February 14th may be well known as being Valentine’s Day, but for it’s millions of users, this is also the birth date of YouTube.
YouTube has come a long way since 2005, and so has the internet for that matter, and has successfully introduced the world to the concept of the video blogger or Vlogger as they are now widely known.
Apart from unleashing a whole host of weird and wonderful personalities onto the world, including such internet sensations as Gangnam Style, YouTube has opened up a whole new method of social media marketing that has proven to be very effective, engaging and quite often good fun!
Back in the day…
Back when it all started, social media sites were really in their infancy, and in fact Facebook was only one year old, and was in stiff competition with other sites such as Myspace and Bebo, which have since faded from our conciousness.
YouTube was originally founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, and it’s original conception was as an online dating site, but it never really gained much traction.
In April the same year, the site switched it’s focus towards being a site that allowed the public to upload and share their own videos, a move that was influenced by two completely unrelated newsworthy events – the Asian tsunami, and Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl performance.
Jawed Karim found himself strugglng to get hold of video footage of either of the two events, and suggested the change of use to his business partners, and so the new concept was born, and the rest is history.
Keeping it simple – a key to Success
YouTube made the process of uploading video as easy as possible for the user, and as there was no hosting costs involved, it made it incredibly popular for people to use.
OK, the quality of phone cameras at the time were not particularly brilliant, but being able to upload and see your video so quickly and easily encouraged more people to use it.
Because the videos used Flash, and Flash was supported by all browsers at that period in time, and still is the industry standard for video streaming sites, it cut down on buffer time and it was less troublesome than playing them in different formats such as Real Player, Windows or QuickTime.
The power of the Share
The ability to share video content outside of YouTube is also another winning factor. The embeddable features enable you to put them into your website articles, blog posts and within your Facebook content.
Videos are very enticing and almost beg you to click on them to discover the content within, so can have a great impact on your social media marketing campaigns.
Back then there was a great novelty factor to watching videos online, as well as being the first one to discover and share a new video with your friends. Hence the popularity of the ‘lol cat videos’ that seemed to clutter our email inbox, and take up our timelines, and still remain some of the most popular videos to be shared today.
It didn’t take long for the site to catch the eye of Google, and in 2006 YouTube was bought for $1.65 billion in stock, and it has continued to go from strength to strength ever since.
With the advancements in technology, YouTube has evolved over the years, and now is attracting people to not only share and watch amusing or informative videos, but to also catch up with their favourite music artist or band, learn to cook, play the guitar, learn a language, and catch up on favourite TV shows.
It is also the place to go for advertisers who want to reach out and capture the interest of a large audience. The quality of the videos now being uploaded are far superior to those submitted years ago, and savvy business owners are now scripting and producing videos and infomercials specifically aimed towards selling their products or services, or promoting their brand.
So successful is the power of video that there are now many people making a living from YouTube, something that would not have been possible ten years ago.
A Powerful Combination
If you own a small business today, you cannot ignore the power that YouTube could have on your marketing campaigns. Use YouTube for your business and it will naturally spill over into your other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The rise in popularity of the mobile market has seen Smartphone users dipping into their social media accounts and watching videos while on the move.
Combining your YouTube videos with Facebook is a force to be reckoned with, and YouTube reported that video views on Smartphones have trippled year on year since 2010.
As a small business with a limited amount of time to dedicate to growing your social media presence and reputation, you can see how combining YouTube and Facebook with mobile marketing can help to grow your business much quicker than treating each aspect differently from each other.
Let’s face it, we would all love to be able to create a video for YouTube that would go viral, but there is a very slim chance of that happening, but sharing your video via the ‘Like’ button on Facebook will enable more friends or fans to pass it around, and you could end up causing a bit of a stir within your niche on Facebook.
So, happy birthday YouTube, and here is to many more successful years ahead!
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