Vlogging is an avenue that more and more business owners are exploring – but why, and what are the benefits? And, who is vlogging with an impact right now? With YouTube surpassing Yahoo! as the second largest search engine, and millions of people increasingly watching video on mobile devices, establishing a vlog for your business could be more of a must than a luxury!
Benefit: Vlogging creates a personal connection with customers
For small businesses, start-ups and those generating income from a passion (art, writing, design, existing blogs/websites) the benefit of vlogging is that it provides a human face to your company – giving the customer a more personal, personable experience. People relate and connect, and feel they are purchasing from you as an individual, not just a website.
One of vidmeup.com's favourite vloggers, artist and writer Retrophiliac, supported this view when she gave me her thoughts on why she feels her vlog is beneficial to businesses. In reference to her artwork that she sells on Etsy and other forums, she says;
“I like the ability to talk about my current pieces of artwork so people get a feeling for my personality, not just images I've posted online. You need to attach feeling and emotion if you really want to draw any kind of attention. I have had a good array of positive feedback... People seem to enjoy my quick-witted nature and ability to have an unscripted 'conversation' with whoever may be viewing it”
Strategy: Piggyback on the success of existing vloggers
One question for any brand wanting to enter the vlogging arena: why go to the trouble of curating a character and growing an audience from scratch, when there are already high profile vloggers out there who could do the job without the monumental build up required?
In the UK the leading YouTube vlogger is Charlie McDonnell – YouTube alias ‘Charlieissocoollike’. Charlie describes himself succinctly as “an English twenty-something who makes videos”. At the time of writing, his simple yet entertaining vlogs have earned him over 238 million views and 1.5 million subscribers.
At the moment, the ‘shop’ button on Charlie’s profile links to DFTBA Records, an online record label. His audience being mainly teenagers and early twenty-somethings, it's ideal for their marketing efforts.
Another ‘corporate-adopted’ vlogging success is Phillip De Franco - a news and pop culture commentator who boasts over 2 million subscribers, and well over 800 million views. Corporates have not been slow to open their arms to this young vlogger – note the ‘Angry Birds’ product placements in his latest upload.
However, this example should also signal a word of caution to vloggers and marketing execs – if you make the vlog product-orientated, with too obvious a promotional aspect, then viewers may turn away. De Franco has frequently been subject to criticism from former fans, with one commenting on a message board that;
“The guy was just a regular Joe on YouTube, talking from his living room, and now he has a set, everything is manicured to say “This is the image I want to present to you” but none of it is really him. It’s all made up… and he’s vlogging because it’s his job not because he really wants to do it”
The message to any corporate marketing managers: if you’re thinking of ‘adopting’ a vlogger... don’t make it too obvious – people will see through it.
So, can you vlog in your own right?
With the vlog presence on the web understandably dominated by young people such as Charlie discussing teen/twenty-something issues, it may be hard to find an established vlogger who naturally represents your company image – particularly if you are marketing a sophisticated, adult-orientated product.
In this case, there are a few examples of vloggers who have curated their own audience, with the vlog as the centre-piece of their business marketing.
The best known is undoubtedly the vlogger, public speaker and wine retail CEO Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s 2006 vlog 2006 Wine Library TV, a daily internet webcast on the subject of wine, launched his career of internet celebrity, and shone a spotlight on his business which continued to grow. Although retired from wine vlogging since the end of 2011, Gary is a clear example of a man who made a success from his passion and his personal, interesting video blogs. His vlogs show a real person, not a corporate drone or actor, with a passion for his topic and an individual, enthusiastic style.
Before retiring from vlogging, he signed a 10-book deal with HarperStudio for over $1,000,000 and released the first book, ‘Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion’. A fitting title for a man whose vlog paved the way for his success.
Vlog while getting your business ranking in Google
Here's plus point: you can focus on the SEO even whilst vlogging. Basically, when vlogging you’re putting up new content that you can link to all over the web on your social media accounts: other people can then ‘like’, retweet or ‘+1’ which, will give you a higher ranking on search engines.
Another great strategy is uploading a written blog or article and embedding an accompanying video: this way you’re appealing to two different types of customers; the ones who read blogs and the ones who watch them. As any student of education will tell you, this appeals to the two different types of recipients: the ‘visual’ and ‘auditory’ categories of viewer.
Still not convinced? Then consider the cost of entry benefits
You don’t need masses of cash or resources to be a successful vlogger. According to ‘vlog league compliers’, of the top 10 most subscribed YouTube vlogs in the UK, the top three are individuals, not corporates.
Charlie is in pole position by some margin. Interestingly, the next two highest ranked vloggers both offer hair and beauty tips – obviously a huge untapped vlog audience for UK corporates...
The third highest ranking UK YouTube vlogger is Northern Ireland’s ‘BubzBeauty’ (real name Lindy).
She uploads regularly, and has well over 2 million views, and over 1 million subscribers. How long before a corporate comes knocking at her door, I wonder?
Gives you an idea as to what can be achieved with lipstick, a webcam and a little time, doesn’t it?