Business > Merchant Voice

YouTube: The coolest social media platform

YouTube is the coolest social media platform. I don’t know why it gets overlooked in the business community. If you ignore YouTube, you are missing out on a great community. YouTube is the only social media platform that organically rewards content creators for posting to the platform.

Facebook has been gradually destroying your company’s organic reach on that platform. On Twitter, your post is lost in seconds. Instagram doesn’t allow you to link directly on posts. Pinterest is pretty nifty, I suppose, but only 28 percent of Pinterest users are men.

YouTube, on the other hand, is mostly gender neutral, demographic neutral, and location neutral. Your customers are likely on YouTube and they are likely spending a lot of time there. YouTube is ranked second in two very important lists: social network size (behind Facebook) and search engine size (behind Google).

YouTube: Superior business model

I can ramble on in greater detail as to the statistics of each platform, but sheer size is not what makes one better or worse. It’s the business model that makes YouTube superior to Facebook (and other platforms). As a content creator on Facebook you are viewed as a cow to be milked. On YouTube, you are viewed as an asset, which makes the platform better. Facebook will show your content less and less as you grow, whereas YouTube will show your content more and more as you grow.

We launched Beardbrand’s channel in early 2012 with no budget — just our time. I was recording videos on my MacBook and uploading them directly to YouTube. There was no fancy editing, no investment in technology — only the sharing of my passions. We started slowly and garnered just 300 subscribers in the first year. That’s where most people give up on the platform. Putting in a year’s worth of work and only having 300 subscribers can be frustrating.

But we persevered, and improved our video production qualities, our consistency, and honed in our content. Those three factors are what allowed our channel grow from 300 to 70,000 subscribers. We achieved those numbers in a little less than three years.

Growth on YouTube is like compounding interest. It builds on itself. The most recent months have been our highest growth of subscribers and views.

With consistent video production, I expect the growth to continue at an exponential rate. The problem most companies have is they don’t have a long-term vision. They aren’t willing to invest in a platform for three years to see success. It’s that short-term vision that limits the opportunity.

What does it cost?

On YouTube we get about 400,000 impressions and 1 million minutes viewed per month. If we had to purchase those views, it would cost us $40,000 to $120,000.

To be clear, our videos aren’t advertisements. They aren’t necessarily designed to drive viewers to purchase. But they are a brand-building strategy. We are showing our brand to tens of thousands of potential customers. Not only that, we are positioning ourselves as a thought leader and expert in our industry.

There definitely is an investment into building a YouTube channel. But it’s no different than an investment into buying ads. If we put numbers to our time, I’d say each video costs us about $250 to produce. We are uploading about 100 videos per year on two different YouTube channels. So our investment is about $25,000 of production time. We also invest in equipment, which is another $2,000 per year. We have advertisements on our channel, and that will offset our costs by about $5,000 per year.

It’s definitely a big commitment to see the results. The good thing is that most companies and individuals aren’t willing to put in the effort required to get there. After a few months they get frustrated and give up. When the players have fallen, you will stand tall as a leader.

Don’t overlook YouTube. It’s a golden opportunity.

Eric Bandholz
Eric Bandholz
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