In the last 8 years YouTube has taught us……

YouTube has evolved in leaps and bounds since it was founded in 2005. Originally a concept of three ex-PayPal staff, they started a site that would allow people to share videos online. They received funding in 2005 from another PayPal staffer, which further developed initiative.

In 2006, YouTube became one of the fasting growing websites, even surpassing even MySpace’s rate of growth at the time.

It was also in 2006 that Time Magazine named YouTube, “the Person on the Year”, surprising a lot of people.

However, the purchase of YouTube by Google in the same year for US$1.65 billion in stock that cemented its future. Eight years later it’s still here and the question asked now is where or what is MySpace, it’s no longer relevant like a lot of other websites.

However, I’m getting away from the point of this post. What has YouTube taught us?

It’s taught me a lot more than I would like to admit, how to apply eyeliner, how to do the plough pose and how to build a time machine! Ok, so maybe not the last one but it’s there if I want to find out!

Really, YouTube has taught us about sharing content and our story but like most fashions it’s can’t predict what’s going to work and what’s not.

Some of the recent pop sensations started out on YouTube, Justin Bieber for example. Would they have been famous without YouTube? Maybe but YouTube provides the big break for some new artists allowing them a platform to be heard.

YouTube after all is a social platform and it’s taught us a lot including the following –

–          Don’t spend a lot on fancy video production – some videos that make it into the top lists actually cost absolutely nothing to make. One of the most watched videos of the site’s history is Charlie bit my finger!

It’s been watched a massive 583,606,85 times and it’s so popular you can buy the t-shirt. Make sure the quality of the video is good and if you’re posting to promote or sell something, do spend a little time and effort creating your own YouTube channel for your brand, and giving it distinctive graphics.

–          Keep to your message and your audience and don’t be sucked in by dreams of a viral video – the odds of any particular video going viral these days are tiny. It’s important that you focus on your exact audience rather than trying to please the masses. If you try that you may not please either. It’s key to please your own audience first.

–          Ignore stats that don’t lead to sales or at least website visits – comments are a big deal when it comes to blogs, Facebook, and other social media, but they can be meaningless in YouTube. So are likes and subscriptions. It’s reposts and sharing that’s effective.

–          Don’t do traditional marketing – like most social media channels, people don’t watch YouTube for adverts, they watch to learn, to be entertained and to see what’s new. Internet users and especially YouTube visitors these days have little patience for straight advertising. Be different but keep your message.

–           Be patient – posting videos and watching them slowly build in watch numbers can be frustrating but a YouTube campaign can take a while to build, so be prepared to give it a few months but like other social media do post regularly if you can.

If all else fails, let yourself be entertained…..

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Ten Ways small Irish Businesses can use Facebook and Twitter

So you have the social media accounts set up, like everyone said you should – you have a Facebook page to show off your shiny products and services and you even set up a twitter account for your company although you’re not sure about tweeting for your company.

Social Media is now seen as the way to promote your business but don’t be fooled, it will take time and effort on your part to make it work.

Some things to consider:

1. It’s not about you, it’s about your followers – when you’re planning or writing your posts, think about the person that will be reading it. How can you help them, make their live easier or even just make them smile. What do they really want to hear about you and your business?

2. Plan –do try to make a plan for your social media activity, how often will you post, where and when will you post? What will you post? A plan starts things of and allows things to build naturally but always remember your audience.

3. Remember your #hashtag – the hash (#) sign turns any word or group of words that you use to directly follow it into a searchable link, for example #Halloween. This allows you to organise and track your posts topics based on those keywords. They are a very important tool to use for business.

Facebook, Social Media, Twitter, Hashtag

Hashtag Symbol

4. Photos are important – as the old adage goes “a picture paints a thousand words” and this is certainly true for social media. Photos are an easy way to catch your followers’ attention and followers are more likely to share photos with others. You can think cute and funny but it has it be true to you and your brand also.

5. Ask Questions – social media is meant for interaction, it is a two-way communication process. It is best though to start it off lightly maybe a more conversational question and build it up from there to maybe asking questions that can help your business.

6. Be personal but not too personal – it is after all, your business you’re promoting, not yourself. Post about the big order you got in or maybe some behind the scenes photos from your business. If it gives your followers a warm feeling about you, it’s good. There is no excuse though for posting about your personal life, your recent dentist appointment isn’t really going to thrill them.

7. Run Competitions – competitions are fun and they can grow your followers. They don’t need to be run very often but can be a good way to engage with and grow followers.

Facebook, Social Media, Competition

Facebook Competition

8. Piggyback on holidays and #hashtags – focus on holidays or any popular hashtags that could be good for your business. If you have a shop, maybe post gift ideas for Christmas. Using popular hashtags means your post might pop-up if someone does a search on it. This needs to be creative and quirky though and don’t over use it – it gets boring.

9. Don’t confuse Social Media with Advertising – your posts need to be genuine and reflect who are you are. People don’t follow businesses for a sales pitch, they follow you because they are curious about YOU. It’s your job on social media to present yourself and your business in a way that interests readers, so show them behind the scenes, struggles, problems, successes, everything, warts and all.

10. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun!  – people go on-line, in part to be entertained, for a distraction. Don’t be afraid to do that.