This post is the fourth in a series of primers on various platforms available for life science social media marketing (SMM). The first SMM primer, about the use of Twitter, is available here. The second, on using Facebook for life science SMM, is available here. The third, on LinkedIn, is available here. Check back next week for the last life science social media marketing primer, which will be on the use of forums.
YouTube has become synonymous with video on the internet. Content is literally added faster than you can watch it, even if you had 2500 monitors. According to YouTube’s own statistics, 8 years worth of video content is uploaded to YouTube every day. More content is uploaded in one month than the three major US television networks have created in 60 years. YouTube videos were played 700 billion times in 2010.
That said, YouTube isn’t your average social network. The average YouTube viewer is there for entertainment or information, not socialization, so there are a lot more silent participants and generally less interaction than on more traditional social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Because of this, YouTube isn’t really a social tool to be used alone, nor is it something that should be tackled separately from other social channels. To get the most from YouTube, it should rather be a part of a greater life science content marketing strategy, and its use should be integrated with your other social platforms.
YouTube is wonderful for content marketing in no small part because it’s so incredibly easy to share. YouTube has its own built-in URL shortening, and viewers can post YouTube content anywhere and embed videos any place that they can post HTML. If your aim is viral and your content is video, YouTube has to be your platform. YouTube is good for more than just viral videos, though. It’s a great place to start or develop engagement with customers. YouTube allows you to link to other content within the video space itself, and you can promote other avenues of social engagement and content as well, such as your twitter account, Facebook page, blog, your YouTube channel, etc. Be sure to make good use of that capability and encourage your audience to interact, share, and connect. Think of this encouragement as the equivalent of what calls-to-action would be in more demand-focused marketing communications. Instead of “buy now”, you’re saying “share”, “follow”, or “subscribe”. Keep your content fresh, and make lots of videos – even if they’re nothing special. Show customers how to use your new products (and encourage them to share their methods via video as well). Introduce your facility or staff. Create “video manuals” for your products. Show your human side, build your brand, make some friends. Get creative, and try to find ways to pique your customers interest. Just don’t waste their time. Videos don’t have to have a high production value (especially for smaller life science companies that aren’t as worried about appearing “finished”), but they should all have a purpose.
Like other social media platforms, there are some things that you definitely should NOT do. Don’t use it as a place to make hard pitches. If you want to use YouTube to lead someone into a sales cycle, lead them to another place first (your website, for example). Also, don’t use too YouTube videos on the static pages of your website (such as your product pages). YouTube videos will show related videos at the end of your video, and this may include competitors’ videos. Also, YouTube is notorious for people “Trolling” – posting inflammatory or degrading remarks in order to elicit a response. Don’t “feed the trolls” by falling into their trap. If someone says something off-topic and / or stupid, just ignore it.
YouTube also allows users to create “Brand Channels“. These channels are homepages for their YouTube content that can be customized with a company’s branding and imagery, and also provides some additional features such as moderation (which shouldn’t be overused!). These are visually nifty, but are not free, so it’s up to you to decide whether a brand channel is worth it.
YouTube is a great place to share your video content and promote engagement with customers. Used in conjunction with other social media platforms, your blog, and other means of providing and distributing content, your life science company can build a powerful tool for engaging researchers.