Imagine how appreciative your customers would be to see a new good or service demonstrated without having to leave their home? Or, consider a customer who needs step-by-step instructions as to how to apply a particular fertilizer or how to can vegetables they harvested from their garden. With YouTube all of this, and more, is possible. This site is a great resource where viewers can watch programming such as movie trailers, clips, and full episodes of news programs, special interest shows, and videos that amateur videographers create. Videos can vary from less than a minute to over an hour in length. Viewers can find videos by:
- Browsing through videos arranged by pre-determined categories labeled and organized by YouTube (e.g., Science & Education and Cooking & Health)
- Entering keywords into the search box (e.g., gardening, grilling vegetables)
- Clicking on links for related videos.
How Can Your Business Benefit from Using YouTube?
By using YouTube agricultural businesses can add dimension to flat or stagnate screen images. Since many people are "visual," this tool may help convey benefits and features of your goods and services. According to YouTube, viewers may remain on a site longer if they can watch a video compared to a website where just words are used to describe a process or a product. Video can be particularly useful in showing viewers a process (e.g., such as planting seeds, making an apple pie, etc.), documenting events and activities that occur at the farm or garden center (e.g., holiday open house, fall festival, or grand reopening), and serve as another place to post television commercials. Here are some staggering statistics agricultural businesses to consider in terms of the size of the YouTube audience (Source: YouTube, 2016):
- YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
- From 2014 to 2015, the number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40%.
- The number of hours people spend watching videos on YouTube is up 60% from 2014 to 2015, the fastest growth we've seen in two years.
Retailers may want to seriously consider YouTube for reaching these younger audiences especially as their needs, wants, and interests may differ from customers you currently consider your target customer.
As with other social networking sites, it is necessary for an agricultural business to post frequently, though the number of videos produced may increase and/ or decrease based on the seasonality of the business. To tie-in with other social networking tools you may be using, consider posting a video related to content you may have posted in a blog, on Facebook, Twitter, or another social network. Don't forget to let consumers know when a new video is available by sending them emails, placing an announcement on your website, putting a sign in your retail outlet, and posting on your other social networks.
Viewers can also create a YouTube account and "subscribe" to "channels" that are specific to the source/person who posts the video (e.g., Garden Girl TV). By subscribing, viewers receive emails that alert them when a new video is posted to the channel. Subscribers will also find a list of recommended videos based on their subscription preferences when they log into YouTube. For example, someone interested in learning how to cook might subscribe to the Food Network channel. By doing so, titles and links to similar programming will appear under the "Recommended" heading on the home page.
Viewers can easily subscribe to channels, such as GoodNewsBroadcast, so that they will be informed when new video has been posted.
Potential Consumer Response to YouTube Video
Certainly, posting video about the goods and services you have to offer is a great way to use YouTube, but why not take it a step further and encourage viewers to act on videos you post and forward them to others? Viewers can email video links to others, post links to their Facebook and Pinterest accounts, and send Twitter messages with the link, all from the page where the video is posted. Encourage viewers to send the link to others who might be interested in the content. For example, a landscape contracting business could post a video about patio installation, care and maintenance tips, and a description of services the business offers. The landscape contractor should mention in the video taking measures to care for a patio is often times less costly than trying to fix a problem after it occurs - so why not forward the video link to family and friends and help them save money? It has been well documented that word-of-mouth and the willingness of consumers to tell others about businesses and products, good or bad, can greatly benefit (or negatively impact) a business. By suggesting either in the video itself or accompanying description that viewers should pass along the information, an agricultural business may find that this could greatly increase video views.
What are some examples of reactions and responses a viewer might have after watching your videos?
- Consumers who view your video either visit your website or retail outlet and/or make a purchase
- Viewers forward the link of your video to others
- Viewers actually post comments in the comment box and/or click on the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" button to express their views.
Not only can the person who posted the video comment on a viewer's post, but other viewers can type in comments as well. Thus it is possible to engage viewers in a dialog and even build a relationship with them as they may come to rely on your expertise and information for their own personal use. Responding to unfavorable or negative comments on YouTube is as necessary as responding to favorable or positive comments. Just as you should do with other social networking sites, it is very important to monitor what consumers, vendors, and competitors are saying about your business and to respond and/or correct the situation as soon as possible.
The number of potential videos an ag. business can produce and post on YouTube is immense! Think of the many special events, festivals, re-openings, new product introductions, and other topics that can chronicle a business throughout the year - in addition to the topics perfect for how-to videos showing a process from start to finish (e.g. creating a container garden, picking the best cheese for a party and what wine to serve it with). If you need a suggestion as to how to get started filming and editing your video, look no further than YouTube.com. Consult the many help pages where you will find videos and directions on numerous topics ranging from capturing sound to compressing video. Other resources can be found online through keyword searches. Once a process is developed, the number of videos and the content is only limited by your imagination.
For Further Reading
Prepared by Kathleen Kelley, Associate Professor in Horticulture, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Assistant