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When most people think of YouTube, they usually think of it purely as an entertainment platform – a place to watch trailers for new movies or the latest video clip that just went viral on the Internet. But YouTube is actually emerging as a powerful platform to increase sales for your business.
One of the most popular methods of using YouTube is to partner with video influencers, usually top vloggers (“video bloggers”) or emerging celebrities who post regular videos on YouTube and have a huge built-in audience. This is particularly common in industries like beauty and fashion, where people can become “style influencers” literally overnight.
As an up-and-coming fashion brand, then, you’d want to build relationships with these YouTube influencers. If you have product samples, you could give them to these influencers in the hopes they’ll mention you in a review of, say, upcoming Spring fashion trends. Just a single video might have a huge impact on your sales.
YouTube content marketing
Another increasingly popular tactic involves content marketing, or the creation of high-quality content that’s intended to attract eyeballs. What makes this content so hard to do right is that it shouldn’t come across as blatantly promotional. Thus, say you’re a big home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowe’s – you wouldn’t want to just run 30-second commercials at your YouTube account.
Instead, you’d perhaps do something like run a series of “How To” home improvement videos that teach people how to do things around the house. At the end of the video, you’d (ahem) provide a list of all the materials and tools need to complete the project. The hope, of course, is that people would visit your store to buy all those materials. And, in fact, if you check out the Home Depot YouTube channel, that’s exactly what they’ve done. There’s one group of videos called “Homeowner Basics” and another group of videos called “Home Decorators Collection – From Start to Finishes.”
In general, when it comes to content marketing, you want to think like a media company. Just as a big media company might publish video clips from a major conference it just hosted or sponsored, you might also want to think about publishing video clips from a recent industry conference where one of your employees or executives was giving a keynote speech.
Brand awareness videos
Finally, it’s impossible to talk about YouTube without mentioning how businesses can use video as a remarkably powerful brand awareness platform. If you’re a tiny or unknown brand, the easiest way to become a household name is to launch a zany, crazy video that could become a viral YouTube hit. Famous examples have included Dollar Shave Club and Blendtec (creators of the “Will It Blend?” videos).
However, be warned in advance: creating an instant viral hit is harder than it sounds. And simply building “brand awareness” doesn’t guarantee any future sales – it only means that people recognize your name and might consider you for a future purchase. After all, how many people actually went out and bought high-end Blendtec blenders?
YouTube is still by far the largest video platform, although it’s clear that recent innovations by Facebook in the video space – such as live streaming could begin to change the competitive environment. But until that happens, YouTube can be a remarkably effective way to increase sales with just a few good videos.