When most people think of YouTube, they envision comedic homemade videos, sports clips, or excerpts from television shows, but the popular Web site, www.youtube.com, also can be a business tool that 401(k) advisers can use for prospecting, researching, and even networking purposes.
The added bonus? YouTube is free. Here, we outline simple and advanced ways you can use this Web site effectively in your practice. Before uploading a video, however, it’s crucial to check your company’s compliance regulations.
WAYS YOU CAN USE YouTube
Providing tips & information. You can use YouTube to provide retirement tips and other industry news and information to plan sponsor clients or prospects, or to retirement plan participants. While you can make your own videos (and that might be more advantageous for reasons discussed below), you also can point people in the direction of videos already available online. Ameriprise Financial, for example, features a video on YouTube about tax benefits associated with the Roth IRA conversion opportunity, while Charles Schwab features a real-life retirement story.
Prospecting. In addition to attracting viewers by presenting useful information, when you create a video, it can create a potential advantage over other social-networking media like Twitter and LinkedIn by allowing viewers to hear your voice and see your facial expressions. This, in turn, could create the illusion of an introduction and might make it easier to follow up with them later. (Of course, plan sponsors have to open the e-mail or click on the link to access the video.)
Researching. You also can view other videos in the industry for research purposes. Do retirement plan advisers in your local market have videos online? What about potential strategic relationship partners such as CPAs and third-party administrators? On what industry information are your competitors focusing? What types of videos are they posting? How often do they post new videos?
Increasing digital presence. Having a YouTube video can increase your Web search visibility because many search engine results give priority to video platforms such as YouTube. Advisers also can increase traffic on their personal Web sites by cross-linking YouTube to their Web sites.
Creating an account. If you’re simply visiting YouTube for research, you don’t have to create an account. If you want to upload a video, however, you must sign up for an account by entering basic information like your e-mail address, username, password, and so on. Aside from uploading videos, with an account, YouTube also allows you to comment on videos, create your own channel, and create specialty accounts, which allow for customization of your profile page.
Creating/uploading videos. You easily can create a video with a camcorder or digital camera that has a video feature and upload it to your computer. Once your recording is satisfactory, you can upload it to YouTube from your computer. You also can use the Quick Capture feature, which allows you to record videos instantly with your computer’s Webcam, if you have one. Although the video has to be of a quality to be visible and understandable, it doesn’t have to be professional quality.
Promoting your video. To attract an audience initially, you can send your YouTube video link to your e-mail contacts, or highlight it in your LinkedIn profile or other social-media networks. Ask politely if these contacts can view the video and forward it to more people.
Creating a group. You can join an existing industry group or create one and then send the URL to people you want to invite—for example, plan sponsor clients, or participants. You also can allow other group members to post videos or have forum postings. Groups allow people with common interests to exchange information.
Creating a list of favorite videos. You can create a QuickList or a playlist of your favorite industry-related videos. You also can subscribe to your favorite video channels, which show any new videos by that person the next time you log on.
Networking. With your YouTube account, you can communicate with other users by posting text comments or video responses. You also can communicate privately with other users by sending messages that will be sent directly to their accounts.