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YouTube: What Can it Do For a Business?

YouTube and Digital Marketing

A discussion broke out earlier this week in the office about YouTube.

We were talking about life before the site, and how as recent as 2005, we dreamed of a place on the internet which would act as a magical wishing well for whatever niche or interest you had: ‘I want to watch my favourite childhood TV programme’ or ‘I want to see that goal again’. With YouTube, these aims are achievable. Yes, we probably use it mainly for cute cat videos or the latest film trailers, but one shouldn’t exclude YouTube from any discussion of useful social media.

How Social is YouTube?

Yes, YouTube is more widely considered a video-streaming site (which it is); but there is a huge social element too, which gets lost in the shuffle. Visual items, such as video and infographics, are a lot more likely to be shared and go viral than a long, wordy article; and because social is becoming more and more decisive in SEO, creating something that people will want to show off to friends is becoming vital. YouTube users have a profile which they can play around with; made easier with its integration with Google, to the point where you can now have your own name (which will please anyone who came up with an immature username at the age of 15). Unfortunately, a strong majority of users don’t bother to contribute or even read comments, because they’ve already seen a related video that they want to click on to. You’ll have your usual trolls with their all-caps, swear word-infested arguments, but you can find some very thoughtful, well-structured back-and-forth replies as well. You just have to scroll.

Like Facebook or Twitter, you can also see relationships built up over time. Someone posts a video here and there; someone else replies with a ‘cool video dude'; more people see it, and want to throw in their two pence or expand on your reply. A comment strikes a chord and gets a “thumbs up”. If you keep at it as a creator, promoting your video on the other proper social networks, and tagging your video properly, your uploads will spread further. People will post a link on forums, or even sites like Reddit, and in turn, YouTube will register that your upload is getting a lot of views, and give it a nudge.

Soon you’ll have subscribers (i.e. followers) who’ll look forward to your next upload. They can even see it pop up by making YouTube’s homepage a port-of-call, along with Facebook or Twitter. If they’ve decided to follow you on those platforms, you can post a link there to remind them you’re still around and have uploaded fresh content. Like the concept of ‘followers’, ‘subscribers’ assumes that even if you don’t personally know someone, it’s socially acceptable to follow their activity. So whereas some businesses struggle to earn likes from those beyond their friends and family, YouTube is a bit more lax in that you don’t have to wait for someone to accept your request. This way, strangers can observe you from a distance for a while before making a decision to take on your services.

How YouTube Can Be Used By Business

Only a small majority of our clients use YouTube, because it captures a visual element of their services which they wish to demonstrate and which is not as applicable to other industries. How-To tutorial videos, for instance, builds up authority as a knowledgeable or capable source if you’re in the building trade. Viewers can put a face to a business and get to know you as a personality – which can be endearing, provided you pick the right person to represent you on camera. Videos are also an alternative route to posting images on their own on Pinterest or Facebook; putting together a slideshow to music can be easier on the eye, and show that much more effort has been put in.

If you’re interested in seeking out this, or another of our services, browse our services or get in touch with us.

 

What is “Distasteful Content”?

The recent story of an individual in America, who was “outed” for moderating content deemed to be offensive on Reddit,  has sparked yet another round in the debate as to what is and isn’t allowed online.  Should internet users suffer real-life repercussions, such as the loss of their job and negative worldwide public attention, when they haven’t done anything illegal?

This brings me to the subject of content and what you put out into the public sphere. Usually, we talk about what kind of content you should post to encourage more followers. This requires looking at the audience you wish to appeal to and developing a marketing plan, with clear objectives, strategies and metrics. What are they talking about and where? Usually for us, this begins with speaking with your business and working closely on this, before slowly taking the reins as you feel comfortable with what we’re doing.

Just as important is what NOT to post. This would definitely be anything that might offend or cause controversy, and of course this can be very subjective. Some say that ‘controversy creates cash’, but this is a bit over-the-top and can be dangerous; especially so when you run a simple business with a traditional customer base. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything related to drugs, sex and violence, but you may also wish to stay away from issues such as race and class which can be a minefield to navigate.

Though you can bet your competition is already making full use of the various social media networks out there, there are those out there who aren’t (that might even be including you). In some cases, this is because they don’t know what they would tweet, or what photos to post if they did have an account. This can lead to some treating the company Twitter as their own personal dalliance with social media, which can be risky. While it’s always important to be personable, how long is it before you start bringing into play your personal social or political views? Could you be alienating a section of your customer-base with what you’re tweeting? The point of social media is for new customers to get to know you, invest in you and turn to you when they require your services; not to learn why you disagree with the Tories. It is possible that you can put a bad taste in the mouth of your audience if you affiliate yourself too closely with a particular ideology. No one wants another person’s views pushed on them.

Many who come to us looking for social media services simply require their networks to be maintained, with queries answered and to build an audience. We can also help with driving traffic to websites and establishing relationships within key circles in your industry. Most clients aren’t looking to set the world on fire, or become the next Martin Luther King; but simply grow their business and stick their flag in the social media moon.

 

Instagram For Business: Power of the Visual

We’ve recently jumped on the Instagram-wagon (terrible, we know). As well as making us all point our smartphones at our meals or look like tourists in the street, we’ve unlocked some great possibilities when it comes to producing content for clients.

We all know the famous line ‘content is king’; or ‘content is kingmaker’ as Yousaf Sekander recently stated at Brighton SEO. For people to actually follow you, you need to have your content reach them, and to do that you need to encourage those who do follow you in the beginning to spread it around. If you can produce something completely unique that can transcend the field or niche you’re in, you’re onto a winner.

