YouTube is the place to be if you want to watch video. Whether you’re looking for cute videos of kittens or how-to videos on burning a CD, YouTube has it all. Founded in 2005, YouTube earned an early reputation as a place for poor production values and content with little redeeming value. But the website has transformed, and today you’re just as likely to find a slickly produced short film as you are a grainy home movie.
In short, going viral. With the right mix of humor and wit, a cheaply produced video posted for free on YouTube can launch you and your business into the next big thing. Back in the early days of YouTube (2006), Bank of America had a viral video on its hands when two employees earnestly sang the praises of its merger with MBNA to the tune of U2’s “One.” Today, YouTube offers easy-to-use tools for any business to set up a customized channel to house its videos, which can then be repurposed as content for its website. YouTube also now features a number of interactive tools, which allow people to comment and share videos.
If you don’t use YouTube to host your video, you’re probably going to have to pay someone. Video streaming calls for a lot of bandwidth, which in turn costs money. But with YouTube, you get the bandwidth for free. It’s also another way to go direct to your consumers without paying a dime. Short videos of two minutes or less of you and your staff can put a human face on your organization and help form a bond with existing and future customers.
Luke M. Vaillancourt, director of digital marketing for Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton, has a leg up on the average marketer. He learned the art of video editing while in college and now employs those skills in the family business. One of the company’s most successful video efforts was documenting the process of creating a 100-pound chalkware rabbit over a period of 16 months. Visitors could track the project’s progress via the company’s YouTube channel, which is featured on its website and distributed via its Facebook and Twitter pages. Eventually the “big bunny” sold for $4,500 to a collector out of St. Louis, Mo. Vaillancourt credits the videos for helping build buzz around the project. “We do a lot of shows around the nation… and people kept telling us that they loved what we were doing with this piece,” he said.