You may respond to fan comments on Facebook, tweet about the company and get every mention of your company fed to you through goggle news alerts, but have you considered setting up your own channel online for free?
Even companies that are very social media-orientated are may find they missing out on establishing a visual presence on the web on YouTube. Don't be one of them.
Catherine-Gail Reinhard lists these tips to create your own web-based channel on the site. Here's some of her advice:
- Look before you leap: Now that you have decided to set up your own channel, don't aim at uploading tens of videos and acquiring thousands of friends overnight. Pause and take time to test the waters and figure out what works best for your brand. You don't need a lot of time or investment to change the look and feel of your channel so feel free to experiment until you work out the optimum YouTube presence for your brand.
- One size doesn't fit all: Because YouTube is free, you have the opportunity to design videos that are specifically designed for particular audiences. Consider the profile of your different customers and create distinctive campaigns that are particularly aimed at them. Set distinctive objectives to target prospects, provide customer support, or build a list of subscribers accordingly.
- Don't overload your marketing team: With the barrage of additional tasks the use of social media brings in, chances are that your marketing team is overloaded balancing traditional with social media. Your marketing team probably doesn't have time to upload loads of content, let alone coming up with titles, descriptions and tags, friending, rating, commenting and optimizing. Consider outsourcing to specialist. Creating web videos and knowing how to market them on YouTube requires a lot of skill and an expert might be a worthwhile investment.
- Find your friends: Start by searching your brand on YouTube and see what the existing conversation looks like. Then try reaching out to people who already have an affinity for your product or service by commenting on their videos and/or 'friending' them. Then build a dialogue with your friends.
- Don't recycle your commercials: If you think your company's YouTube channel is about posting your TV commercials online you are way off the mark. While your audiences may like to access your commercials online, if that is all your channel has to offer they may never visit it again. Posting videos about the making of your commercials is not a great idea either, unless they have the merit of being entertaining. Intel's YouTube Channel, for example, features videos on what it's like to work at the company.
- Put your best foot forward: The feature reel (The video that automatically starts playing as soon as someone logs on to your channel) is the only chance you have to keep an audience captivated. You don't have to expend extra money and time on creating this video, if you have a successful advertising campaign that was originally designed for TV, many companies use that as their feature reel.
- Top YouTube Searches: You know you have spent time and energy in making sure that your company tops Google searches -- it's the same for YouTube, because it's essentially a search engine for videos. One way of doing pushing your company's search ranking up is by identifying videos on other channels that are aligned with your corporate message and linking through to them on your channel.
- Cross-promote via YouTube: Integrate your YouTube channel into the rest of your marketing programs and cros-reference your YouTube channel. Produce your videos so that they serve multiple purposes. If you are creating a video for a trade show or a promo for an upcoming event, just make sure that the video is well produced and edited for length.
- Be Patient: You won't be able to hard-launch your YouTube channel. It will take time to grow and acquire a following. It will need your constant care and attention. Keep releasing content on a regular basis.
- Look to the future: In the five years since YouTube has been running it has gone through a lot of change. As new technology emerges you should be looking to create video content that is flexible and can be watched on a giant TV screen as well as on a mobile phone screen.