MARKET LIKE A ROCK STAR

By Joe Dysart

While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for business, many optical labs are also discovering the free video-sharing service has scores of other uses; all of which are also free for the taking.

"Companies are always stunned by what the latest technology will enable us to accomplish," says Clint Herring, director, Hydraulic Studios (http://hydraulicnetworks.com/), which offers YouTube marketing clinics.

Indeed, social media like YouTube "is the fastest way to reach the greatest number of people," says Carrie Meyers, marketing manager, Pech Optical.

Adds Ryan Markey, president/CEO, My Friend's Lab: "It gives us a chance to be a part of a bigger conversation."  

Employee recruiting, client communications, product/service how-tos and dissemination of lab news are all increasing in popularity on YouTube, as businesses across the spectrum transform the medium into a Swiss Army Knife of business communications.

“If you’ve never visited the YouTube Web site, you’ve missed out on the hottest thing on the Internet today,” says Michael Miller, author of ‘YouTube for Business,’ an excellent guide. 

Unquestioningly, one of the major reasons labs and others are flocking to YouTube is its continued, unbridled popularity.  Just a blip on the Web’s radar a few years ago, the video-sharing service has rocketed to one of the most visited sites on the Internet. 

In fact, YouTube currently boasts "more than a billion users," according to, Larry Page, CEO, Alphabet, YouTube's parent company. Three hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.  And the online video-sharing service has been localized in 75 countries and made available in 61 languages.

Moreover, half of all YouTube views now take place on mobile devices, according to the company.  And more than a million user-created channels in dozens of countries are generating ad revenue from the service.

Indeed, among consumers 13-24, online video is now more popular that traditional TV, according to a recent study by Hunter Qualitative Research (http://hunterqualitative.com).

The group studied—also known as Millennials—spend 11.3 hours/week watching free online video, as compared to 8.3 hours week watching traditional TV. 

One of the driving factors behind all that viewing:  62 percent of Millennials surveyed felt that digital content makes them 'feel good' about themselves, while only 40 percent thought traditional TV gave them the same feeling.

Besides its unquestionable popularity with young people, YouTube’s ease-of-entry and low-cost is also hard for labs to resist. Virtually anyone with basic PC skills can upload a video to YouTube—for free—in a matter of minutes. 

Because YouTube’s videos are generally viewed on a relatively small viewing screen, there’s no reason for labs 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.

Plus, labs are saving significant money by shifting hosting responsibilities for their videos onto YouTube.  The reason? Ordinarily, a lab needs to pay bandwidth transmission charges anytime a Web site visitor views a video hosted on a lab Web site.  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, it’s a successful mix of remarkable popularity, ease-of-entry and virtually non-existent costs that have the wheels of innovation spinning at countless labs as they continually find new uses for YouTube. 

TOP TEN WAYS TO USE YOUTUBE

1. Marketing

This is without a doubt the most popular business use of YouTube, and can be wildly successful. Businesses with shoestring promotional budgets have become overnight stars on the service, often with zany and off-the-wall marketing pitches. Besides using humor, labs can also use the marketing side of YouTube to give video tours of their facilities. Or, they can feature video interviews with key staff to reassure current and prospective customers that they’re going to be doing business with a highly professional, highly people-friendly staff.

2. Recruiting

Given that many labs already have videos touting their businesses as inviting places to work, 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 of course serve a dual purpose for your lab, offering detailed instructions for novice customers, while serving as a promotional spot for looky-loos. 

4.Company Video FAQs

Any lab can leap well beyond the image of faceless, industry player with on-the-fly videos, which feature charming customer service people answering frequently asked questions. Sure, many businesses already have written FAQs on their Web sites, 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 lab's 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. Plus, if you have a Facebook or other social media site, you can cross-promote the two online presences by posting company news on a social network with a link to a supporting video on YouTube.

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. Specifically, they use YouTube’s free analytical tool, YouTube Analytics. (www.youtube.com/analytics), to test the marketing punch of their commercials. The tool's metrics include the overall popularity of your video, who’s viewing your video, where those viewers are coming from on the Web, and what keywords they’re using to find your video.

7. Customer Communications

When an email or friendly phone-call simply doesn’t cut it, many labs are posting videos to YouTube to connect with business partners concerning project updates, personalized descriptions of new products or services. Such communications can be easily made private on YouTube by selecting the “private” option under its “Broadcast Options” variable. 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 email of this decade.  In fact, Google has added “Google Video” to its Google Apps suite for business. Makes sense. Why not zip off a response to a thorny problem or challenge using video, if it’s easier to do so than 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

Any lab with multiple locations across the U.S., or across the world, can immediately see the benefit of posting training videos on YouTube, and having the appropriate employees dial in. And by using YouTube’s “private broadcast” option, your business 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.  Synchronous with Traditional Marketing Tools

YouTube videos also work very well with traditional media like print, radio and TV. Any yellow page ad, for example, can easily include the call-to-action, "Google 'Crystal Labs Dallas Welcome Video' for a video tour of our facility.

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan. Voice: (646) 233-4089. Email: joe@joedysart.com.  Web: www.joedysart.com.


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Labtalk-November/December 2017