going to take some time. Some postulated that it was to grab hold of Instagram’s estimated 30 million users, but that makes little sense. Facebook is already a social behemoth – another 30 million users isn’t worth the cost. Others suggested it was just to keep Google from grabbing hold. I get the idea of snatching up the hot product before your competition gets there first. But, again, $1 BILLION! Sorry, not buying it. The only explanation that seems to make even a little bit of sense is the desire to integrate a good mobile service into your platform. Facebook, whether they’ll admit to it or not, is pretty lousy at mobile. People use it but they don’t like it. Buying Instagram forces users to spend more time on with Facebook in the mobile environment, which means more opportunities to make money from them.
Still, it’s hard to escape that number. One billion dollars. It seems almost comical. I wonder if the creators of Instagram imagined something like this could ever happen. Most people are still scratching their heads.
What do you think of the purchase? Forward-thinking or pure folly?
Trends are exactly that. Yesterday’s fashions are tomorrow’s punch lines. Flash is, well, Flash.
Where I feel minimalist design and grand photography will still dominate the Web landscape, a few other trends will be more prevalent.
A new year is upon us. With that in mind, here are my top 3 web design trends for 2012.
1. Bigger and Better Social Networking — Any site without all the core social networking portals built in is obsolete. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on — they’re all integral to creating the most engaging, well-rounded site you can deliver. If you’re not part of the growing social network, you may as well shut down. Maybe that’s a little harsh.
2. Interesting Typography — The old standbys just don’t cut it anymore. Web designers need to use fonts that fly. Designers should experiment with lines and shadows and look for something new. I love that charge when I see an interesting font in an unexpected environment. In 2012, I think the boundaries will continue to expand.
3. Art for Art’s Sake — Some of the best sites I’ve seen recently showcased orginal art and illustrations. The web comic aesthetic opens up so many new doors. With original illustrations, your options are unlimited. After you take a look at something that features glorious originality, the basic stock images just don’t cut it anymore. The everyday graphic is riddled with unappealing nostalgia. Designers are really going to get creative in 2012.
Here are some other Web trends to consider.
What do you see on the 2012 horizon? What trends do you see popping to the forefront of Web design?
The “next big thing” on the web is going to be based around location-based services. It’s already easy to see them starting to pop up all over the Internet. Google released Latitude not too long ago. Twitter recently unveiled a location feature that allows users to attach a location to each of their tweets. Other services like Foursquare and Gowalla give users the ability to inform their friends of where they are, in case anyone want to join them. Even Facebook is in the exploratory process. (They referenced it as far back as this blog post in 2008.) None of the services are using location in exactly the same way right now, but it seems like Foursquare’s approach is one of the most interesting. Here’s an example: if you decide to spend a night out on the town for New Year’s Eve, you can update your profile with your current location, and your friends would know where to join you at any point during the evening. You may also notice that one of your friends is at another restaurant, prompting you to change your plans and meet them there.
Here’s how Foursquare describes their service:
People use foursquare to “check-in”, which is a way of telling us your whereabouts. When you check-in someplace, we’ll tell your friends where they can find you and recommend places to go & things to do nearby. People check-in at all kind of places – cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices.
You decide who your friends are, and they are the only ones who can see where you’ve checked in.
The cool thing about these services, from a business perspective, is that unlike Twitter, everything revolves around the location. Your business can be the center of attention! Foursquare has created a mechanism for venues to add specials to their profile, so customers who visit them come back more often to compete for points, discounts, and/or freebies using Foursquare. One example of this is Scotty’s Brewhouse, which has a pair of locations in Indianapolis. Their special:
Show that you’ve checked-in on Foursquare and get $10 OFF every 10th Visit! Must spend a minimum of $8 per visit.
Foursquare automatically keeps track of how many times users have checked in at Scotty’s, so all they have to do is show their phone to the server to prove this is their tenth visit, and they get $10 off their bill. Meanwhile, they have already spent a minimum of $72 getting to that point (nine visits x minimum $8), and most likely quite a bit more. Bjava Coffee and Tea offers 50 cents off a latte for every Foursquare check in. I’ve never personally been to Bjava, but I know about their special because Foursquare let me know about it when I checked next door at Puerto Vallarta during dinner a few nights ago. Foursquare is advertising on your behalf, to people who are already in your immediate area!
It’s a great time to get involved with these location based services, before everybody else is doing it. The cost is negligible, and your exposure is higher, because none of your neighbors are doing it yet. It’s easy for you to add your business if someone else hasn’t already. If you are interested in integrating location based services into your marketing plan, but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to shoot us an email and we’d be happy to help you out.