Not so long ago I was a video naysayer.
Oh, online video sounded great if you had a “video-worthy” consumer product, such as T-shirts with funny logos. But not for the typical small business in the mainstream in the United States — the retail establishments, manufacturers, medical professionals, engineering firms, CPAs and others. The chances of those kinds of businesses getting any traffic or new customers with video seemed remote. Or so I thought.
But — I have changed my view. One reason is that Google has integrated YouTube videos aggressively into the regular search results. Now there’s identifiable value from videos. By creating a video and hosting it on YouTube, it gives your business an extra shot at getting listed on the first page of the Google search results. Your company’s Website AND its YouTube video could both appear high up in Google.
Instead of a one-in-ten chance of a searcher finding your site in the 10 search results returned on a Google page, with a YouTube video suddenly you have two chances in ten. That also means one less competitor appearing in the top 10 results, because you’re taking up two of those coveted 10 spots.
And it’s not just about appearing high up in Google. The other thing that has changed my mind is experiencing some of the business videos that are out there. Some are compelling. The funny ones, but also the serious, useful, informative ones.
The effectiveness of a small-business video has little to do with how slick and glitzy the video is. Nor is it necessarily about humor — most of us tend not to choose our vendors and service providers based on whether they make us laugh. A successful video has more to do with how authentic and useful the message is. Does the video help the viewer understand how your business can solve their problem or address their fears or needs? Is the person delivering the message believable? Would you trust that person and the business he or she represents? Does something about the video spark a desire to make you take action?
One example I stumbled on is from the Successful Smiles blog. There I saw a video by a dentist, Dr. Helaine Smith of Boston. She used a video to explain a special syringe she uses to give painless injections of novacaine. The message resonates. Who among us wouldn’t want to hear about a way to avoid pain at the dentist?
Now — I don’t know Dr. Smith. Nor do I live in Boston. Unless I moved to Boston it’s highly unlikely I would ever become a patient of this dentist. So you might be tempted to think that my seeing the video was a complete waste. But you’d be wrong. That would be taking a myopic view of how the online world works.
Consider that here I am writing about the video. Some of you reading this may be from Boston. Or you may forward the video link to friends and family. Or you might happen on the good doctor’s blog and see the video there. Or someone searching in Google may find it.
According to a Pew Internet study, online video by its nature is social and viral. People naturally tend to forward video links on to others: “More than half of online video viewers (57%) share links to the video they find with others, and three in four (75%) say they receive links to watch video that others have sent to them.”
Information spreads easily on the Web — especially video content. It spreads by means we often cannot track and by people unknown to us. Information and videos can be working for our businesses 24/7, in ways we are utterly unaware of.
And the best news of all is that today you actually can do a better job of tracking how well that video is working for you. YouTube recently launched a service that gives you statistics about your videos. It’s called YouTube Insight. The YouTube blog says it is “a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. For example, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time.”
So now you don’t even have to take it on faith. You’ll be able to get a much better handle on the value of that video. And prove its usefulness for business.