YouTube: The Golden Egg of Social Media

Probably one of the last things on most everyone’s mind when they think of ways in which to drive foot-traffic towards their respective business is YouTube. Facebook, Twitter and maybe even StumbleUpon, sure, but YouTube? Isn’t that just for, like, stupid videos?

Sure, YouTube is primarily intended to be a website for entertainment purposes, but what if more small businesses stopped looking towards YouTube as just a playground for Star Wars Kids, and instead started utilizing it as an excellent way to drive foot traffic?

That idea is not exactly a revelation, and businesses have already hopped on the YouTube train. This past superbowl, Volkswagen famously revealed their brilliant commercial that featured a tiny Darth Vader attempting to manipulate objects with The Force. It was a huge success, racking up 40 million views on YouTube alone, and driving up mentions and interactions across all of their social media endeavors. 

But Volkswagen and the various other companies that have turned to YouTube as a way to market themselves didn’t achieve success simply by throwing mundane and unappealing videos into the vicious, shark-filled waters of YouTube. They found success by crafting witty, thought-provoking and emotionally appealing videos that viewers wanted to spread around the Internet because they enjoyed every waking second of them.

Obviously, a good portion of that success is simply due to the huge marketing budgets that these large corporations typically have. Hiring Deutsch La, the brilliant minds behind “The Force” ads for Volkswagen, undoubtedly wasn’t cheap.

But fret not. Some of the most successful YouTube videos have also been some of the cheapest. Videos like Ok Go’s, “Here it Goes Again”, or “Charlie Bit My Finger” have all found phenomenal success just by creating appealing and, better yet, humorous videos that appeal to a viewer’s emotions.

Still, don’t expect that viewers will flock to a lazily put together video about your respective company. That’s an idealistic and even asinine aspiration. YouTube, like most other forms of social media, is not about strictly selling to your customers. Rather, it’s about engaging them.

They also expect videos to be useful to them. Not necessarily with a simple lesson, but with something that’s rewarding through humor or emotional appeal. Something that stimulates them intellectually and causes them to think.

And while creating videos that go viral and are spread throughout the twisted confines of the Internet is often highly luck-based, it’s also a matter of plugging away at various different methods. It’s about figuring out what will appeal to viewers on YouTube, and constantly refining efforts in order to potentially create more customers for your respective brand or company.

Fortunately, YouTube is still a relatively untapped market for small businesses. While Facebook and Twitter and, to a lesser extent, LinkedIn, have been the social media networks that most businesses have chosen to dedicate their resources towards, YouTube has become the lonely, forgotten channel that businesses simply don’t have the time to care about.

So my recommendation is to be different. To explore that marketplace and invite consumers and potential customers to view your business in an entirely new light.

In sum, create a funny video about one of your products, or run customers through a fictional narrative of your company’s brief history; just make sure that you ask yourself if the video you are about to make is actually something that your customers would find useful. Ask yourself, “do they need this?” If the answer to that question is an enthusiastic, “yes!”, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pursue it.