You’ve all heard of YouTube – but you almost didn’t!
An early board meeting (at the 39 minute mark) shows the problem – up for about a month and only a few videos on site. Traditional marketing approaches from emailing to press releases weren’t getting traction – it was lame as one says.
What they did to fix this was look at social media approaches that were working on other sites and used and modifyed those techniques for video. Simple things that any site can do if they focus on users – not you – embed sharing and collaboration into the sites user interface.
First they introduced the concept of related videos – not just because it increased time on the site – but because it did that by giving users more of what they came for.
They made sharing easier – letting you email links to interesting videos to your friends, so it’s their infrastructure but your relationship that drives the receivers’ engagement with the site.
They provided tools from rating and ranking to tagging and discussion all to encourage user interaction. And they ensured this was tightly coupled to the video.
They highlighted popular videos so people could find interesting stuff fast.
Finally they made an external player (widget) that made any site ‘YouTube’ at least for that video.
It was only after they done this – had started to drive real growth – that they got the funding and again engaged in traditional marketing – like giveaways to reinforce behavior that was already there.
Of course your results may differ. No one can guarantee that you’ll become the next YouTube – but by engaging your users, and listening and learning from how they use your site you’re bound to be better that competitors that don’t.