Google’s powerhouse social video network and search engine YouTube can be so much more than a mere storehouse for your brand’s videos. It should, instead, radiate goodwill around your brand and offer new, unusual and hopefully entertaining perspectives on your brand.
Autodesk, producer of 3D design software, is one company that takes the "radiation" approach to YouTube as opposed to the passive storehouse approach. The company devotes a good portion of its communications resources to its YouTube channel, and that devotion has paid off in more than 220,000 subscribers. The immediate goal for its YouTube channel might surprise you, considering this is a software company we're talking about.
"Besides utility of YouTube for learning purposes, video is a powerful avenue to create an emotional connection with our customers," says Clay Helm, public relations director for Autodesk. "One thing we’ve been doing is enlisting YouTube influencers to reach new audiences beyond those that are seeking out our brand channels."
Autodesk creates that emotional connection with its YouTube channel by working with influencers, or "peer networks," instead of just authorities within the company itself. "[You've got to] find the people who are really passionate about topics that are equally important to you," says Helm.
Clay has six recommendations for brands seeking to create a YouTube channel that makes emotional connections and radiates a cycle of goodwill between brand and audience.
- "Start with understanding and being authentic to your community," Helm says. "From watching our customer community on social, we knew YouTube is the number one place they go to search. We also knew that the content didn't need to be polished."
- "Find out what your unique audience niche is; those are the customers you will connect with most and who will be most dedicated."
- "If it's your first YouTube influencer campaign, consider hiring an agency. They can negotiate bulk discounts on behalf of clients."
- "Don't automatically go after the top YouTube stars in your category. Look for people on the rise who have shown more than six months of steady growth of viewers."
- "Choose a mix of influencers that will hit different facets of your audience. Autodesk found a range of YouTubers across gaming and family were the right mix for a recent campaign."
- "Pay attention not only to views but to the shares and comments that say more about how your audiences are responding to your influencer's videos. In other words, test, then analyze, then invest a little more."
Follow Clay Helm: @HelmClay
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI