In this article we’re talking about becoming a YouTube influencer and using that influence to market your brand.
An influencer is someone who’s branded themselves as an expert in their niche, and has built a huge audience for that expertise.
Let's start by taking a look at how you can take your influencer video marketing to the next level by using customer stories.
Marketing Customer Stories
There’s almost no better way to tell the story of your product or service than by using your own customer’s stories.
Rather than a video of you bragging about your company or showing pictures of your merchandise, your videos will allow satisfied customers to sell your brand themselves.
The audience will see other people just like themselves, and will connect more with those videos than they might with a more typical advertisement.
But how do you get customer review videos? It’s actually pretty simple — and you usually don’t have to do more than offer a small freebie to get them to help you advertise.
Many people will be happy to help create a video just for the thrill of being on “your show” and getting their 15 minutes of fame.
With those, all you have to do is make sure their names are mentioned and that their efforts are publicly appreciated.
“Thanks to George Doe, one of our best customers, for this great video!” is all those customers need by way of “payment.”
With others, you might offer to provide a free product or service — if they will return the favor by filming themselves with that product or using that service.
Unboxing videos are very popular now, so you might film the customer opening the package and describing the product to your audience.
Or if you offer services rather than products, film the customer’s satisfied use of those services.
How-To videos are also popular, and a How-To from a customer will go farther than one by yourself.
Film your customer using the product or service and describing how it works as they do so. People love to learn how something works, and this way you get two bangs for your buck.
The audience will be happy to learn about your products or services, and they’ll see a satisfied customer who will encourage them to jump onboard and purchase their own product or service.
Another idea for customer videos is the “Around the World With X” video, where X is the name of your company.
Simply have a contest where the entry ticket is a film of the customer holding your product in a recognizable location — say, the Brooklyn Bridge or a by a famous waterfall. Or anywhere, really, that isn’t just a generic room in someone’s home.
Raffle off one of your products or services to a random filmmaker and you should get tons of entries from your customers, especially if you allow them to send in multiple films and receive multiple entries.
The idea is to allow your satisfied customers to sell your company for you. And the idea works extremely well if you use a little creativity when making your videos. See if you can come up with even more ideas for a customer-generated video for your channel.
“Showcase one or two video clips on YouTube,” says Div Manickham of Dell Boomi, “and your customers will be your advocates, sharing with the world how you helped them to be true heroes…Showcase your product in ‘One Day in the Life of a Customer.’”
Next we’ll take a look at those How-To videos and how to use them in marketing.
Marketing With How-To Videos
“Marketers not using YouTube, the second-largest search engine in the world,” says Marija Zivanovic-Smith of NCR Corporation, “are doing their companies a disservice.
If you don’t have a library of How-To videos, start building one now.”
“The do-it-yourself culture,” she says, “has been thriving for a long time and continues growing.”
People want to know how things work and how they can use various products and services in their own lives.
Creating a library of How-To videos will not only attract potential customers looking for help, but also advertise your business to those viewers.
They’ll see that your company is actively trying to help them out, and that will set you above other companies without that video library.
How-To videos are easy to make, too. Just pick a product or service and start asking questions.
How do I use this product to open a can?
How do I save a file with this software?
How do I put this together properly?
Think of questions that a typical customer might have and start making videos to answer each question for them.
If you keep your questions specific, you can create a whole library of How-To videos for each product or service you offer.
Do a Google search for some of your competitors and see what sorts of videos they’re providing. Or Google any famous company and look for their How-To section. You’ll likely see a large section devoted to the topic.
“Get creative,” says Zivanovic-Smith. “Have fun. Make your videos succinct. Enjoy the residual benefit of customer support fielding fewer calls.”
With a good How-To library, not only are you saving on customer support calls, you’re also advertising your brand for the customers looking for help.
You’re letting them know you’re a company who cares about them and wants them to be able to use your products or services without getting confused or frustrated. That’s the sort of thing that gets shared on social media and on blogs. And that’s the sort of word-of-mouth advertising you want.
So get started on that library and remember that less is more. The more specific each video is, the better.
Now we’ll look at how behind-the-scenes videos can advertise your business and improve your marketing.
“There’s a reason YouTube vloggers are so popular,” says Melissa Kandel from little word studio. “Their content is engaging, authentic, and unscripted.
Take a tip from vloggers and create casual videos — a day in the life at your office, an act of kindness from your interns, a team member’s perspective at a conference booth.”
