In our previous post, Optimize Your YouTube Video, we continued a series on YouTube with a look at everything you need to know about optimizing your videos to help them be found.
In this post, we finish up our YouTube series with a case study of a successful video campaign to discuss how to get great results on YouTube.
Getting Video Results
You may have various goals for using videos on YouTube. You may want to spread awareness for your products or your enterprise. You may want to counter others who have a different perspective than you on an issue. But one of the most important objectives you may have is to gain prospects, supporters, and evangelists for your organization.
For these and other reasons you’ll want to be sure to include a strong call to action in your videos. The results can be amazing.
Here’s an example of the power of video to create action. Lynn Rogers, with the Wildlife Research Institute, and the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minnesota, gained an international reputation over 40 years of working in the field with black bears. But Rogers gained international fame by the simple act of broadcasting live on the Web the birth of a black bear named Hope in January, 2010.
The “den cam” video was in black and white and a bit murky, and a mere 25,000 viewers watched it live. Within a couple of days, after becoming the #1 Yahoo.com featured story, the birth video was the #1 most-viewed YouTube video on January 24, 2010 and by late 2010 it garnered more than 800,000 views. The subsequent story of Hope and her mother, Lily, included Hope getting lost for a few days in May, 2010, and again in June. The bear drama spawned almost 300 videos on YouTube, covering the two bears as if they were the latest Hollywood “it” girls.
But all this interest didn’t just happen all by itself. The creators of the “den cam,” PixController Wildlife Webcam, used social media to help the phenomenon along. According to company CEO Bill Powers, “The day it (the video feed) went up … it just went berserk at that point. It was the first time anybody had actually seen a bear den. When the bear cub was born, it was kind of neat. That’s when we started to use a lot of the social tools like Facebook and those kind of things to get the word out quick, and it just went viral at that point.”
The social media efforts included a “Lily the Black Bear” Facebook page with more than 115,000 fans, whose comments on Facebook generated more than 6,000 links.
Hundreds of thousands of viewers were fascinated by the experience, and their interest turned into donations totaling $400,000 to the non-profit organizations Rogers heads, Wildlife Research Institute, and the North American Bear Center. In addition, the bear center received a $100,000 grant from Chase Community Giving on Facebook, a program sponsored by JPMorgan Chase in which Facebook users vote on how the charity distributes $5 million. The center received almost 18,000 votes among more than 2.5 million Facebook users who participated.
Demonstrating our recommendation that an organization’s main Website must be modified to support social media efforts, Rogers’ Website, bear.org, posts blow-by-blow accounts of Lily and Hope, and features a prominent donation button with a funds thermometer. The main page of the Website features various live Webcam feeds, a recent donor honor roll, and the opportunity to buy bear paraphernalia.
What can you learn from the Lily and Hope phenomenon? It’s clear that an engaging story supported by video and combined with other social media efforts can deliver for your organization in a big way. Think of the human (or non-human) stories your organization can tell, and how video can help you tell them. It doesn’t matter if you have slick production values — look at what was achieved with a low-resolution black and white video. What counts is telling the story, and connecting with your viewers.
For more video tips, Teach to Fish Digital has a free YouTube tutorial.
Next up: Setting Up Blogging
Getting Video Results on YouTube is the 140th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 372. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 6WXG8ABP2
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 Lily and Hope reunited: