For a long time, people lumped in YouTube with the other social media networks. This was an odd thing to do because YouTube is extremely different from social media in a couple of ways. Marketing on YouTube can be incredibly effective but it is also expensive and requires a lot of trial and error.

What is YouTube?

This might seem like a silly question, but since people have long referred to it as a social media platform its worth talking about what it really is. YouTube is at least three things:

  1. A video hosting/viewing service
  2. A forum
  3. A search engine

It is all of these things rolled into one. What that means for you, the small business owner, is that you can market on YouTube in at least three different ways:

  1. Video marketing
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Search engine marketing

All of these methods involve cost. It costs a fair amount to make a decent video, though the price can go down over time once you develop a process. (Take it from me, I have supervised a YouTube channel with thousands of videos, tens of thousands of subscribers and millions of views.) The other two ways spending time or money on participating on YouTube, and spending money on ads. Basically, if you’re going to use YouTube, you’re going to have to spend money.

Is it worth it?

Well, that really depends. You may have heard about people making tons of money on YouTube, but those people are the minority. And the math just doesn’t add up for most people; it takes millions of views to generate thousands of dollars and it takes a very long time (and luck) to get to the point where you are getting millions of views. Nearly everything you do in marketing terms on YouTube is internal, meaning that you’re usually paying to send someone to a different part of YouTube. This means that most of your efforts on YouTube are more for branding than they are for actual clients. (Getting the clients from YouTube to you is one of the big hurdles with marketing within a network.)

But with the right commitment of money, you can dominate branding among younger clients, and with the right calls to action in your videos, you can get clients to contact you. Successful YouTube campaigns can be very successful. But they will cost a lot.


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