YouTube announced in September that it reached more than 1.5 billion monthly active users—meaning that it now has the second-largest audience in the world, just behind Facebook. More than 90 percent of U.S. teens, and just over 80 percent of U.S. millennials, are regular YouTube users, according to the company, with each group on average spending 40 minutes a day watching videos on the platform.
Considering its massive audience of youngsters, it’s a wonder more jewelry businesses (beyond megabrands such as Cartier and Rolex) haven’t embraced YouTube as a repository for compelling content marketing. After all, “YouTube has two really big things going for it,” says Ben Smithee, CEO of The Smithee Group in New York City, which counts several jewelry companies among its clients. “It has a huge user base, and it’s owned by Google”—meaning the site is highly ranked in search results.
But what you get from YouTube is largely dependent on what you put into it—in sweat equity. “It’s still just a channel, and building a following on any channel takes time and consistent posting,” Smithee notes.
Here are a few things to consider when dreaming up your first (or next) great YouTube campaign.
More than a few technology pundits have predicted that YouTube will replace TV and streaming services such as Netflix entirely in the next decade. More than 300 hours of video are uploaded every hour to YouTube, feeding the ongoing demand for fresh content consumed by, well, billions. It’s where your future engagement ring buyers are lingering, which makes now the ideal time to establish and grow your company’s channel.
The Long Game
Success on YouTube, or any platform, isn’t overnight. “If you’re not willing to put 100 videos up before you get any traction, it’s not going to do anything for you,” Smithee says. “You have to earn your way on this.” And creating video content should be part of a larger content strategy that includes Facebook, Instagram, and a company website at minimum. “If YouTube is the only thing you’re doing, it will not move the needle,” explains Smithee, who adds that a good content strategy includes the crossover of content between marketing platforms.
Asking your clients what they want to see may be the easiest way to start brainstorming original videos for YouTube. But Rochester, Mich.–based marketing firm Brand Labs subscribes to a mathlike formula when advising clients on what to create for the platform. The sweet spot for content types, according to Brand Labs, lives in the intersection of these two questions: “What does my brand stand for?” and “What does my audience care about?”
Smithee advises his clients to shoot simple, unfussy videos with an iPhone. “The videos that show you sitting at your desk talking about what you really know and love,” he adds, “are going to be 100 percent more effective than the video in your head that’s never designed, never produced, and never shot.”