Business and Operations
Smile, you’re On camera
By Joe Dysart
By Joe Dysart
While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for bakers, many are
also discovering the free video-sharing service has scores of other
uses that are also free for the taking.
While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for bakers, many are also discovering the free video-sharing service has scores of other uses that are also free for the taking. Employee recruiting, client communications, product/service how-tos and dissemination of business news are all increasing in popularity on YouTube, as the medium becomes the Swiss army knife of business communications.
| Darci Yeo, co-owner, Bliss Bakery & Bistro, says she turbo-charges YouTube’s promotional power by integrating videos with other promotions on Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s really easy to use, has tremendous reach and accessibility and fits easily into our social media strategy,” says Darci Yeo, co-owner, Bliss Bakery & Bistro, based in Peachland, B.C. (http://www.youtube.com/BlissBakeryandBistro). “It’s great because I can use other social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to link back to the video on YouTube.”
Zeke Camusio, founder of The Outsourcing Company, an Internet marketing firm, agrees. “YouTube isn’t just a video-sharing site. It’s a social network. You can add friends, message them, join groups, create your own group and use the bulletin board to interact with the YouTube community.”
“If you’ve never visited the YouTube Website, you’ve missed out on the hottest thing on the Internet today,” says Michael Miller, author of YouTube for Business.
Indeed, one of the major reasons bakers are flocking to the free service is its unbridled popularity. Just a blip on the web’s radar five years ago, the video-sharing service has rocketed to one of the most visited sites on the Internet. In fact, YouTube now boasts more than three billion views each day. YouTube Mobile, its portable service, averages more than 400 million views per day. And nearly 17 million people have connected to YouTube from other social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and the like, according to recent figures released by the company.
|Barry Yeo, co-owner, Bliss Bakery & Bistro, says the bakery’s YouTube video communicates to viewers that all products are freshly baked on premises.
“Canadians are watching more than 25 hours of online videos a month, according to recent comScore reports,” says Gillian Fripp, consumer relationship marketing director for Kraft Foods Canada. Kraft is riding that trend by sponsoring a ”what’s cooking” channel on YouTube, which features more than 370 how-to cooking videos for download, free of charge.
“The what’s cooking YouTube channel really gives our consumers an opportunity to comment and create a dialogue,” Fripp adds. “Our goal is to make recipe videos easy and fun.”
Bakers also find YouTube’s low cost and ease-of-entry hard to resist. Virtually anyone with basic computer skills can upload a video to YouTube for free in a matter of minutes. And since YouTube’s videos are generally viewed in a relatively small viewing screen, there’s no reason for bakers or others to endure painful budgets for video production costs. In fact, the subtleties of high-end video production are generally lost on YouTube, according to Miller.
“So many people are afraid of videos – well, you shouldn’t be,”says Camusio. “Most videos that make it big are not professional productions. They’re just a guy or a girl who gets in front of a camera and talks about what he or she knows best. You don’t need expensive equipment or a professional studio.”
Plus, bakers are saving significant coin by shifting hosting responsibilities for their videos onto YouTube. Ordinarily, a company needs to pay bandwidth transmission charges anytime a website visitor views a video hosted on its home website. But when that same video is uploaded to YouTube’s servers, businesses never pay a bandwidth transmission cost – no matter how many times that video is viewed.
All told, the frothy mix of remarkable popularity, ease-of-entry and virtually non-existent costs has the wheels of innovation spinning at countles businesses as they continually find new uses for YouTube.
So far, here are the top 10 uses they’ve forged:
1. Marketing: This is, without doubt, the most popular business use of YouTube, and can be wildly successful. Even firms with shoestring promotional budgets have become overnight stars on the service, often with zany and off-the-wall marketing pitches.
Across all industries, one of the classics in the zany category is “Will It Blend,” a campy series from blender manufacturer Blendtec, which proves the mettle of its product by blending some rather unorthodox items in its blender. Among the hapless victims of the series are an iPhone, a rake handle and 50 marbles. (Visit youtube.com/blendtec to view the videos.)
