Just as the theoretical tree that falls in the theoretical forest with no one around to theoretically hear it begs the theoretical question "did it ever really fall?", so too does an online video that gets filmed and edited but not advertised nor marketed beg the question - was the video really ever made? If no one ever watches it, if no one even knows it exists, does it really “exist”? That's deep, huh?!
You would assume that if someone were to decide to spend money to get a web video produced, he/she would have an idea of how they want to use said video. You would assume... But the interesting thing about online video is that it’s kinda like social media (the two are really first cousins in Internet marketing and SEO) - just as business owners hear the buzz about Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc., so too do they see and hear everyone mentioning online video as the next big marketing wave. They know they SHOULD be doing these things, but they don’t necessarily know the HOW or the WHY behind them.
This makes sense to some degree - both social media and online video are really new toys in the web marketing store. And both are dynamic, fluid, constantly-evolving mediums that are hard to keep up with. Given how fast the online video market is developing and changing, I can’t say the answers I provide will always be the right ones. I’m 100% certain that I’ll be adding and subtracting to this list of “How To Distribute Your Online Video” tips. But for the time being, the laundry list of tips and suggestions I provide our small business owner clients goes something like this:
Basics Tips for Online Video Marketing
- Youtube: The 1-ton gorilla in the online video room, this should be your first and most important place to upload your video. Youtube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine (behind poppa Google) and the 2nd most viewed site on the web (behind everyone’s most loved/most hated Facebook), so this is a MUST!
- Your Business Website: After Youtube, the second most important, maybe even equally important, place to post your video is your main website. You may be thinking “No duh!”, but you’d be surprised how often this VERY basic/oh-so-crucial step is missed in the video distribution cycle. And I can tell you from firsthand experience, it makes a significant difference in viewership when you add your video to your main business website. I’m always watching the view count on the videos we’ve produced for clients, and I can tell you that the difference between those videos that are added to a business website and those that aren’t is easily in the hundreds of views, often times in the thousands of views!
- Facebook: pre-wrap;"> Did you know that Facebook is now responsible for more video views than Yahoo?! That’s crazy - Facebook is now considered a search engine of its own! Not only that, all your friends and your friends’ friends are on the site spending A LOT of time there, and people are more likely to watch a video if their friend referred it to them. Add it all up and what you have is a huge video-watching community where your video needs to be! So post the video to your business’ Facebook Fan Page as well as own your personal profile. You don't want to inundate your page with constant reminders of your video, but it's acceptable to re-post it once a week or once every two weeks. And when you do, occasionally ask your fans to share it with their friends on their profiles. You can either post a Youtube link of your video and/or upload the video directly to Facebook - I would recommend doing BOTH!
- Tweet, Tweet on Twitter: Tweet about the video, ask people to watch it, but don’t be too spammy. I would suggest using a scheduling service (Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are two good ones) to setup a schedule of tweets about your video over the next 6 months or so. So for example, tweet about the video a few times per week for the first 2-3 weeks, then once a week for weeks 4-6, followed by once every 2-3 weeks for the next 3-4 months.
- Don’t Forget About Myspace...SIKE!!! Gotcha’! Contrary to what Justin Timberlake is working so hard to make you believe, there is no need to waste your time on Myspace these days, at least not for the foreseeable future.
- Email: This may seem very obvious, but you’d be surprised that in this era of high-tech social media, most people tend to forget the old-school classics. Something as simple as sending a personal email to any and all contacts in your email address book can be very effective. Write a simple mass email to all of your personal and professional contacts asking them to watch it - most people, if they know you at all, will at least click and let the first 30 seconds of the video play. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid! Email it to your friends and family and ask them to share it with their family and friends.
- Mailing List: If you have a mailing list, include your video in your next newsletter or email the list with an announcement of your video.
- Email Signature: Update your email signature to include your Youtube channel or your video’s URL. Instruct your employees and staff members to update their work email signatures as well.
- Blog About It: If you have a blog, be sure to post the video there as well. Maybe write up a blog post about how and why you made the video and then include the video for people to watch, and be sure to make the video shareable, meaning make sure it can be tweeted, embedded, emailed or Facebook-ed.
Basic Tips for Offline Video Marketing
- Hang a sign inside your store telling visitors about your video and direct them to the appropriate URL.
- Print fliers with links to your video and keep those fliers out by your register and/or put one in each bag you give customers as they shop.
- If you have a TV monitor in your shop, have the video playing on a continuous loop in the store (maybe mute the volume though, for the sake of your staff’s sanity!).
- Add your video URL to your business card, or better yet, add a QR code that a person can scan to watch the video directly from their mobile phone (that’s kinda advanced, I know).