The many advantages of using YouTube

WORKING IT

If you are a typical parent, I bet you’re continually chiding the children for chewing up your home internet bandwidth allowance by spending too much time watching videos on YouTube.

I do this too with my six kids. However, don’t be prejudiced. YouTube is not only videos of babies laughing, kids pranking or the latest pop music hit.

It can be remarkably useful for almost every manager I can think of. Sales, human resources, IT, customer service, marketing, finance.

How? Internal use for training, how-to, procedures, software tips, executive messages, demos, role playing, induction. And that’s just a quick top-of-mind list.

I’d like to devote this column to explaining why I think YouTube has such universal business appeal for those in management by detailing the freasy (free + easy) features you didn’t know existed at your fingertips. 

Everyone knows that the whole point of using YouTube is to share your video with the world. However, what you might not know is that you do not have to go public. There are two other options.

The first is for the video to be private. Only people you select can view it, up to a maximum of 50. The second is unlisted, where anyone with the link can view it.

One of the main benefits to you is the simplicity of uploading videos. You don’t need to incorporate your IT department – except if it is to lift the internet ban on the website if one is set.

Alternatively, you can easily upload a video via a flip video camera or your smartphone. Within minutes of it is there for anyone to view. 

And with the built-in functionality described here you don’t need to have special software editing tools for videos if you want to make changes.

But why would you use YouTube instead of the company intranet?

Cost. Let Google (owner of YouTube) pay the costs of hosting videos online and setting the bandwidth required for people watching them. Since it is so easy, you can avoid the IT team, who I’m sure have much more on their plate.

Your own channel. Create your own department channel, customising it with your company branding, logos or colours, if you like.

Add captions and transcripts. These help you in two ways. First, of course, to enable people with hearing difficulties to follow what is being said. Second, if your video will be public, captions help the video's search ranking. Need the video to be viewed by offices around the world? Translate your captions into different languages by clicking on the translate button. 

Layer comments, hotspots and links over your video. Want to embed a link? A comment? There is an annotations editor for creating pop-up comments on your video and a pop-up link to your website. A good way of directing people to your site.

Delete offensive comments. Afraid that if it goes public, your brand image might get tarnished? You don’t have to visit YouTube every day to watch for good or bad comments on your videos. All comments are emailed to you. If you consider one spam or nasty, simply clicking a downwards pointing arrow to the right of the reply button enables you to delete it forever.

Categorise your content on your channel. If you plan on producing a series of videos, it’s a great idea to categorise them. You’ll get more viewings by making it easier for people to find the content they are looking for. You can categorise content in two ways.

  • Playlists: Rather than making your viewers go through a long list of your videos available, group them by category into playlists. An added benefit is that you can embed entire playlists (or individual videos, of course ) into external sites such as your own website.
  • Tags: Get your videos found. YouTube’s content is organised on a tag word basis (ie, keywords). So when you’re loading your video online, think about words that may people may use in their search process and add as many of them as you like. There is no limit and they won’t hurt or detract search results.

Note – if you set a video to private or unlisted it will not appear on your channel, in groups, search results or playlists.

Who’s watching? The Insight button on every uploaded video (My Uploaded Videos View) gives you valuable information about viewing statistics, demographics, how viewers found your video and the popular links they followed to get there.

Remove bloopers. Edit bloopers out easily in YouTube’s Video Editor. You can also combine videos or trim the beginning and/or end or add a soundtrack from the AudioSwap library.

Use high definition. You don’t have to settle for graining low quality. If your camera or smartphone supports it you can upload widescreen and high definition.

While these features are a drop in the bucket, hopefully you can see that for management using videos can be an easy way to help motivate, educate, inspire and have fun with staff.

Debbie Mayo-Smith is one of the most sought-after speakers in Australasia. For a free quick tip newsletter, a vast collection of "how-to" articles and other resources to help you work smarter and save time, visit www.debbiespeaks.co.nz