YouTube Your Way to Great Customer Service

YouTube is a great, inexpensive marketing option for small businesses. Here's how to make it part of your customer service strategy.
Faith in Focus Columnist, The News & Observer Publishing Company
October 03, 2012

YouTube is more than just a site you stop by when you're looking for video of cats falling off of couches; more than 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on the site. If you’re not already using this platform for video marketing, it’s time that you take the Internet's largest video-sharing service and turn it into a serious customer service strategy.

"YouTube is great for small businesses, since it's free and it is moving footage of your product or service, which is always more exciting or interesting than copy or still images," says Ben Cober, director of business development and research at PGAV Destinations, an architectural planning and design firm.

Before you grab your smartphone and hit the video record button, there are a few things to consider. Embracing video as a customer service channel requires that you do it well to maintain a positive customer service impression. "Make sure that you have the right resources," says Cober. "You need someone who can film things, edit the footage and load it onto YouTube."

Once you have the personnel in place, consider video technique. "Videos should be kept short," Cober says. "Learn about framing, audio and basic editing skills. Keep it steady and don't look around too fast when filming."

Most important, your videos should accurately reflect your business and your brand. Always direct customers from the video page to the main company website. Include text descriptions with tags with relevant keywords to increase visibility to search engines. And don't advertise that your customer service videos are available until you are absolutely ready.

"Only once you have a nice library of videos on your site, at least three, should you announce it to your target audience via other social media, advertising, your website, e-mail or in conversations," Cober says. "An unfinished or lacking in content YouTube channel is not very impressive."

Produce How-To Videos

"How-to's and step-by-step instructional videos usually get a lot of views," says Joan Crocker, search engine marketer for Flyte, a website design and marketing firm.

Before you start developing those videos, you need to ask yourself a few questions. "Who is the person you are trying to reach? What is the thing they are struggling with the most?" Crocker says. "Then use your video to help them solve their problem."

A good video is a much more interesting way to find out how to use a product than scrolling though pages in the PDF form of a manual.

Answer Common Questions

Chances are you are familiar with your customers' most common questions—or you can at least anticipate them. Take each one of those typical queries and make an individual video.

Not only is it proactive customer service to have answers to common questions readily available, it is a great way to build a YouTube video library. With every video added, it is easier for search engines to find your business. "Search is now universal, so adding video marketing, particularly YouTube, to your strategy will help you in the search engines," Crocker adds.

Showcase Your Product

Videos can be used to showcase products for potential customers. "YouTube helps tell your brand's story and conveys messages better than words," says Michael Byrnes, Jr., president of Byrnes Consulting. A product video also lets you show off more of your product, what it looks like in real life and how it works. If done well, it can be a much more engaging representation than a photograph and text caption.

A well-produced video also has the potential to be shared by current and potential customers. "When you create a video, you want it to be something that viewers want to share with others so it has the potential to go viral," says Fred McFerran, founder of Knack Registry, an online wedding registry site.

 Carla Turchetti is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who likes to break a topic down and keep her copy tight. That's why this bio is so brief! Carla blogs via Contently.com.

Faith in Focus Columnist, The News & Observer Publishing Company