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Social Media Commerce: Post Videos on YouTube

YouTube, which is the social media application to host videos that you post on your website or blog, can bring a new audience to your business and help build your brand on the web. Videos are growing in popularity as a way to give more visual clues to your marketing message. One video can be viewed — delivering your message — thousands of times.

Also, when videos (and images) are titled correctly, they often organically appear on first-page search results when searches are performed for the keywords in the title. Videos are 50 times more likely to appear on first-page results than text-based posts. (The fact that Google owns YouTube might have something to do with this.)

To engage those who want to read and perhaps print information, make sure to accompany video posts with text that explains the topic and invites the viewer to watch the video.

Think about how you could engage your customer with video. If you're in real estate, for example, show tours of homes. A baker could demonstrate how products are made, a vintner could show how grapes are cultivated, and a doctor could demonstrate a particular procedure to make it less frightening.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Take the viewers behind the scenes of your business. You will be surprised at how many people are interested in the “how” of what you do.

  • Ask and answer questions. Film people asking you questions about your product or industry and you answering them.

  • Review products. If a new technology relates to your business, talk about it in an interesting way to draw in views.

  • Educate customers on your business. Do people have questions about what you do or how you do it? A heart-to-heart chat on a video goes a long way to show you’re human. You can also build trust because a prospective client can look you in the eye.

  • Provide tech support. Demonstrate how to perform various tasks with your product or service. Thousands of small businesses are embedding demonstration videos on their websites.

Keep your video short! Videos that get the most views are less than three minutes long (two minutes is even better). Blame it on today’s short attention span, but longer videos rarely get watched all the way through. Better to make a series of short videos than one long Lord of the Rings.

YouTube as a commerce platform has many examples. Here are a couple of success stories from people who used YouTube to promote their businesses.

John Lawson from 3rdPowerOutlet, an eBay and online seller, purchased a large lot of bandanas. In the process of selling them, he found that customers didn’t know how to fold them. If customers didn’t know how to make the bandanas look cool, why would they buy them?

His solution was to post a video that demonstrated how to fold a bandana (see figure). To date, the video (posted in 2007) has accumulated more than 230,000 views!

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This video is cruder than many of the professional videos you see on the web, but it is still working for 3rdPowerOutlet. He has sold tens of thousands of these babies.

eBay seller Curt Buthman put together a package of Pico projectors but found that people had no idea of their value, so he demonstrated how it all worked. In less than 9 months, his amateur video had more than 52,000 views (see figure). Unfortunately, Curt’s source dried up and he no longer stocks the package as a regular item. Hard lesson learned.

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Another benefit of posting on YouTube is the statistics you get about your audience. This figure shows one month's traffic to Curt's video. Very few of the views — 17 — came from an external website (no doubt his blog). The rest of the views demonstrate clearly what they mean by “going viral.”

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