Voices

Why your firm should be on YouTube

If you thought YouTube only featured videos of cute babies and stupid pet tricks, think again. Did you know that YouTube is the third most popular website in the world with more than 2 billion views each day, compared to Google (No. 1) and Facebook (No. 2), and that the average YouTube user spends 15 minutes a day on the site? In fact, there are so many videos on YouTube that it would take 1,700 years to watch it all!

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How YouTube Relates to Accounting

The same naysayers in your firm who oppose social media probably have their concerns about marketing the firm and its services on something like YouTube. While YouTube enables us to inexpensively post videos online and make them immediately available to the public, try putting yourself in the shoes of the average individual or business that goes to the Internet to find an answer to an accounting or tax question. On YouTube, topics range from simple “how to” videos about using QuickBooks and other software to more complicated videos about business formation, forensic accounting, succession planning for business owners and small business tax.

Accounting software providers, including Intuit’s QuickBooks, have their own channels in which a company can store all its videos in order to maximize visibility. Smaller companies like Build Your Firm, accounting firms, and many accounting associations also have YouTube channels. Why create a channel? Channels are beneficial because they serve as a single repository of all your videos, making them easy to select by your audience and easy for you to maintain.

As an accounting firm, why wouldn’t you want to be on YouTube? One of the most fascinating aspects of the site is its ability to recommend related or complementary videos with your search results. This provides a true value-added presence and makes YouTube even more attractive, especially if a prospect is searching for something in your local area.

Success is Only a Video Away

Many people search YouTube for free information on how to solve a problem or to seek necessary advice on how to make more informed decisions — all without having to read. No one can deny the fact that many of us are “visual” learners, so watching a video is easier for many of us than reading paragraphs of gray text on a page.

YouTube videos are easy to wrap into your website and very effective at engaging prospects by starting the relationship-building process. Once you establish yourself as an information provider, prospects will feel comfortable enough to investigate your firm’s services further. More than that, videos help you and your firm establish yourself as subject matter experts. Can your audience find the information elsewhere? Possibly, but as we all know, individuals and business clients of all kinds trust their accountants to give them the direction they need to operate their businesses more efficiently and, among other things, reduce their tax liability.

Remember that video isn't new, and when it comes to playing videos via the Internet, you want to remain sensitive to your audience. As a result, when you incorporate YouTube videos into your website, never set the video to automatic play. People are annoyed when you push or force videos on them. Allow your audience to self-select the video and play it on their own.

Learn what people are searching for on YouTube before you decide to produce a video. YouTube provides a keyword research tool to analyze what topics are being frequently searched. To locate the keyword research tool, go to Google and type in “YouTube keyword tool.”

5 Tips for Video Marketing

It may be hard for some firms to get started producing their own videos. Firms do not have to spend their resources hiring professional crews unless the video might be too complicated to shoot with a handheld camera and tripod. Regardless of what you do or how you produce a video, here are some tips for marketing:

1. Create a YouTube channel if you plan to create multiple videos. There is no cost to do this.

2. For videos that you want played and watched on YouTube, make them short; one to three minutes is about right.

3. Incorporate the video into your website to generate more traffic. When you want to play the video on your website, your audience is more engaged. These videos can be more in-depth – let’s say four to 10 minutes.

4. Learn how to optimize the video so it can be easier to locate in YouTube and Google searches.

5. Obtain links to the video so others can locate it and place the links on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, email messages, your email newsletter or your LinkedIn page. Try to spike traffic when the video is first posted on YouTube by promoting it as much as you can. Spiking your traffic when it is first posted on YouTube will elevate it in YouTube search results.

The best advice of all is to get started — and start small. If you or your firm don't own a camera, borrow one and try producing your own short video. Show the video to a few colleagues and clients to get their opinions about its value and then begin marketing it by placing it on YouTube and promoting it in your own efforts. You’ll be surprised by the attention and possible business you’ll get!

Hugh Duffy is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Build Your Firm, a website development and marketing company for accounting firms.