Instagram has a bit of a reputation as being the tool for wannabe photographers who think adding a filter to any old photo makes them trendy. Yes, those people do exist but Instagram also an easy and free way to jazz up an image. It can separate you from the hundreds of images that an individual sees each day. It also feels a bit more personal and the filters can stir feelings of nostalgia which people instantly gravitate towards. Unlike something like a YouTube video which requires you to put in time to consume, a picture is a bite-sized chunk.

I also came across Pinstagram, where you can actually view your photos on a desktop which you can’t do at the moment through Instagram alone. You can also easily upload these to Pinterest. On these kinds of sites, with the right bit of filter-magic, mundane products like door locks, which we take for granted, can be transformed into gothic masterpieces.

So who could Instagram benefit? Well, like Pinterest, those who work in a field whereby their product or service relies on the visual, would benefit largely from a presence here. Those services where the finished product captures an audience and floods them with possibilities in their own life. Interior design or home improvement sites give themselves up to material which can instantly stir a reaction in someone and prompt them to click ‘Like’ and want to share it with others. And as we were taught at Brighton SEO, if you can get in with the right “influencers” to relay your content, you’re onto a winner.

That’s what is so great about social media, especially for business. Many incorrectly view it from the outside as something which teenagers sit on updating each other about what sandwich they’ve just made. YouTube is a social media site or at least is a video-streaming site which has integrated social media aspects into it’s interface so you can follow or subscribe, comment back and forth, create your own profile and more. The active element sometimes gets overshadowed by the passive nature. For businesses, there is a wealth of tools available (and more being made every year) to be utilised and get your message across.

So think about the possibilities for your business to make an impact through a visual form. Words are important in the form of web-copy and article-writing, but there are many other avenues to go down.

Free Speech on Twitter: How Should Businesses Use Twitter?

President Obama’s recent defence of free speech and the ongoing discussion about what we can and can not say on Twitter have been rife. After all, it is the internet, which is supposed to give everyone poetic license, surely? There have been stories about people venting and making light of circumstances, and then being charged with inciting criminal activity; the most well known example would be that of the poor man who took to Twitter “threatening” to blow up an airport. Some are a bit more specific and hurtful, such as those tweets directed to Tom Daley which referred to his deceased father.

So where does businesses and Twitter come into this? Well, when a business decides to utilise social media to promote themselves, they have to decide a few things. Will they have a purely business Twitter account? Should they just use their own personal account? What is the best way to serve both if you decide to split your account between the two objectives without alienating lots of followers? Are you in a position to even handle your own Twitter account or realise fully the potential for your business needs?

There is a delicate balance to maintain when you comment on popular, trending topics from a work account. Logistically, there is ensuring you’re using the right account, as well as coordinating your posts across different platforms (what works on Pinterest might not go over so well on Twitter). The timing of posts is also something to consider. However, you must also understand the tone or angle you want to take; or more importantly, that which you want your company to be seen to take. You want to add to conversations and show personality, but don’t want to offend.

This is why many businesses come to us asking to either teach them Twitter from the beginning, or simply manage their Twitter and other social media accounts. Our team has a wealth of experience managing the accounts of various clients, and understand when to interject into a public conversation, which ones to stay away from and how to communicate with those taking part. Of course it’s not simply about making a comment here and there, but building a relationship and converting them to sales for you.

If you are interested in learning about Twitter for your business, beginning with the basics, we are running a free Twitter drop in session where you can learn directly from professionals who use these networks each day for clients (and their own personal use). Get in touch and book your place now before they all get booked up.

Four Things That Turn Off Twitter Followers

 

If you’re trying to get ahead on social media, specifically Twitter, you need followers. To encourage those followers to jump on your bandwagon, there’s a few things you can do to attract them, and have your tweets spread a bit further. However, there are just as many things you shouldn’t do. Without going into too many boring details and giving away our services completely, here are a few to start you off:

1) Re-tweeting Everything

People want to follow you; not YOUR followers, otherwise they would just cut out the middle-man. While it’s always acceptable to re-tweet the occasional good read, consider whether a strong majority of your followers would enjoy it too. What do they want to get from you? If you want to RT something that you personally like, then fine; but accept that not everyone will want their feed constantly cluttered up.

2) Tweeting Too Much

Originally I thought Twitter was just the Facebook status, and that was about it. Well it is to some extent, but I now appreciate it more as a quick chunk of bite-size information or entertainment. Just like on Facebook, tweeting every little detail in your day is incredibly boring. Move on!

3) Bad Hashtags

Hashtags are great for specific events so conversations and comments can be collected and viewed together in one go. However, if you’re in the habit of coming up with really convoluted or overly long hashtags, these can be a bit silly and unnecessary. Hashtags should be phrases that deserve to catch on, a bit like a mantra or ideology. It could be a joke, though only if your followers will ‘get it’ (and even RT it). Be careful to confine hashtags to Twitter, as using them on other platforms reeks of blind posting.

4) Speaking Generally

Saying ‘Hey followers’ is quite formal and general. It puts a barrier between you and your followers. If you have an idea who follows you, like a certain demographic, speak to them in their language. It’s not a bad thing to tweet specifically to them every now and then. It expands your reach and appeal, and shows to those you’re not addressing that you’re a popular Tweeter.

We are currently offering a free Twitter drop-in session for anyone to come along and learn the basics, with professionals who use this daily for work and place. Come along, network, eat biscuits and learn how Twitter can help you; whether as a business owner wanting to improve their publicity in 2012, or simply as an individual wanting to learn something new and show off.

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