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Should Your Business Create a Branded YouTube Channel?

In 2010, YouTube was receiving 2 billion views per day.  In early 2012, the website was streaming video at 4 billion views per day.  What can you expect in 2014?  A heck of a lot more.

Plus YouTube is not alone.  Twitter picked up the popular Vine video-sharing app.  And Facebook’s Instragram recently released its own video functionality.  Videos are as hot as ever and getting even hotter.  Is it time for your business to jump on the video bandwagon?  Should you create your own business branded YouTube Channel?

Consider Your Reputation

First you have to take a step back and think about what videos do for businesses.  They are essentially secondary marketing materials – a moving, living, breathing marketing medium – designed to further your online presence because sometimes images or copy aren’t enough.

Despite their intriguing nature, not all videos are equal and what you say or do in your videos has a huge impact on your brand.  A YouTube channel is often a riskier endeavor than your standard marketing materials because videos are highly scrutinized and subject to ‘going viral’.  If the videos aren’t professional or send the wrong message, your channel could become a hangout for the wrong type of customer.

However, if you’re able to develop well-scripted, high-quality videos, then viewers will respond with views, shares, clicks, and positive comments – everything an online business wants.  By applying the right formula, a YouTube channel becomes an extension of your everyday branding and every video you post on it will build upon your brand reputation.

Consider Your Resources

Unfortunately, a YouTube channel is nowhere close to being free, easy or cheap – it’s another social media blackhole that sucks away your time and resources.  Videos involve brainstorming, scripting, filming, splicing, and uploading, not to mention a heftier monetary cost than standard imagery (unless you’re slick and use a smartphone).  And if you’re making a dedicated YouTube channel, you’ll want a significant amount of videos.

Then you have to promote those videos.  You need to fit them into your marketing calendars (blogs, emails, etc.), link to your product pages, and spread the word on social media.  You need to optimize your titles, descriptions and tags, as well as respond to comments.  Needless to say, one branded YouTube channel can lead to a lot of work.

Still, hard work can lead to strong rewards with SEO.  Videos have gained traction in recent years on the search engine results pages due to Google’s “Universal Search Results”.  That means videos are appearing on the first page of many SERPs along with standard text displays and images.  Line up your resources right and your business’ branded YouTube channel could be churning out top ranking, lead-generating videos in no time.

Consider Your Customers

Ok, so let’s say you’ve got the resources and are willing to take the risk.  Does that answer the question?  Not yet.  You see the real answer to whether your business should create a dedicated YouTube channel resides with your customers.  They are the ones who will visit the channel and view, rate, share, and leave comments.  So your videos have to be resolving an issue that customers have:  maybe they’re requesting more visuals (via feedback or reviews), or searching specific keywords (like “how to”), or not converting on your product pages (as seen in Google Analytics).

Rather than creating videos here and there, a branded YouTube channel keeps all your videos in one place.  When a customer clicks on any of your videos, they land on your channel and are presented with a whole world of educational, inspirational, or entertaining videos about your company that can help answer their silent demands.  A strong collection of videos adds a layer of transparency to your products or services and builds a high level of credibility for your business.  In addition, a branded YouTube channel also prevents your customers from seeing competitor videos in YouTube’s standard recommendation sidebar (now only yours will appear).

So to answer the question:  if you have the resources to take the risk and if your videos will help your customers, then yes, a branded YouTube channel can help your business.

Have you created a business branded YouTube channel?  What are your tips and advice?