February 9, 2012
Video Marketing for small business is growing in significance in the media-rich, entertain me culture we now live in. That much we know. To show your video clips on your site, there are a number of details you should take into account on how to serve up your video files, because they tend to get large and load slowly, so utilizing a service in the cloud to host your videos that has mega-capacity and specializes in streaming video is an excellent idea. It ultimately comes down to ease of use versus control, with a smidgen of quality and user-experience mixed in.
Video Streaming Services
There are virtually dozens of qualified video hosting sites available you can utilize, and this is not the place to analyze them all. Some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. I’ll detail and link to some of the top dogs here for both free and paid video sharing services. You can click on the links and test them out and decide which is best for you.
Free Sharing Services
* YouTube – The ruler of them all. World’s premiere video sharing website. At first videos limited to 15 minutes (used to be 10) but if you put enough of them up, you can get allocated unrestricted length rights.
* Vimeo – Akin to YouTube, but less popular.
* Viddler – Free service available, a bit more customizable than YouTube; paid B2B service also.
* Google Videos – Part of the Google collection; permits you to sell your video downloads.
* Yahoo Videos – Options include a search across hosting platforms.
* Metacafe – Highly rated free service for service and formats used.
* Daily Motion – Sorted videos into social networking.
Paid Video Sharing Sites
* Playstream – Larger volume storage video streamer.
* On Stream Media – Comparable to Playstream.
* Amazon S3 – Not a video sharing site per se, but remarkably inexpensive large cloud storage that works in combination with the EZ Player or other players for fast video streaming on your site.
* Viddler B2B – Designed for business, secure white-label, unbranded options, but begins at $ 100/month.
Options for Small Businesses
If your business is not video production but something else, in most situations you can stream video to your website using any of the cost-free video sharing options listed above, YouTube being the most popular. Many of my customers are consultants, architects, attorneys – people in white collar positions, and they use video interviews or some other format to feature their value for site viewers. There are details you should know about free and paid video streaming options and questions you should keep in mind.
What to Keep in Mind with Free Video Hosting
I’ll use YouTube for this conversation considering it is where most of my video customers store their videos for streaming on their blogs.
* It is generally simple to establish an account and load videos on free video sharing websites.
* YouTube takes most file formats and transforms them to .mp4 or .flv (flash) for playback.
* YouTube has a huge search engine and is loved by its parent, Google, so getting your public videos discovered is more likely from an SEO point of view (which also helps your site). You can also restrict access to videos e.g. available only to associates.
* Reasonable analytics and ability to style your channel.
* Easy to embed player for your blog.
* Recognizable with the YouTube icon in the corner and can literally lead to more clicks.
These are all advantages, but like all Free options, they get paid somehow in some way, and if you’re not careful can pull visitors away from your video to other videos. You also relinquish a bit of control when using a complementary service like YouTube or Vimeo.
* YouTube curbs videos to 15 minutes. Typically for power users YouTube will upgrade you to unrestricted video upload file size, but you never know when this will take place. I was fortunate and use longer videos for my Vlogs on the Smart Blog.
* As a basic feature, YouTube samples other people’s videos at the end to yours in addition to a “replay video” choice. The good news is that you can disable this in your embed code.
* If a viewer clicks through to your channel, the blog comments are outside of your control, so unsatisfied customers can post hostile comments and hurt your reputation.
* YouTube is in absolute control. Make sure all your videos are backed up on your hosting server because people have been closed down, even big users, for no clear cause. This is a rare occurrence but a risk.
The good news is, for small businesses with just a handful of videos to market products and services, these hazards are acceptable. Most people will watch the video on your site. If you correctly embed the player code (and not link away to the YouTube site), you minimize the possibility that other videos might lure users away.
Paid Video Sharing: What You Need to Know
I’ll use the increasingly popular Amazon S3 hosting service as an example, suggested to me by my friend Phil Montero of The Anywhere Office. S3 stands for Simple Storage Service and is a good alternative to free video hosting sites.
* Any size video uploads right out of the gate.
* Video is protected so it is only accessible where you provide the player and stream it. S3 is a storing option, not a video sharing website per se.
* Very inexpensive for a dedicated storage solution ($ 0.14 / GB per month).
* Your video is your video, with no links to other people’s videos, ads, etc…
However, Amazon S3 has its drawbacks also…
* S3 isn’t so simple, and there is some tech knowledge required to get set up, upload files, and install what normally is a paid player on your site. Not for the do-it-yourselfer, unless you are a tech geek.
* It’s not a search engine nor catalogued, so S3 doesn’t aid your off-site SEO.
Suggestions for Business Video Streaming
For most marketing video, you want it seen by as many people as possible. Sites like YouTube make that easy, offering fairly high-speed streaming embeds for streaming on your website. You may have to link out, however, on your social media profiles. Your YouTube channel can be searched and rated by Google, and the video clip on your page can be search engine optimized. Given its ease of use and findability, I suggest using YouTube for your marketing videos.
However, if you are creating paid video content such as course material, you may want to restrict accessibility to your paid members and get the professional, won’t link away capability offered by a service like Amazon S3, where you are in control and get the same streaming speed (or faster) as the free hosting options.
Depending on your business needs and use, a combined technique could provide you with the best of both worlds – control and public accessibility.
Karl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms build competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is the author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in the SmartShop. Get your FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video now.