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The 3 Essential Truths of YouTube

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Marketing on YouTube can be a valuable venture for real estate agents, but there are three essentials truths about the platform that all agents must know.

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YouTube is one massive Internet platform. With 800 million unique users a month and three billion views a day, YouTube’s viewers in 2012 were eight times what Hulu enjoyed; and if that weren’t enough, 48 hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube’s servers every minute.

Such widespread use, however, poses definite problems when using YouTube for business purposes; how on earth do you know what works and what doesn’t? Thankfully, Dane Atkinson and his firm SumAll have your interests in mind. An analytics company, SumAll studied data from 30,000 businesses, and collected their findings into a number of clear guidelines for using YouTube for business purposes.

Here are the most notable to keep in mind:

1. Forget about High Costs and Viral Attention – The average self-created video, Atkinson and co. found, costs around $300, so it’s not worth renting a studio and throwing huge gobs of money into your YouTube videos; on the other hand, still devote time and effort to your videos so they’re at least polished and presentable. So for instance, if you’re shooting video of a listing, make sure the camera is steady and your voice clear while pointing out the home’s features.

Even with those efforts, though, do not think that your videos have any chance of going viral. Sure, it’s easy to think of some of the more notable viral videos on YouTube (Charlie bit me…, Bed Intruder, Sweet Brown) and assume that your well-made, professional videos have a similar chance at finding an audience and being featured on “The Today Show” and Mashable.com, but think of this from a statistical perspective – those videos we just referenced add up to around five minutes of video time, and users upload 48 hours of video every minute! It really is a needle in a haystack when it comes to videos getting viral attention, so don’t invest in YouTube with those kinds of goals in mind.

2. Encourage Sharing and Re-Posts – Comments are always great to read on YouTube (in fact, they’re occasionally more entertaining than the videos themselves!), but sadly, they serve little purpose for businesses. Rather, Atkinson suggests businesses should ask customers to re-post videos to increase their exposure. So for real estate purposes, why not have your clients post your video of their listing on their Facebook/Pinterest accounts?  Why not have colleagues share your videos of tips and tutorials for agents on their social media channels?

3. Don’t Be Traditional – There are still avenues where traditional marketing approaches work (think direct mail and e-blasts), but YouTube users have little of that patience; therefore, Atkinson recommends keeping things short and sweet.

“The worst is going into a 20-minute diatribe about how your product is the best thing out there,” Atkinson says. “YouTube patience is very short. You’ll get this false data where it looks like you had a lot of page views but it turns out people are ending the video within six seconds.”

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