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YouTube

More time has been spent watching videos online in 2009 than reading emails. This is the first time that has happened in a year, but it won't be the last. YouTube is the biggest video site on the Internet, so we will discuss it as the primary source of video marketing, but it's definitely not the only one. This is one part of a five part series that will be posted on various sites. It covers the basics: a 30,000 foot view of the various social media sites as well as easy, practical ways that the sites can be used.

Why Do Car Dealers Need YouTube?

Videos are the easiest way to get a message out. Why? People will watch videos before they'll read. It's that simple. Videos require the least amount of effort, offer visual and audio stimulation, and are often associated with emotional responses. Some are funny, others are gross. Some are exciting, others are boring. Regardless of the intent, video encompasses what people are looking for on the Internet in a quick and neat little package. YouTube (and the other video sites) gives car dealers an effective method of delivering their messages. They can be found on YouTube.com itself and can also be embedded on blogs, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 sites. Perhaps most importantly, they rank exceptionally well in Google for specific searches and can take up a valuable position on the search engine results pages.

Getting Started with YouTube

If you haven't created a YouTube channel, do so now. You'll want to attach it to a Google account (if you don't have one, create one of those first).  The login and account creation processes are very simple and should take less than 2 minutes. Once you have an account, you can start uploading videos immediately. I recommend starting with an introductory video, one that says who you are and what you will be posting on the site. You can use your webcam to record directly to the site or upload from a digital camera. I recommend purchasing a Flip for your dealership's Internet department.

What Videos Should a Car Dealer Post?

With YouTube, more is better, but spam is not tolerated. As with most social media sites, the idea is to generate conversation and engagement. There's nothing wrong with uploading some promotional videos including television ads, but you shouldn't stop there. Here is a list of some ideas that you can use to create and post effective videos:
  • Customer Testimonials - If you have an exceptionally happy and outgoing customer (perhaps someone who has bought multiple vehicles from you over the years) and they are willing to give you a testimonial, record it. You can then embed it on your various web properties.
  • Dealership Tours - With a basic account, you have up to 10 minutes to create a message. Taking a "tour" of the dealership introducing several key players within your organization and highlighting special areas of your dealership can be very effective at putting smiling faces and the "human factor" into a business that many consider adversarial.
  • How-To Videos - How many times does a salesperson or service adviser receive calls asking how to work the DVD player? What about upgrading the navigation? Changing a tire, replacing a battery, setting the clock - these are all bits of information that people may need. Wouldn't it be nice if they search online to find the information and you're there to help them?

Getting Personal With YouTube and a Flip Camera

As more people explore dealer websites through the Internet, the market area grows. People from far away can search your inventory and possibly find the perfect pre-owned vehicle for themselves, but they want more. They may not want to drive 100 miles until they are comfortable that the vehicle they see online is as good as it looks. Equipping your Internet department with a video camera gives them the ability to generate and secure more distant appointments. Think about this scenario: "Mrs. Johnson, this vehicle seems like the right one for you, but I know it's a long drive. If you can give me 10 minutes, I'll touch the vehicle myself, start it up, and do a complete walk-around for you on video. I'll send you the link shortly. Is there anything specific you'd like me to check out?" 10 minutes later, your soon-to-be customer has a video of their next vehicle helping them to become comfortable with both the vehicle and the dealership ("Wow, he made a video just for me!") and they're getting excited about driving 2 hours back to their home in their shiny pre-owned vehicle.

Beyond the YouTube Basics

There is so much more to go over, but these basics should get you headed in the right direction. Brian Pasch, Paul Rushing, and I will be putting on an Automotive Marketing Boot Camp the day before NADA 2010 in Orlando with more advanced, hands-on training. More details are coming, but plan on coming a day earlier to participate. For now, you can continue to the next part of this series, Car Dealer Social Media Basics: Twitter. * * * Read more about Car Dealer Internet Marketing on this blog.

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