Here’s where you show that you’re not just a faceless company. You’re a real human being with a life that can be interesting to your customers. With these videos, you don’t want the polished, professional look that you’ve been aiming for with the rest of your channel.
A good behind-the-scenes video looks raw and unfinished. Think of a backstage video tour from your favorite band or celebrity. They’re not heavily edited or polished up. “Less production value or editing,” says Kandel, “can sometimes offer more value because it shows your brand isn’t just a name. It’s real.”
So what should you film? Just as Kandel suggested, try “A Day in the Life” videos where you “follow” either yourself or another employee around for the day. Show what duties they have, what their job entails. Tag along to a meeting (but don’t record anything sensitive!) or invite the camera to lunch. Chat with other employees and show that your subject is just an ordinary fellow with a real life, not just a cog in the system.
You can also create videos at a conference or convention, especially if you’ve reserved a booth for your company. Show the employees setting up the booth and showcase the products or services your company is promoting. Interview some of the booth’s visitors to get their honest opinions of the display. Who knows? You may even get some tips on how to improve your marketing, too.
Film a birthday party for an employee or a pizza party given for exemplary work by a department.
You can also showcase the expertise of your employees. Kristen Wessel of ChicExecs PR & Retail Strategy Firm suggests you use your employees as talent in your videos. “Ask them to speak about specific areas that they are experts in,” she says, “and offer advice and tips for businesses.”
“Become well-known in your field,” Wessel adds, “by posting these videos on YouTube and creating a company channel that entrepreneurs will want to subscribe to in order to get the latest tips and industry trends.”
If you use your own employees to film these tips and trends, you’re not only saving on professional speaker fees, but also showing off the talent in your company by promoting the expertise of your employees (or yourself, if you’re a one-person business).
Now let's look at cross-promoting your videos for even more exposure.
Cross Promoting Your Videos
“Many people have great content in their videos on YouTube,” Ellicia Romo of Peoples Mortgage Company says. “However, their channel may get lost.”
Not everyone uses YouTube as a search engine, although it is the Number 2 search engine in the world currently. And not everyone may discover your channel organically, by browsing the topics on the site. Your channel might be just one among hundreds, maybe thousands, of similar channels on YouTube. What can you do about that?
“Leverage the ease and popularity of YouTube,” says Romo, “by posting and then sharing your video in many other ways. Lead people back to your channel.”
She suggests embedding your video in the monthly newsletter your company sends out. What? You don’t have a monthly newsletter? There’s another thing for your “To-Do” list, then. Put out a newsletter and feature your latest videos there.
Another good tip is to use the end screen feature when editing. “Always ask people to subscribe,” says Romo. “Then, consistently post.” The more videos you have in your channel, the more time people will spend there, so be sure you’re posting something relevant two to three times a week.
Consistency is key in the video influencer marketplace. That way, when you add that “Subscribe Now” link to your videos, your audience will find a satisfying library of videos to peruse instead of just a few hastily thrown together offerings. Your company will be seen as professional —and helpful, as those videos will be educational and entertaining.
Another way to cross-promote your video channel is by adding links to your social media posts, company blog, and website. Make sure customers and visitors can easily find your channel, and that they are able to see what that channel offers them.
Have a short trailer that autoplays on your website and blog. Feature your latest video in a social media post. And don’t forget your industry newsletters or journals. Advertise your channel and let others in the business know what you’re doing with it.
Cross-promoting can really jump-start your channel’s visibility. The more places you showcase those videos, the more people will click your link and check them out.
Next we’ll look at search-optimizing your video content.
Marketing by Search-Optimization
“Video is booming,” says Patrick Ward of High Speed Experts, “but don’t get too hasty to jump in. Before you yell ‘lights, camera, action,’ start with an SEO mindset.”
SEO, of course, stands for Search Engine Optimization and it means making sure your videos and your YouTube channel contain the right keywords to be found on a search engine.
The way to do that is to locate “key search terms you want to be found for and make videos around that.” And you can do that by pretending to search for your own products or services. Go to Google and type in any question a customer might have about your company and what it offers. See what comes up. Then, go to those companies and check out which keywords they’re using on their websites, video channels, blogs, and social media posts.
Start adding those keywords to your own video channel offerings. Why do this? “Because,” says Ward, “Google is increasingly placing videos from YouTube (which it owns) in the native search results, drawing the eye of users, garnering you not only views but also views from the right people!”
When you type in those questions, notice how often YouTube videos come up as an answer to your question. Pretty much every search, right? Google is starting to pay attention to YouTube videos and realize that they sometimes have exactly the right answer for a question.
