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People love to watch videos on the internet – and this makes video social media platforms, such as YouTube and Vine, powerful places to market your brand, products and services. In fact, YouTube attracts more than one billion unique users each month, over six billion hours of video are watched each month and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
For e-commerce businesses, this means that starting a video channel or posting a clip on YouTube can provide a lot of bang for your buck – provided you do it properly.
“Having a video on YouTube can personalise your brand, increase your reach, deliver information about your products and draw in customer loyalty,” says Chris Asher, Head of Development at digital agency Dando. “The key is to create something that people want to watch.”
An example is Egg Surprise. This is a video of a person unwrapping Kinder Surprise confectionary and discovering the toys that lie within. This might not seem like the most exciting or innovative video ever created. However, Egg Surprise is marketing genius that has attracted more than 49 million views since it was uploaded in January 2014.
“This is called an ‘unboxing video’ and they’re proving extremely popular,” says Asher. “A lot of companies are filming their products from the moment of opening the box through to assembling the product, having a look at the manual … it’s especially popular with the technology sites and people love it.”
Asher reveals that the most successful way to do this is to create a video that is either educational or entertaining (or both). For example, New Zealand clothing label Elusiv has a simple educational video of Australian-born Italian rugby player Luke McLean revealing “five stylish ways to tie a scarf”. This simple concept has drawn in nearly half a million viewers since 2009.
“There are also a few larger companies that are doing the type of intimate marketing that you would expect from smaller companies, which I find interesting,” says Asher. “Bing Lee is doing really good product reviews on their channel. Check out Kogan for inspiration, too.”
While creating a video might seem too sophisticated or too expensive for some small to medium businesses, many companies using YouTube make their own videos, and clips are free to post.
“It’s definitely feasible for companies to make the video themselves, but there are several things to keep in mind,” says Asher.
“In terms of putting someone in front of the camera, it can be great for small to medium businesses to personalise the brand with a member of the company – but only if there is someone who is comfortable and engaging and not too dry. It could have a negative impact on the brand if the presenter is awkward with no personality.”
Asher says in terms of shooting the video, good lighting and audio are imperative. “With the right set-up, you can do it with a phone camera,” he says. “You can get some additions for iPhones like little boom microphones and tripods and that sort of thing. A good digital SLR that shoots video would be best, though.”
Once you have a video, getting it onto YouTube is as easy as going to YouTube.com, clicking on the blue ‘Create Account’ or ‘My Channel’ button and filling out a form. Once you’re signed in (and your username is in the top right corner), you simply need to click on the ‘Upload’ button to the left of your username then ‘Upload Video’, which will enable you to select the video file from your hard drive. While the video is uploading, you can change the name, add a description, set your privacy options and fill out other relevant information.
“In terms of putting someone in front of the camera, it can be great for small to medium businesses to personalise the brand with a member of the company.”
Chris Asher, Dando
Once your channel is up and running, Asher recommends using a service like Google AdWords. “It’s a really good paid way to get traffic,” he says, “and Google AdWords also has a tool that will help you choose popular key words to bring it up in searches.
“You can also increase your reach organically by adding the link to your website and other forums and networks.”
Vine is a video-sharing platform that allows people to create, edit and share six-second-long video clips. “I don’t think Vine would work nearly as well as YouTube for e-commerce,” notes Asher. “It’s more a social and viral platform, rather than marketing. Having said that, some of the YouTube pre-roll ads can get a message across in the five seconds before you can ‘Skip’, so it’s not impossible if it’s done cleverly!”