YouTube As a Business Channel

Everyone knows that Google is the number one search engine but what about YouTube? YouTube has long been a go-to destination for a dose of distraction, but did you know that YouTube has become a reputable source for business information? According to a BtoB Magazine article, Google Unveils Research on Executive Internet Use, YouTube receives 1.5 million business searches per day. In a week’s time, over 10 million business searches are conducted on YouTube. The more you think about it, these numbers are staggering! In addition to the sheer number of YouTube business searches, research reported in the article shows that one in five executives prefer watching videos to reading text.

What are executives searching for on YouTube and does YouTube deliver? Interestingly, YouTube does not have specific business categories. Instead of browsing categories for business topics, business professionals must enter their search terms in the YouTube search box. While specific categories would be nice, the search results allow users to find exactly what they are looking for.

A quick search for “leadership” on YouTube delivered an impressive list of videos featuring the likes of Colin Powell, Jack Welch, Desmond Tutu, and Colleen Barratt as well as a variety of leadership and motivational pieces by lesser known leaders and leadership scenes from movies such as Remember the Titans. A YouTube search for “sales tips” also impressed with dozens of results covering: customer service, closing mistakes, building rapport, maintaining a positive attitude, open and closed questions, door-to-door sales tips, and more.

Searching YouTube for the term “communications” yielded similar results with videos covering: effective communications, therapeutic communications, crisis communications, active listening skills, and non-verbal communications. Like Google, the better your search terms, the better your results. Using the phrase “communications skills” reduced the number of videos addressing communications technologies whereas entering “unified communications” filtered the list of videos to those that address Cisco and Microsoft unified communications technologies.

With over a million business searches taking place on YouTube each day and plenty of videos appearing in the search results page, YouTube has become a viable business channel – even if business videos are not its mainstay. Are you using this channel? Some executives have shied away from YouTube due to its “anything goes” atmosphere and a fear of brand deterioration should their videos be seen beside less-than-tasteful videos. But let’s not underestimate the intelligence of your potential viewers. Besides, most of your viewers are going to find you via the YouTube search function, not by browsing the Most Popular Videos section.

Now is the perfect time to get your feet wet. Start by actively searching for business videos that interest you. For example, if you’re preparing for speech, watch a few videos about speech writing. If you need help applying for a grant, watch videos about applying for grants or financing a business. By becoming an active YouTube user, you will start the creative process that will later have you thinking how you can be a content provider on the other side of the lens.

Once you’re familiar with the possibilities, it’s time to incorporate YouTube into your own marketing plan. Start by considering your products and services. What do you have to offer? Just as you post useful “how to” articles and tips on your Web page, consider giving away free information on YouTube by posting a useful video. For example, if your company sells toner cartridges and services copy machines, consider posting a video on YouTube covering how to clear a paper jam or how to change a toner cartridge. Not only will you be able to use these videos on your existing Web site, you will also expose your company to YouTube viewers searching for this information.

With one in five executives preferring videos to text and 1.5 million business searches each day, you can reach a broader audience by using YouTube as a business channel.

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