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Is YouTube Worth Your Time?

march14-youtube-02Before there was social media as we know it today, there was YouTube. You know – YouTube – the source for viral dance videos, cute cats, and some stuff that we just don’t know how to describe.

Given that, it’s understandable that you may have overlooked YouTube as a viable option for your small business. I mean, when the hottest video of the week is of a toddler singing in her car seat, how can your small business also find success at YouTube?

The truth is that you can – and you may have noticed Southern Maryland Weddings testing the waters of YouTube, too. Video is a compelling medium for telling your story or sharing your expertise. Here are some reasons why we think you should give it a shot – and a few tips for getting started.

Getting to Know You

In a way that the printed word cannot, video helps clients and potential clients get to know you and your business. Videos add personality to your business and let you relate to viewers on a more personal level than print. People like to see you and hear you before they decide to call you or hire you – video lets them do that from home.

Social Butterfly

YouTube isn’t just a collection of videos – it’s also a social networking site. Viewers can comment and rate videos, and you can interact with and follow other video makers’ channels on YouTube the same way you follow other business’ pages on Facebook.

Plus, posting a video to YouTube is just the start of your social activity. It’s easy to post videos to your other social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – and you can post them on your blog and website. You can even share them in email newsletters – perhaps you’ve noticed videos in the last couple of newsletters we’ve sent you!

Traffic, Traffic, Traffic

YouTube gets HUGE traffic. We mean huge – one study said it’s the second-most popular search engine after Google, which owns YouTube, by the way. People go there looking for information and answers to their questions. And, once they’re there, they tend to stick around and watch videos. Plus, thumbnails from videos show up in web searches, and many users would rather watch a video than read something online.

Oh, and yes – YouTube is all over mobile devices with its own app for smart phones and tablets. It’s easy for viewers to watch videos no matter where they are!

Where Do I Start?

If you’re ready to make the leap to YouTube for your business, it’s easy to get started.

First, create an account. If you have a Google or Gmail account for your business, you can use that to set up your YouTube channel. If not, you’ll have to create a new one.

Second, personalize your presence on YouTube. Each user gets a home page for his or her channel, and you can customize that page with your branding, logo, and colors. You can also add information like email and links for your website and social media. Don’t just have a generic page!

Third, think about the video you already have for your business. How are you using it? If it’s not online anywhere, load it to YouTube.

Fourth, brainstorm ways you can use video to promote your business. Are there terms or concepts within your industry that need to be explained? Advice you can offer clients and potential clients? What are the most commonly asked questions from your customers? Any of these can become video topics.

Fifth, keep it short. Anything longer than three minutes is probably going to lose people – if they even get started. If it looks like your video is going to be longer than that, consider breaking it up into two (or more) videos. Make it a miniseries!

Last, stay on top of it. Like blogging, YouTube works best when you’re consistent and keep at it. Don’t go gung-ho and post something three times a week for a month and then disappear. Schedule your video posts at a reasonable pace – maybe once a week or twice a month – and then keep at it. Don’t burn yourself out at the beginning. Your good ideas will keep.