What you want to do is make sure your videos are among the ones that pop up in that search. Tweak your title tags so they make more sense to a viewer and are more specific. Don’t depend on YouTube to suggest the best titles for you. Make sure your titles tell the viewer exactly what they’ll be watching so they’ll be more likely to stick around for the entire video.
Master long-tail keyword themes that are more specific and drive fewer searches, too. These are keyword phrases like “how to get bloodstains out of clothing” or “nikon 5600 DSL camera.” Fewer people are going to be using these phrases, so you won’t get quite as many “hits” —but the hits you do get will be looking for exactly what you’re offering.
Mastering SEO will help you improve your YouTube channel’s visibility, and that will help you market your business to more people.
Now let's have a look at employer brand content.
Marketing Employer Brand Content
“People surf YouTube for a number of reasons,” says Andrew Caravella of Sprout Social, “but they’re all looking for a captivating and compelling story.”
YouTube is now the Number 2 search engine on the internet, so when people are looking for answers, they’re looking for videos. Your job, if you’re interested in becoming an influencer, is to be certain your video channel is the one they find during their search. One way of doing that is to produce quality employer brand content.
“Gain the attention of your community,” says Caravella, “by producing content that showcases who you are as a company, what your culture is like, and also highlights the people on your team.” You want your videos to show viewers what your company is like — not just your mission statement and a list of product or services, but what the people are like and what the atmosphere is like where they work.
Create videos that show your actual employees at work, or even at play if your company has a sports team or company picnic. Show the employees talking about your company’s purpose and why it’s a great place to work. Your videos should communicate your passion for your products or services. Make sure your personality stands out.
One great idea for an interesting video is your company’s origin story. Did you decide to create a product because they were lacking in the market? Or did you discover a way to improve an existing product based on a personal story? Whatever the story, make it interesting and make a video about it.
Explainer videos, like the “About Us” page on your website, can show viewers who you are as a company and why your brand is better than the competition. “Employer brand content,” says Caravella, “will help raise awareness and strengthen brand identity, while simultaneously attracting new talent.”
Explaining your company in an entertaining video can not only attract new employees, but potential customers as well. If your culture and moral values align with theirs, viewers will be more likely to purchase what you’re selling.
Testimonials and case studies work well as videos, too. Showcase videos from happy customers and employees. Show your team’s skills, critical thinking ability, and creative problem-solving.
Spotlight particularly successful or talented employees. Create videos of things like awards ceremonies and announcements. Whatever shows off your company’s heart should be in a your YouTube channel for your audience to see.
Next we’ll look at leveraging user-generated content.
Marketing with User-Generated Content
“Great video either tells or conjures a story,” says Eric Fletcher of Eric Fletcher Consulting Group.
Whatever the source, your videos should tell the story of your business and its culture. Your audiences don’t want a sales pitch. They want to be entertained and informed. They want that story. Your job is to make sure they get what they’re wanting.
User-generated content is that created by your audience members and customers. “In one of the best campaigns I’ve seen,” says Fletcher, “a brand asked its community to submit their own short video story about their personal experience with the brand.” This is an excellent way to promote your brand without a sales pitch or boring lecture.
In that example, the request “emphasized creativity and brevity and promised recognition and reward for outstanding submissions. The result: creative, authentic, relatable stories featuring the brand as the hero.”
Why should you care about user-generated content though?
“Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic when compared to content created by brands” according to Christina Newberry’s review of a Businesswire survey. “That offers brands an important credibility boost,” she says, “since most people say less than half of brands create authentic content.”
It’s also about creating trust. “A full 92% of customers trust recommendations from people they know,” says Newberry, “and 70% trust online consumer opinions.”
And modern people aren’t just asking their friends and neighbors about your company. 30% of millennials surveyed say they would not visit a restaurant whose Instagram presence didn’t attract them.
Newberry says this all leads up to one thing: the impact on purchasing decisions. “Nearly 80% of people,” she relates, “say user-generated content has a high impact on their purchasing decisions.”
What does this mean for your business? It means you need to be collecting personal stories from your customers and asking for their input. User-generated content is one of the best ways to encourage potential customers to stop waffling and buy.
With a little creativity, you can come up with great ideas to get your customers sharing their stories on your video channel. Have a contest with a free product or service as the prize, or reward everyone who sends in a video with a 10%-off coupon. If you allow your customers to be creative, you’ll get some bang-up videos for your library.
Thanks for reading!