The Blendtec videos are a great lesson for bakers who are looking to see how far they can take their humour on YouTube and harness that as an extremely effective marketing tool.
Even if you’re not looking to do comedy, YouTube’s marketing prowess is undeniable.
“Although we bake everything on site in an open kitchen visible to our customers, we were astonished at how many people asked if the product was fresh or where it was made. We had a video professionally created to be used in house. YouTube became a natural extension of trying to get our message out about who we are,” says Yeo.
2. Recruiting: Bakeries that already has videos touting their organizations as inviting places to work will find posting those same productions on YouTube is a no-brainer. “Don’t limit yourself to a single, long puff video,” Miller says. “Produce separate videos for individual departments, as well as to illustrate company values, employee benefits, facilities and the like.”
3. Product/service how-tos: These videos can serve a dual purpose for your bakery business, offering detailed instructions for novice clients and customers, while serving as a promotional spot for looky lous. A how-two video can also help place your YouTube video higher in search engine returns.
4. Company video FAQs: Any bakery can leap over the image of a faceless, industry player with on-the-fly videos, which feature charming customer service people answering frequently asked questions. Many businesses already have written FAQs on their websites, but there is something to be said for going the extra mile and offering the personal touch that’s inherent in the video medium.
5. News video clips: The beauty of posting your bakery business news to YouTube is that your information is not sliced, diced or in any other way whittled down to a mere shadow of its former glory by an editor at a news media outlet. You can post a three-minute video to broadcast news about your bakery, or you can go in-depth with a series of videos. Moreover, once you are sure you’ve posted the full story on YouTube, you can repurpose those same productions and video press releases to the news media.
|YouTube’s free Insight tool allows you to run usage analytics on your videos.
“All of the videos you have on your YouTube channel can be shared with members of the media and bloggers,” says Chris Sturk, who edits a blog for the Mequoda Group, a digital marketing consulting firm. “Supply them with links to the site and pitch them on story ideas. The goal in this process is to get your videos shared by the bloggers and journalists you reach out to.”
6. Focus groups: Many sophisticated users of YouTube are also using the service as a free testing ground for commercials they plan to run on cable and broadcast TV, and elsewhere on the web. For example, you can easily test a commercial you plan to run on your local cable station on YouTube.
7. Client communications: When an e-mail or friendly phone call simply doesn’t cut it, many businesses are posting videos to YouTube to connect with customers concerning project updates, personalized descriptions of new services and the like. The medium conveys the message that the company places a special value on its client or customer, and is willing to go the extra distance to prove it. Plus, such communications can be easily made private on YouTube by selecting the “private” option under its broadcast options. This ensures only the viewers you select get to see the video you’ve uploaded.
8. Employee-to-employee communications: As far as Google, the parent company of YouTube, is concerned, videomail could be poised to become the e-mail of this decade. In fact, Google has added Google video to its Google apps suite for business. It makes sense: why not zip off a response to a thorny problem using video, if it’s easier than trying to communicate in another medium? At the very least, videomail is a trend worth experimenting with and monitoring, either on YouTube, or via Google Apps.
9. Employee training: Bakeries with multiple locations can benefit by posting training videos on YouTube, and having the appropriate employees dial in. By using YouTube’s private broadcast option, those companies can ensure the training videos stay internal. “Many companies find that YouTube is a fast and effective way to disseminate all kinds of employee information,” Miller says. “Done right, it gets information out there in near-real-time, with all the benefit of face-to-face communication.”
10. Savings on business travel: All the videos sent to employees and customers are also enabling business users to rack up substantial savings on business travel. Granted, there are plenty of instances where true face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable. But in many other situations, a video overture is a bulls-eye compromise between basic e-mail and an all-expenses paid business trip for one or more employees to multiple cities.
“Understand what you want the video to do for you. If you are using it to brand your business you may want to consider getting someone to professionally create the piece for you,” says Yeo. If it is more of a specific promotion, your customers are going to be more forgiving of bad sound and a shaky camera hand. Whatever you decide to do, jump in. It can be overwhelming, but the rewards are worth it.”
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan, New York. Contact him at 646-233-4089, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.joedysart.com .