PQ11576M_YouTube

Can the 2nd Biggest Search Engine – YouTube – Generate Leads for You?

TV has changed a lot in the last 30 years. In the late 70s, I remember racing downstairs with my brother on Saturday mornings to catch cartoons. We’d leap three steps at a time, push and shove our way through the hall to the family room where we’d flip on the one TV station airing cartoons and grab a cozy spot on the floor. It was heaven…at least for about two hours until adult programing started.

Today, my 11- and 9-year old boys are a chip off the old block. They leap out of their beds at 7 am on weekend mornings (as that’s the earliest we’ll let them), skip down the steps to see who can get the remote first, then jockey for the best spot on the couch. Unlike us, however, they have dozens of TV stations – and countless cartoons – to choose from. Ahhhh, to be a kid again.

If you think about it, marketing has changed a lot in the last 30 years too. While print materials are still used today, digital mediums such as the web, email and social media are mainstream thanks to advances in technology. And while most of us still catch a few TV shows here and there YouTube now reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network, which is why advisors, like Briant Sikorski, are tapping into this channel.

Why Advisors Should Use YouTube

Sikorski realized he needed to try something new when he moved from Michigan to North Carolina in July of 2011.

“I wanted to find a way to maintain a connection with my clients in Michigan,” he said. “I also needed new clients though and liked the seminar program I used previously. But that program was a little costly and time consuming. I figured there had to be a better way – a way to meet new people and maintain contact with my current clients.”

Sikorski believed social media provided a cost-effective and efficient solution, especially after evaluating several social platforms, like YouTube, in 2013. In early 2014, he official launched his YouTube channel and is now benefitting from having a presence on the 2nd largest search engine behind Google.

What Can Advisors Gain by Using YouTube

YouTube is like most of the other social media channels. Having a presence on YouTube can help you:

  • Communicate with your clients – yes, this includes sharing informative or educational videos in social media posts, newsletters and email.
  • Position yourself as a thought leader – having a voice on social media positions you as an expert, particularly if you are sharing your own content.
  • Build your business – remember, 3.3 billion people search Google every day. Being online means people can find you by simply searching a keyword in your title/description.
  • Access a wealth of information and “how to” videos – utilizing YouTube’s search, you can find videos on virtually anything, including updates on financial markets, trends in financial services, fund information and more. I’m guessing some of your competitors and clients have YouTube pages, so check them out too.

How Advisors Can Leverage YouTube

YouTube can be an ideal platform for advisors to share educational information. Sikorski is doing just that. He hosts a LIVE educational seminar every month for his current and prospective clients. A few weeks later, he jumps on his computer and gives that same seminar over the internet (via WebEx), only this time he records it and uploads it to YouTube.

“Many of my clients are interested in attending these sessions, but can’t for one reason or another,” Sikorski said. “I let these clients know that it will be available on my YouTube channel anytime they want.”

Sikorski shares his videos with clients via email as requested, but plans to post them to LinkedIn and Twitter in the near future to reach new prospects, particularly the 1 billion unique visitors that visit YouTube each month.

What’s involved in being on YouTube

As I’ve said many times, social media doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Remember, Sikorski is already doing a LIVE presentation every month, so he’s already developed (or obtained) his material. The only additional steps he takes are setting up the recording, coordinating a compliance review with his firm for use as a video, uploading it to YouTube and distributing the finished video.

Sikorski said it only takes him 15-20 minutes to convert and upload his presentations to YouTube. Once uploaded, he has a lot of options as his videos are there permanently. “Right now, YouTube serves as a repository of my recorded webinars, but it also gives me instant credibility,” Sikorski said. “And, it gets people to check me out.”

Sikorski shares links to his videos via email, but advisors can also embed links into Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts easily. Moreover, it’s relatively easy to link YouTube videos to your website or include in any electronic newsletters you send out.

Tips for Advisors Thinking about Using YouTube

  • If you’re recording presentations via WebEx, Sikorski suggests muting your microphones, disabling chat and letting your audience know you are recording it. At the end of the presentation, stop recording and turn these features back on for Q&A.
  • Evaluate YouTube and how you might want to use it before jumping in (i.e. have a social media strategy).
  • Ask a friend or colleague to record any LIVE seminars you give, then post some or all of your presentation to YouTube. Then, consider sharing that video on any of your social networks to promote future presentations or let your clients know what they missed.
  • Follow your firm’s compliance guidelines regarding the use of YouTube and all social media platforms.

“I believe YouTube differentiates me,” Sikorski said. “They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words…well, I think a video is worth 10,000 words. YouTube gives me 10 times the impact!”

Sikorski hasn’t generated any new business from YouTube yet, but hopes to soon. He’s confident it will happen as he recently opened his first account with a client who he never physically met. That’s the power of social media!

Are you using YouTube? If so, how and for what purpose? Do you have any tips, tricks or best practices to pass along regarding YouTube? I’d love to hear from you and potentially share any ideas along to other advisors, so drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter/LinkedIn.

Neither Briant Sikorski or his firm are an affiliate of the Principal Financial Group of any of its member companies.

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For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social. Follow me at @jonferchen.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

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