You and YouTube
“Your customers like to watch YouTube videos,” declares Danny Rocks. “Online, customers prefer it four to five times higher then those who prefer traditional articles.”
Whether you’re a manufacturer or a MI retailer, the opportunities to exploit YouTube to demonstrate, engage, build a community, and be a source of information is increasingly critical to branding and sales. And here’s the good news: using this social network tool has never been easier.
Danny Rocks of The Company Rocks, a training company, has just finished a DVD-ROM called Getting Started with Social Media. One of the things he covers on it is YouTube, which he says if done effectively, can do everything to promoting band awareness to providing customer support. (Prior to launching his company a few years ago, Rocks was a music industry executive for 29 years and there’s likely no one else who has spent more time in more music instrument stores than he.)
Most of us have seen the Reunion Blues video where they put a guitar in one of their cases and throw it off a roof. Not only did the soft shell case protect it, but also it was still in tune. Then they did it again, all to fun background music. After the second one a “Don’t try this at home” title card flashes evoking even more humor. But what is not funny is the many views it received, nor how it continues a life of its own. [see sidebar]
On the retail side, an example of clever effective use of YouTube is Cris Barris of Salt Lake City’s Summerhays Music. “He does a ‘Facebook Friday’ feature, and his humorous approach ends up selling product,” Rocks says. One example is he compared the power of a step-up trumpet to a beginning one by placing marshmallows in both and blowing … the superior one sent the spongy white puffs of tastiness significantly further. Other video topics covered include “Clarinet Bowling with Pumpkins” the Yamaha Silent String Quartet’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Rocks outlines seven important points to increasing visibility and sales via YouTube.
Look before YouLeap. Before delving in, take the time to develop a strategy. For those developing a good social media strategy, Rocks says spend time on other sites, and even offer substantial comments and see what the reaction is. Also learn from others: notice the production quality, the topics, the length, how they do their titles, etc.
What it is. It’s a destination. When people go online, they are searching for something specific. “You have to provide content that people can grab and go.” We know that people like watching videos on their own time, and even if you have videos on your own site (and you should), you should be on YouTube as well. Rocks says even with his videos he gets many more viewers from being on YouTube than he does of the same video on his site. The appeal is easy to understand: YouTube “makes it so easy to download a video to the iPhone or any portable device” – easy for someone to take it with them on the a flight or to the park with their guitar to practice.
What it’s not. “YouTube is not a commercial, but a place to start a conversation,” Rocks says. Focus on how your customers can benefit from the product. Demonstrate it in an engaging way. While you want to borrow some of the “informercial” techniques, if it’s too much of a hard sell, the customer will quickly scurry away. “You do want a call to action, though it’s best at the end of an engaging, informative, and/or entertaining piece.”
Share-ability. Perhaps YouTube’s greatest benefit is it’s easy to share videos. “Viewers can easily pass on the videos that they enjoy to their friends.” And for those offering lessons or specific tips, customers who choose to can be automatically notified on their LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook sites when you upload a new YouTube video lesson.
Insight. YouTube offers free analytic tools that are critical to gauging how successful the video is. You can also analyze that “level of engagement” of your videos as it shows the level of interest. If too many viewers seem to be tuning out and dropping off of your five minute video demonstration of different guitar strings, you might want to re-edit so it’s half the length – or re-shoot so that its more engaging.
Rocks says in his own business he was surprised he found his target age was 40 to 55 year olds. “You tend to think that because it’s technology-driven that it would be mostly 20 to 30-year-olds, but it was quite a revelation.”
Up close and personal. “I encourage MI store owners to show their staff along with their instruments,” Rocks says. Letting people get to know you, those who work at your store is key to building a community. But aren’t you supposed to be selling? “Show you’re a real person—that you’re an expert with a passion first, but then make sure you give them directions to take that next step in the form of a call to action.”
Searchable. Understand the basics of how search engines work, and then understand how you title, describe, and categorize your videos with “tags” and keywords. Take advantage of the power of Google Search that is built into YouTube. Be sure to include your contact information and a URL for a “Landing Page” in your YouTube video description.
Making it Happen
For those technophobes, Rocks maintains, “it’s so simple now.” Many of the reasonably priced flip cameras need only to be plugged into a USB port, and many software programs (often already on newer computers) can read it and ask if you want it uploaded to YouTube, Facebook, etc.
That said, quality lighting and audio has a direct correlation to how engaging your video is. If you’re demonstrating some new keyboard and the sound is bad – well, it’s not doing anyone any good. Invest in good lighting and a good microphone with a windscreen is important (and those are likely around your store anyway!).
We’re a visual-driven society, and if a message is put on video form, there’s a higher likelihood of engagement. “You just don’t get from print what you can get with video.”