Video content is hot right now, but marketers need to make sure there is demand from consumers before launching into a full-scale YouTube campaign.

More B2C brands will create video content than blogs in 2015, and 76 percent of B2B marketers already use video to drive marketing ROI.

These numbers make me happier than a telemarketer on opposite day because when it’s done correctly, video content marketing can be super effective. Plus, it’s fun!

But here’s another stat that you should pay attention to if you’re thinking about video marketing: 94 percent of marketers use YouTube to distribute their beautiful videographic creations.

YouTube is fantastic. We all know the ultra-impressive numbers regarding the sheer volume of videos that go up every day, the enormous time spent viewers spend watching, the shares, the Likes the Comments … But just because YouTube’s popularity is growing fast doesn’t mean marketers should default to using it.

When we start to think of YouTube as a social media network, we realize it demands a distinct strategy in order to be successful and drive results.

Mugatu  - Video Content So hot right now

Here’s a guide to creating that strategy:

1. Make sure YouTube is right for your business and your audience

Don’t assume that just because everybody else is YouTubing, you should YouTube too. That’d be sillier than a clown on catnip. YouTube is a grand social media network and can be used to amplify your video content, but only if the right audience members are present.  

To find out if it’s right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your competitors use YouTube? Are they successful (lots of Views, Comments and Shares)? If so, you might want to try to steal away some of their faithful viewers with better, more interesting, more fun or just more content.
  • Do industry thought leaders Share or Comment on YouTube videos? Co-opt their influence by creating the content you know they’ll like.  Pin-point their messages, and show you agree with them by creating a similar viewpoint. Feel free to mention them, tweet at them or even send some old-fashioned snail mail to get their attention focused on your content.
  • Do prospects or your current customers search for things related to your business in YouTube**? If yes, then duh – you should be there.

**Here’s how to check that last one. Go to www.google.com/trends and type in a few terms related to your business, or questions you frequently get during the sales process:

Once you’re on the results page, switch from “Web Search” to “YouTube”:

And you’ll find something like this:

The blue spikes are the result of people who were searching for the term “video marketing” on YouTube after Twitter and Viacom announced their social video marketing impact. That’s cool, but what’s really interesting is that both “video ideas” and “YouTube tips” have been trending upwards on YouTube over the past several years. This shows that there is steady and growing interest in those topics.

People searching for those things would be perfect to reach with great video content that answers questions about those topics. In fact, I might have to make a YouTube video version of this post just for those people. Which brings me to step two…

2. Identify opportunities to create content specifically for YouTube

Consider this: When you search for “blue men’s tie” in Google, you expect to find something much different (shopping results) than what you’d expect from the same search in YouTube (fashion vlogs, style ideas, etc.). You’d likewise expect different behaviors from somebody browsing Facebook and somebody clicking around YouTube.

YouTube is more unique than a platypus in a top hat: Users don’t act like they do in search, but they don’t act entirely like they do on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter either. Here are a few niblets for you to chew on:

  • Millennials use YouTube all the time to learn about products they’re considering.
  • 64% of shoppers said YouTube is the most influential channel for making shopping decisions.
  • YouTube has enormous potential to convert. Convertro found that it’s more likely than any other social media network to serve as the last-interaction and the only interaction before purchase.

Look how differently users phrase questions in Google and YouTube:

 

We continue to ask Google the same types of questions, but YouTube is much harder to predict. On YouTube, people ask different questions at different times, depending on what’s hot at the time (like stolen habaneros).

Another pattern is that searches including the word “how” carry a larger lead over “what” questions on YouTube. This makes sense: Tutorials (“how” questions) often need some sort of visual to aid in explanation.

TL;DR… What content should I create for YouTube?

YouTube is a social search and exploration engine/network, so create content that introduces your brand and products in a fun, but educational way, without giving all your secrets away for free that viewers will want to share with friends AND colleagues alike. Easy right? In other words, make your content:

  • Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails
  • Smarter than a solid retirement plan
  • More timely than H.G. Wells
  • As fun as an underwater bouncy castle on the moon
  • More intriguing than the question of life, the universe and everything

Lacking inspiration? You can also check out the YouTube Trends page, to see what some of the top channels are producing. Making spinoff videos can be fun and effective (“8 Things Your Data Center Operations Team Could Learn from Disney’s Frozen”).

3) Identify what content you should NOT put on YouTube

Even though YouTube can be a solid source of conversions for some brands (especially the beauty industry), you should avoid talking about products on YouTube. Talk instead about who you are, what you represent, what you know and share good stories about what you do. Think “infotainment” and combine education with fun.

If you’re a B2B, this really means you should leave almost all of the “corporate” speak on your corporate website. Nobody goes to YouTube to be sold; they want to be entertained or get some useful information!

Chesapeake Energy is an example of a brand that does this very well. The website has a grand total of six polished videos that are a distillation of their core business values and propositions. The YouTube channel, on the other hand, gives users a lot more to explore and learn about as they get to know the brand. Chesapeake Energy’s YouTube videos also focus much more on the human elements of the business: Charitable work, employment opportunities, people the company has helped, etc.

See? Different content strategies for different distribution methods!  

Make content for people – not your target personas, not businesses, not colleagues or audience segments. Tell real stories in a fun way that real people will be compelled to watch and share, even when they’re not at the office. You want to catch people when they’re on their lunch break, at night or on the weekend, so they have some time to enjoy your content. And for people to want to consume your content at those times, your content has to be fun.

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Colin Campbell is a Content Marketing Strategist at Brafton and lives at the intersection of sales and marketing in the digital world. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Global Studies and loves travelling. Some of his past adventures included living in a commune in Ethiopia, interviewing executives in Shanghai, and back country skiing in Montana.