Social Media – Why You Tube is not for you

I know – You Tube is the #2 search engine in the world. And, every minute of every hour of every day there is a lifetime of video uploaded to the site. If you placed all the You Tube videos end to end they would stretch to Jupiter and back (ok, I made up that last part.)

There is no question that You Tube has changed the way we find and watch video content.

However – is it an important – or even necessary – part of your social media strategy?

I am working with a small nonprofit in the Washington, DC area that is just beginning its social media journey. Fortunately for them they received some free services from a local advertising agency. The agency did a good job of cleaning up the organization’s web site, setting up a Facebook page, twitter account and You Tube channel. All great stuff. Except for one little problem.

The organization has exactly one video. And, they have neither the resources, personnel nor – this is critical – plans to produce anymore. Sure, they may come up with something – on occasion – that they can post but their You Tube channel will be ignored. By them and their fan base.

So, why bother?

If you spend any time reading the blogs and columns of advice on how to capitalize on social media, You Tube is almost always a part of the discussion. You Tube even has their own nonprofit channel. Examples are cited of how the bigger nonprofit brands exploit the opportunities of You Tube to the fullest. You can look them up.

That’s great. But, in my local nonprofit’s situation – which is replicated thousands of times across the country – they do not have the wherewithal to compete at that level.

Nor should they. There are enough opportunities for quality relationship building (and potential fundraising) via other platforms that they shouldn’t have to worry about creating content for You Tube.

If you are at a similar crossroads, consider these points before focusing your important time and attention on a You Tube presence:

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA – Videos are great storytelling mechanisms. Stories begin with ideas. They don’t have to be brilliant – they just need to be linear. If the best you can do with your video postings is a 90 second static camera plea from your CEO – don’t waste her or our time. Really, would you watch that? More importantly – would you share it with your friends? And, I’m sorry, but a two minute video of your latest event – that doesn’t provide a context or a story – is like watching your neighbor’s home movies. Everything starts with the idea and if you – or your staff – can’t think of one move on to something you can control.

I HAVE AN IDEA, NOW WHAT? – Notice that I didn’t say anything about how good of an idea you should have. That is completely subjective and you know your mission better than anyone. That said, a bad idea is better than no idea at all.

Assuming you’ve come up with an idea or a story you have to establish a narrative. Yes, you will actually have to write something down. I’m not suggesting fancy storyboards or a professionally written script with stage directions. All you need is a beginning, a middle and an end.

WE’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT – Said another way, get the right tools for the job. If you have the resources to outsource video production, well, you’re not reading this blog. However, if you’re like most organizations you’re counting on existing staff. Hopefully, you have someone in-house who has a basic understanding of the technical side of video production.

Do you have a digital video camera? A simple flip camera will do. And, some simple video editing software (do a Google search and you’ll find plenty. If you’re lucky and have a Mac you’re all set.)

The beauty of the emergence of You Tube is that it has lowered our expectations of quality. Would it be great to have a Spielberg-esque level of production values with great lighting and sweetened sound? Sure. But that isn’t in your budget.

A good story with a simple narrative will carry the day.

HOW LONG IS THIS MOVIE? – Brevity is genius. We live in a short attention span world. You start crashing the two minute mark your story better be engaging enough to hold my interest.

WE DID IT. NOW WHAT? – Do it again. There is nothing worse than abandoned real estate. How often have you gone to a Facebook page and seen that the most recent post is several weeks old? While You Tube does not require the constant attention of Facebook or Twitter it can’t be ignored. If you are not prepared to post videos on a reasonably regular basis you are better served keeping them to your web site and Facebook page. Sure, you can post them to You Tube but don’t set up a channel that screams your lack of attention.

The above steps are basic but require a reasonable commitment of time and energy. Forget the expertise – can you fit this into your schedule? Can your staff deliver?

I am a big believer in the power of video storytelling and the convenience of You Tube. I think it is a great way to advance your cause and explain your mission.

My point is that You Tube – like any other social media platform you engage – requires an upfront plan. The simple act of setting up a branded channel is worthless if you are not able to maintain it.

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan

Social Media Specialist



About Steve Allan

I am a Social Media specialist uniquely focused on the management, messaging and marketing of social media platforms for non-profits and small businesses.
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One Response to Social Media – Why You Tube is not for you

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