YouTube … Why You Should Take It Seriously

I think a lot of people don’t take YouTube seriously. After all, how many of us associate YouTube with videos like “laughing baby,” “David after dentist” and “Will it Blend?” But  I think YouTube can be very useful for an organization when creating and maintaining its web presence. That’s why I was excited when I was asked to present on YouTube for Nonprofits at a luncheon yesterday with some of my other coworkers (who presented on other social media topics).

Are you also a YouTube naysayer? Do you believe that it’s “just for kids”? Well, to set the record straight (and so you don’t feel left out if you missed my presentation yesterday), I wanted to share with you some statistics and some tips on how to use YouTube – especially if you’re a nonprofit.

Think YouTube is just for kids? Some stats for you to keep in mind (from a Pew Internet Report)

  • The share of online adults who watch videos on video-sharing sites has nearly doubled since 2006
  • 62% of adult internet users watch video online (on a site such as YouTube)
  • 41 % of internet users ages 50-64 watch video online
  • 27% of internet users ages 65 and older watch video online

Clearly, there are more than just young folks checking out videos online and surfing YouTube. So what can you do?

Here are 5 tips for using YouTube, especially for nonprofits.

1) Create a Channel and Make It Yours

The first thing you should do when you decide to create a YouTube presence for your organization is to create and customize your own channel. Upload videos and create playlists. Write a succinct bio about your organization and link back to your website. Add a customized banner (perhaps with your organization’s logo and tagline) and background image. Your visual identity on YouTube should reflect your presence on your other channels (like your website), so your audience can easily recognize you.

2) Upload Your Own Videos and Favorite Others

Don’t feel like you need to immediately populate your channel with hundreds of videos. The best videos often aren’t just “talking heads” or interviews with your organization’s CEO. They tell a story – about your organization, who you’ve helped, what you do. Two to three good videos are better than fifteen boring ones that your subscribers won’t watch. Also, you don’t need a lot of original content to create a YouTube channel. Besides populating your channel with your videos, you can create playlists and favorite other people’s videos. If you stand for a popular cause, chances are you’re not the only one who has created a related video. Search for, rate and favorite other related videos that.

3) Collect Donations

Use YouTube’s call-to-action overlay to link directly on your video to an external donation site or your website. You can also add a “donate” box on your channel page to let people donate to your organization through Google Checkout.

4) Showcase Your Events

Do you host fundraising events? YouTube can be a great way to share events with those who are unable to attend and attract future attendees. You can create a video of the event highlights and upload it to your channel. The video should be no longer than three to five minutes and doesn’t need to be overly edited or produced. Tell your attendees at the event to be on the lookout for the new video(s) on your channel. If you plan on sending a thank you email to attendees, be sure to provide a link to your channel so guests can watch the video and share it with their friends.

5) Integrate Video with All of Your Social Media

Use your other social media involvement to drive traffic to your videos and your YouTube channel. If you’re using Twitter, tweet when you upload a video. Post your videos to your Facebook fan page. In your profiles on other social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Flickr, provide not only a link to your nonprofit’s home page, but also to your YouTube channel (and other social media sites). If you have an e-newsletter, link to your channel there. The more ways you share your YouTube presence with your existing networks, the more traffic you’ll drive to your channel.

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