I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…video is your best entrée to the online world. In a world where things fly by us at increasingly fast speeds, it’s important to put a face and voice with your e-mail address, Facebook page, Twitter account, and even company URL.

Trust me when I say, at one time I didn’t see the need for video. I would rather read and, mistakenly so, I assumed everyone else preferred that, too. Turns out, most of the population prefers to watch video…especially if it’s something they can have on in the background while they do other work.

According to YouTube, people are watching two billion videos every day and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. But it’s not just on YouTube. More than 41 million people are watching videos on Facebook, with an average watch time of 1:45.

So why aren’t you using video to connect with your customers and prospects? It’s hard? It’s scary? You don’t know how? You don’t have time? You don’t have anything anyone would want to watch?

Well, guess what? I’m going to teach you how to use video to promote your business, build a community, and connect with customers and prospects.

But before we begin, let’s talk briefly about things you can do with video in order to drive traffic.

  • Question of the week: Invite your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, blog readers, or customers to submit questions; then answer one every week via video.
  • Show your product: Instead of telling customers about your product, show them how to use it.
  • Video tutorials: Perhaps your product or service is highly technical. Teach people how to use what you sell.
  • Customer testimonials: Ask your customers to describe what it’s like working with you in a two-minute video.
  • Educate, educate, educate: Find reasons to educate customers about your products or services instead of selling. If you do it right, the education will sell for you.

Once the videos are complete, follow these eight steps (that take less than 15 minutes a day) to promote them online.

1. Create a YouTube channel. It’s as simple as a user ID and password.

2. Get on Facebook. If you don’t already have a Facebook fan page, create one, if only to post your videos until you’re ready to really engage with people there.

3. Buy a Flip camera. They’re $200 and fit in your purse or briefcase. You don’t need a tripod (when I use mine, I typically turn a trash can upside down and place it on that), and you don’t need video expertise. You turn it on, hit the red record button, say what you have to say, upload it to the Web using the handy-dandy USB connection, and voila! You’re finished.

4. While your video is uploading to your YouTube channel, consider what you’ll name it. Think about how people search for your topic. Is your video about a new product you’re launching? Is it in a new category or an existing one? If it’s in an existing one, go to Google and search for the product in the same way that you think your customers and prospects would search. What comes up? Nothing? A lot of junk? Or many, many links? You actually want something that has many links because you can piggyback on what people are already searching for and be included in the search results. Don’t name your video something that is more than 60 characters (including spaces).

5. Still in YouTube, create a description of what people will find when watching your video. This doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences. Then tag it with keywords. Click “save changes” and wait for it to finish uploading.

6. Once the video has finished uploading to YouTube, you can do several things. You can take the video link and send it to your current customer database. You can embed the video in a blog like we’ve done on Spin Sucks in the sidebar over there. You can embed the video in your website like we’ve done on the home page of Arment Dietrich. You can promote the video in your newsletter. You can leave it on YouTube and invite people to subscribe to your channel so that anytime you upload a new video, your “fans” see it first. Or you can do all of these things at once so people see it, no matter where they are.

7. Go to your Facebook fan page and upload the video there (using the video camera icon, you can upload directly from your Flip camera hard drive). Write something witty (so people are inclined to watch and comment) to go along with the video, and click “share.”

8. Rinse and repeat.

Once you get YouTube and Facebook set up, you have your Flip camera, and you spend three minutes to learn how to upload directly from the camera’s hard drive, it will take you less than 15 minutes a day to record, upload, and promote.

Yesterday we talked about the trends for next year and, in the comments, some smart people asked about online television and augmented reality. So, the floor is yours. What would you add to this list and how would you incorporate online television and augmented reality?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich