by Scott Weiss, Founder/Executive Producer at zpop media

Nobody can deny the power and reach of YouTube. Millions of unique visitors a month, billions of streams, you’ve all heard about the numbers. What’s compelling is how YouTube appears to be widely ignored in the social media marketing space, or at least, put into a position far behind Facebook and Twitter for relevance and importance.

Interestingly enough, it is the only essentially free option in the market that can help marketers achieve a wide array of goals that the other options (Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing) only touch on.

1. Branding

Nothing packs an emotional punch like video, and YouTube makes video easy. A YouTube channel does not limit the amount of videos you can add at any given time, and allows the option to feature specific videos and organize videos by priority. Additionally, custom YouTube channel designs are relatively easy and provide branding that Facbeook profile pages can’t match:

Branded Carl's Jr channel

2. SEO

YouTube provides simple and effective search engine optimization techniques using metadata that can be added to videos you upload. Video titles, keywords, and descriptions can impact not just where your videos show up in YouTube searches, but in organic Google searches as well (you’ve all seen videos appear in search results, almost always from YouTube):

Videos in Google search results

3. Community

With comments, subscriptions, friends, etc., YouTube provides all of the essential community options you get from Facebook. With its viral elements, the more original and entertaining your videos are, the more views you’ll get, and likely more comments, which will lead to better search rankings and visibility for your videos. Video responses are another way to engage with your customers/audience (vs. Facebook comments which are static text) – and brands should encourage their viewers to video comment on their videos, which only extends their brand deeper into the YouTubesphere.

4. Analytics

YouTube’s deep analytics offer insight into which videos are being watched, when, by whom, and how they are being found. This data helps marketers benchmark what works and what doesn’t, optimize keywords and descriptions, and engage with their video’s successes and failures.

YouTube analytics

5. ROI

It’s not enough to just set up a channel and post videos, businesses should be monitoring on a daily basis which videos are working best, and re-focus when necessary. After all, every video click could be as valuable or more as a Google AdWord pay per click, which in some cases cost as much as $10-$15 or more. Imagine the value of 10,000 videos clicks that you paid nothing for (other then the cost of production for the video which should be minimal.) You just can’t get that kind of ROI from any other advertising medium.

It is for the above reasons (and others) that it can easily be argued that YouTube is the most cost effective and valuable social media (or just general) marketing and advertising vehicle for businesses available on the web.

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