Almost exactly 3 years ago, while working at Saturn Alliance, I created a YouTube channel to post a number of technology videos. About 12 months ago I created a new CIAOPS YouTube channel and stopped posting anything to the Saturn Alliance account. Yet as you can see the Saturn Alliance account has now surpassed 300,000 views, which I find truly amazing. Why? Because I honestly believed that very few people would be interested in what I posted, but clearly due to the breadth of the Internet I was wrong. It is sort of like this blog, which I can’t honestly believe anyone except my mother actually reads, but to those who do I say thanks.
While recently attending SMB Nation 2009 I was in a session about using social media tools like YouTube inside a technology business. I went along because I felt I really needed to learn more but as it turns out people where still struggling to understand how they could use technologies like YouTube. The experience I shared with them was how I came to creating the Saturn Alliance account.
Saturn Alliance had always struggled to provide users with effective information about their systems, to allow them to do more for themselves and therefore save some money rather than calling for support all the time. I had created plenty of documentation including pictures and step by step procedures but users just never seemed to pay attention to anything that was written down. The most common process I found users continually struggled with was rebooting a SBS 2003 server. Normally, I had to talk them through the process which, in reality, is very straight forward. This created a huge amount of frustration on the part of the business and myself as I was always being interrupted over and over to hand hold the same users through the same process.
It was clear that most people are far more responsive to video rather than text so I therefore created a simple video about the process of rebooting a SBS 2003 server. This worked a treat, but typically when a user needed to reboot I had to email them the video. Of course they never saved the video in a place for easy reference which meant I had to continually email the video over and over again. This did not make any sense as it was almost like them simply calling up. The solution was to post the video on YouTube.
Now all I had to do was email the user a link to the video which they could watch immediately. Problem solved, and I created a few more to help customers, thinking no more about what was possible beyond this. Because the YouTube videos were public I soon found quite a few people not only watching the videos I had created but also commenting and contacting me. That got me thinking, was I missing an opportunity here? So I started experimenting with branding the videos and was amazed at the results.
The end result was 47 videos in 2 years with the Saturn Alliance account and a growing number of videos at the newer CIAOPS YouTube channel. I am pleased to say that I still receive lots and lots of feedback on what I have created and continue to welcome any suggestions. So if you haven’t see what’s up there, take a look and let me know what you think.
To those businesses who only see YouTube as something that needs to be blocked I’d say think again. I’d say start looking at it as an opportunity you can exploit to actively promote your skills and your business. I know that I do and see it as a very important piece of an overall marketing strategy going forward.