Have you watched YouTube videos recently to learn more about a product? If so, did the videos influence your purchase decision? If you answered “yes” to either of these two questions, you are not alone. The results of a nationwide survey that was conducted this year reveal that one in three shoppers use YouTube to look for advice, recommendations, and product reviews. Additionally, 50% of shoppers said that YouTube videos provide them with enough information and insight to turn their interest into a potential purchase.
Knowing this, now is the time to finally launch a YouTube channel for your small business, or give your existing channel a much-needed refresh with new video content, and updated links and branding elements. Both of these tasks might seem difficult and time-intensive, but they do not have to be. To help you better understand how to use YouTube for business, keep reading this blog post from Balboa Capital. It has all of the information and tips you need.
The power of video.
Video is one of the most effective ways to promote your small business and grow your brand. It allows you to showcase your products and services on a more personal level. You can also use video to promote company news, business events and special promotions, or showcase video testimonials of satisfied customers.
As Internet bandwidth continues to increase at a rapid pace across the United States, small businesses in every industry are using online video to promote their products and services. One in eight American small businesses has a YouTube channel, and they upload an average of nine new videos each year. When compared to YouTube’s overall eye-opening metrics – over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute, more than 2 billion active users, and over 40 million channels – the numbers relating to small business channels might seem small. However, many small businesses have channels with tens of thousands of followers and hundreds of thousands of video views.
If you already have a YouTube channel for your business, feel free to skip ahead to the next section. The first step in setting up your channel is to create a Google account using your Gmail address or existing email address. Visit Google’s “account creation” page to get an account. In case you did not know, Google owns YouTube, and that is why this step is required.
Once you have a Google account, you will automatically have a personal YouTube account, but do not use this account for your small business. Reason being, your personal account cannot be customized with your company’s name or brand. So, visit your channels page and create a “Brand Account.” Your brand account name should be the name of your company.
Customizing your channel.
Now that you have your brand account set up, it is time to customize your channel. This is an extremely important task that can make or break your channel. If your channel does not mirror the look and feel of your company’s brand, people might not find it in search. Moreover, if people find your channel and it is devoid of any branding or information, they will probably move on and not watch any of your videos.
To begin, click on the “customize channel” link in the drop-down menu. Your channel will appear on-screen with visual cues that indicate what you can edit and customize to your liking. You can add your company logo (channel icon) and a banner image (channel banner), and there are recommended sizes and file formats that appear on-screen for each.
Once your logo and artwork have been uploaded, it is time to craft a channel description for the “about” section of your profile. If you do not have an in-house marketing writer or SEO specialist, do not worry. You can write a brief bio of your company along with a welcome message. One popular strategy among small businesses is to include a mission statement.
The last order of business, prior to uploading videos, is to add links to your company website and social media profiles. This is a great way to gain subscribers and generate traffic to your site.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a full-blown production crew and fancy equipment to create videos for your business. Today’s smartphones and tablets are equipped with high-quality cameras and excellent microphones. There are also a number of budget-friendly action cameras to choose from that can produce professional-looking videos. To keep your videos steady and even during the recording process, invest in a low-cost tripod or gimbal.
When testing your video playback, pay close attention to the audio quality. Research shows that people stop watching a video within the first ten seconds if it has poor-quality audio or background noise. If you are making a video with lots of camera movement, such as a product demonstration or a tour of your office, the audio might end up patchy or have inconsistent levels. To prevent this from happening, invest in an external microphone.
Outdoor lighting tips.
Perfect lighting can really help set your videos apart and keep people watching them. Natural lighting usually works well outdoors, so long as the sun is not shining into your camera and causing sun flares or haze. If your video will feature someone talking outdoors, pick an area that does not have direct sunlight shining in their eyes, as this can cause them to look uncomfortable while speaking. An area with soft lighting is best.
Indoor lighting tips.
Indoor lighting can be tricky due to a number of different factors. First, the type of indoor light sources and/or light bulbs will directly affect the white balance in your video. LED lights, incandescent lights and compact fluorescent lights each deliver different color temperatures and color renderings in video recordings. So, you might have what appears to be a perfectly natural-looking indoor setting with warm colors, and end up seeing strong blue hues in your video playback.
To prevent this from happening, pick an area in your office that has daylight bulbs, as they deliver natural-looking light. If this is not an option, you can purchase inexpensive light kits in many different sizes, and for a variety of applications. There are lights that attach to computers, tablets and action cameras. Soft box continuous lighting kits cost more, but they deliver light to a much larger space, and with more consistency.
Editing your videos.
Forget Hollywood! You can edit your YouTube videos on your computer with ease. Mac computers and most PCs come with free video editing software installed. These editing programs are basic, but they have all of the bells and whistles you need to create an eye-catching and engaging video. You just drag and drop your video footage, splice it where needed, adjust the audio level, and add things like text overlays and an intro and exit slide.
Exporting your videos.
YouTube accepts over ten different file formats, but the best options are .mov and .mp4 in high definition (HD) video (1920 x 1080 px) at 30 frames per second (FPS). When exporting your video, use the 16:9 aspect ratio. This will allow your video to look nice on desktop computers, smartphones and tablets, and on the various social networks you promote the videos on. If you have an Instagram account, you will need to create a shorter version of your video (60 seconds or less) in order to post it on Instagram Stories.
Optimizing for search.
Once you have finished making a video for your small business, it is time to upload it to your YouTube channel. Simply uploading it will not ensure that people will find it, so here are some video optimization tips. Click the “upload video” button your YouTube page and upload your video. Depending on the length of your video and its file size, this can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to half an hour. While your video is being added, a “settings” window will appear. This is where you can add a video title and description, and a thumbnail preview that people see prior to clicking your video. In the advanced settings section, you can add tags (keywords that will help people find your video in search), the video recording date, and the video category, among others.
Preview and publish.
Your YouTube video will not go live until you publish it. Once you have entered all of the basic and advanced video settings and double-checked them for possible typos, choose an option from the list of privacy settings. If everything looks good, select the “publish” button and get ready to rack up views. You can promote your video by sharing it on social media – just copy and paste the YouTube link.