Drinking the YouTube Kool-Aid

Currently, large and small businesses are familiarizing themselves with social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and are increasingly using them as tools to connect with customers.  According to a Palo Alto Networks study, the number of organizations using either Facebook or Twitter as an engagement tool is estimated to have leapt 250 percent in the last six months, and more and more businesses are deciding to jump aboard the social media bandwagon.

Although Facebook and Twitter are important tools for companies to be involved with, YouTube is also an extremely relevant tool and can be used for more than just video sharing.  YouTube and user-generated videos are now becoming an effective tool for engaging customers around the world.

It is easy to think that YouTube strategies are only for large companies such as Nike or Home Depot, but the reality is that no matter what the size of the company, businesses can connect with customers utilizing video.  At the simplest level, companies can now build their own YouTube channels, customize their design and add as many videos as they would like including commercials and sales-related videos.

To bring more value to your customers through YouTube and video content, companies have gone beyond just uploading videos and have begun to share valuable insight via video.  One example is Toyota, who recently used YouTube in the wake of its recent recalls to provide advice about the problem and to inform customers about recall details.  These videos were a way for the executive team to personally provide its loyal customers the valued information they were looking for.  This was a cost-effective way for the company to get out a message in a timely matter and really connect with the mass audience.

From the opposite spectrum, companies are also using YouTube to connect and engage customers through contests and sweepstakes.  One example is TCBY, who recently kicked off its 30th anniversary through a YouTube contest.  Customers were asked to submit a short YouTube video showcasing their love for TCBY and in return, one lucky fan would win free TCBY for a year.  A simple and fun promotion is a great way to garner support from your customers.

Another fun company example is Blendtec, a blender company who has made their brand popular off its YouTube series “Will it Blend?”  These inexpensive videos not only are a fun way for the company to show their product, but it was a great way for the company, who was doing a lot of business to business work, to connect with consumers directly and sell their blenders to a larger audience.

As an agency, Trevelino/Keller has also taken the time to create some YouTube videos, including a flash presentation and even a “CrashMob” video from a social media presentation.  Since Google’s acquisition of the popular video sharing site, the numbers of videos and searches have skyrocketed and it’s important for all public relations professionals to not commit all their social media time to Facebook and Twitter and to YouTube in mind when making recommendations to your clients.

By Kelly Ronna



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