This is the second of two articles on using video to market your company. The first article published in the September issue of CONTRACTOR addressed video production. This article focuses on strategies to maximize your online viewership and use your videos to drive traffic to your website.
Where to host: YouTube should be the first place you host a video, but not the only place. You can also use TubeMogul.com to spray your videos out to a number of "tube" sites. Plus, Facebook has its own video hosting, so upload a copy to it.
On YouTube and other video sites, you can associate tags, or keywords, with your channel. Pick those most likely to attract prospects. To see what people in your community search for, use one of the following keyword tools:
Naming videos: When naming your videos, to increase your search rankings, make the name of your videos descriptive of the contents. If you are explaining the way a jetter works, for example, you might name the video "ABC Plumbing Demonstrates How Sewer Jetters Clear and Clean Drain Lines." Is the title a little long? Yes, but it is descriptive and will help in search engine rankings. The more search terms you can include in your descriptive title, the better.
Similarly, craft the description for each video with care. Search engines can't read your video, but they can read the description. Make sure the description is an accurate summary of the video, such that it could stand on its own as a short article or story. Include key words and phrases that consumers might enter in a search engine. The description should also include your website address, local community name, and should repeat the video’s call to action.
YouTube annotations: A wonderful tool from YouTube is Annotations. This allows you to add comments, but also to add a link to your website. Annotate the beginning and end of the video, if not the entire video. You can also include a "Next Video" annotation. Include search terms in your annotations and you will increase your search engine ranking.
Don't try to go viral: Everyone wants to take their videos viral. Why? Will it help your business if your video goes viral and you pick up views on another continent? You don't care about another continent. You don't even care about another town. You only care about your service territory. Focus on that. And focus on your customers and prospects.
Ask for subscriptions: At the end of every video, suggest people subscribe to your YouTube channel. When people subscribe, they'll get notices when you add videos, increasing viewership and stickiness (of course, don't forget to include a call to action for your company too).
Video sites: There are a number of websites that can make your life easier. Here are a few to consider:
- With Ustream.tv you can upload video directly from a mobile device, such as an iPhone or an Android.
- With Animoto.com, it’s a snap to upload a series of pictures to produce a high quality video. It’s possible to use Animoto’s text capabilities or you can add text using PowerPoint (saving as jpegs).
- Mogreet.com makes it easy to send video to phones using MMS, a form of text messaging.
- Veeple.com offers a variety of interactive video tools that go beyond YouTube’s annotations.
- Viddler.com helps to increase the interactive nature of a video with text comments, video comments, Digg buttons, etc. It also offers other tools like an embedded player you can use on your website.
Promoting your video: You should promote your videos on your website, of course. In fact, one of the main advantages of using video is it can help boost your company's Google ranking. Ask your webmaster to use Google's Sitemap tool to help it find the videos on your site.
Don't limit yourself to placement on your own website. Promote your video on your Google Places pages, through Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and email. Twitter, which is mobile centric, benefits from a number of app that support video. These include TwitVid, Twiddeo, TwitLENS, Twitc, and Tweetube,
The only constant is change: The only certainty in the world of social media is uncertainty. New video apps and sites are appearing each month. Social media sites are constantly updating. Google and YouTube continue to change the algorithms used for search rankings. You will have to make a concerted effort to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology. In fact, by the time you read this, something in this column will no longer be up-to-date.
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, a business alliance of plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and service contractors. Learn more about the Service Roundtable at www.ServiceRoundtable.com, or e-mail Matt at: [email protected].