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Are YouTube Videos Worth the Effort?

“Broadcast Yourself,” states the well-known YouTube Slogan, a phrase that shows how pervasive the site is in the everyday lives of people in the twenty-first century. Everyone knows YouTube, because the site, which was founded in 2005 and has been owned by Google since 2006, is the largest video-sharing website in the world.

A study conducted by AYTM Market Research  found that about 60% of internet users visit YouTube at least once a week; even more strikingly, only 9% of internet users said that they had never visited the site. YouTube is used in everything from school projects to news media proliferation to video entrepreneurship. Furthermore, numerous businesses, from small startups to large corporations, make use of the site for marketing and promotion.

As the world moves further into an age of digitalization, businesses are increasingly encouraged to create and maintain a YouTube channel – after all, why not do it? Supposedly, it’s free, it’s easy, and it provides your business with a closer connection to your customers than traditional marketing methods.

However, as it becomes clearer that businesses need to either invest time or money into maintaining their YouTube channels, the question arises – are YouTube videos really worth it? Read on to decide for yourself whether owning and maintaining a YouTube channel is a viable option for your business, or whether it is better to try a different route.

YouTube increases business exposure – sometimes

YouTube’s claim to fame is its popularity – with over 1 billion unique users visiting the site each month, someone is guaranteed to see any video that you or your business post. The problem is how many people will see the video, and from where – because it doesn’t do you any good if the person viewing your video lives on a different continent, and your business is primarily local.

Furthermore, it’s easy for your videos to get buried in the mountains of content found on YouTube. 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and with so much to choose from, users will be hard-pressed to find your video among the millions of others found on the site.

One way to overcome this obstacle is by tagging your video with crucial key words so that it shows up in searches specifically related to those words. You can also promote your video using other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter – both crucial for sharing content with a specific audience that has “liked” or “followed” your business.

Easy, fast, free – or not?

Supporters of YouTube argue that working with the website and setting up an account takes a matter of minutes, and because the account is free, businesses have nothing to lose. However, when considering YouTube for business purposes, one has to keep in mind that in order for the site to be effective, businesses have to constantly create, upload, and share new content.

Viewers want new and original videos, and a channel that is updated infrequently or not at all will attract only brief attention at its inception – then die off. Unfortunately, creating this content takes time and expertise, not something that all businesses have; therefore, although creating an account is free, many businesses will have to hire professional help to create videos and maintain the YouTube channel.

Having a company manage your social media accounts is a good idea if your business is pressed for time, and you simply cannot manage to constantly upload new videos. It is also a viable option if you simply don’t believe you can create professional videos that can promote your business well – something that is crucial to your business’ image.

Decide for yourself

Ultimately, it is up to each business to weigh the pros and cons of creating YouTube videos, and deciding whether it is a viable route for the business to take. Although videos do create exposure for the business, they can easily be buried under mountains of content, and can also be costly to produce and maintain.

Other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, can provide the same idea of direct contact between businesses and consumers that YouTube can, although without video content necessarily. These can be an option for businesses seeking a less costly and time-consuming social networking option.

When deciding if YouTube videos are worth the effort, keep in mind what your business is willing to spend (both in terms of time and money) to promote your videos, and understand that it’s not as easy an undertaking as YouTube would like you to believe. Understand what you want to gain from it – and if you find that you’re not going to receive the potential benefits you’d like, don’t bother.