It astounds me when I see any business or business owner dismiss the power of YouTube, and video marketing.
Any business, and for the purposes of our site, any assisted living business or facility who doesn't have a youtube channel, and a video presence, is missing out on a significant source of traffic, attention, branding, and sales or placements.
(see Assisted Living Directory's youtube channel)
Granted, I do understand that many people out there still associate YouTube with cute videos of fuzzy cats doing cutesy tricks, but YouTube is much more than that, and has evolved into a powerful tool to spread your businesses message, if you know how to use it properly.
A hurdle, I know. Using it properly, or at all for that matter. How many people out there own a camera that puts out quality, or HD (High-Definition) video? Not many, I'd guess. How many of us know how to actually use a good camera, if we have one? Even fewer. Does anyone out there know how to edit a video properly, render it correctly, add quality audio, songs, graphics, and text? I think our numbers of potential YouTube sensations continues to dwindle.
For every great video on YouTube, there are 100 that are awful, and should not clog the bandwidth of even the most forgiving user's computer. A bad video can do more damage than the benefits that can be realized from a good one.
Herein lies the magic of YouTube.
YouTube, being owned by big Google, has a platform, programming, and social interaction that encourages good videos to 'float to the top' - getting the most attention and views. Users can 'like' videos, comment on them, and provide the signals that youtube relies on to assess which videos are worth watching.
However, what many people don't realize is that a good video can often time rank well within google's Organic Search Results - the results you see when you type in a search term within google's search engine.
This, to me, should be reason enough for facilities and businesses to start filming.
Take, for example, a video that we did (Assisted Living Directory) of a facility near us a few years ago. Doing a simple google search for that facility, you'll see that in the first "organic" (a.k.a. non-paid) position in the search results is a video thumbnail for the facility's video, and a link to the video.
#1 search result - a video!
Naturally, when people scan the results, they will be drawn to an image over anything else, so likely, they will choose the video first over the rest of the results. This is especially powerful if your facility has a website that is not performing well, or if you are spending too much for paid placements on search engines.
Searching outside of 'search'
Many more Internet users nowadays are bypassing searching for information through traditional search engines, and going straight for YouTube. YouTube now has over 800 million monthly unique visitors (more than the entire population of Europe).
Users want to see their content in a visual format, much more so than text, and even over photos. For users searching for an assisted living facility for a loved one - an undeniably important, life-decision - a video detailing what the facility looks like, with resident testimonials, and perhaps the owners talking about the history and mission of the facility will win every time over a static page of text, and a few photos.
info graphic source: Shorty Media
Compelling, engaging content for your own website
A website can be a terrific tool for promoting your business. However, it is not a sure thing by any means. A website without visitors is like seawater to a thirsty person. It doesn't matter. As we all know, getting visitors, followers, and engagement on a website, especially a new website, is a full-time job nowadays.
Additionally, many users are 'text blind' - meaning, they don't have the time to read a 1000 word article, or perhaps they just don't have the energy to.
Creating and adding videos to your website accomplishes a number of items that will help your site tremendously:
Videos take much of the 'work' away from the user in terms of reading, comprehending and remembering your message. Videos are "easy consumption" for the user.
Videos add "time on site" which is an important ranking signal for search engines. The more people hang around on your site, the more the search engines will assess that you have quality content, and that it should rank better.
Videos are easy to embed on your site, or others. YouTube makes it a snap to take a piece of code, modify the size, and add it to a website.
Videos are hard to scrape, or steal in terms of someone else claiming it is theirs. Once you upload an original video, it is yours, and can't easily be stolen and modified by others. Even if you allow embedding on other sites, as long as you have branded the video, annotated it, put your logo and website address in it, the video is yours, and there will be no question as to who created it (authorship).
Videos offer an easy opportunity for user engagement and participation via liking, commenting and sharing.
Where do I start?
If you are stuck with where to start, I have a few suggestions for you.
Firstly, if you don't want to do it yourself, or alone, there are plenty of people out there who know YouTube, and who know how to make decent videos. I'm sure with a little searching around, you'll be able to find someone.
If you happen upon a video that you like on YouTube, often times they will say who produced it, and may even offer contact information. If not, it doesn't hurt to simply contact the video's owner through their youtube channel and ask them!
If you want to do it yourself:
You'll first need a gmail account, and then you can sign up for a YouTube Channel. This part is pretty easy. If you get stuck, there are plenty of guides, e-books, and even youtube tutorials on how to get your channel set up. Your channel is where you will upload and store all of your videos.
You'll then need a decent camera, a good audio microphone, a tripod, decent editing software, patience for trial and error, and a general understanding of lighting, focusing, general camera operation, and post-production. Again, there are guides and tutorials galore out there for whatever equipment and software you use.
For me, I use:
Camera: Canon T2i EOS Rebel. I have to say, my camera is awesome. Aside from spectacular photos, it takes studio-quality high-def video. I've had mine for about 3 years now, and it is still going strong. You can get one for around $500 right now.
Tripod: I use a Manfrotto, but really, any decent tripod will do.
Fluid Head: I use a Fancier fluid head for my tripod, which allows me to pan around very smoothly.
Audio: I use a simple RODE video microphone.
Video Editing: I use Vegas Studio, by Sony, but there are many different video editing software packages out there, like Adobe Premier, Pinnacle Studio and a number of free ones as well.
All said and done, and out the door, you can really get set up for between $700 and $1000. Of course, you can go way beyond this if you want.
If you need further assistance, guidance, or perhaps a video done for your facility, let us know - maybe Assisted Living Directory can help!