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…..