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Online Exclusives

June 2019

More Than Just Words

YouTube’s a Swiss Army Knife for Business Communication

By Joe Dysart

While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for golf course owners, many are also discovering the free video-sharing service has scores of other uses – all of which are also free for the taking.
 
Employee recruiting, client communications, product/service how-to’s and dissemination of news are all increasing in popularity on YouTube, as golf course owners and others transform the medium into a Swiss Army Knife of business communications.  

“You Tube is a great way to showcase the course, especially the flyover showing each individual hole,” says Tim Allen, director of golf at Cowdray Golf in West Suffix, United Kingdom.

Mike Hill, director of operations at The Links at Terranea in Los Angeles, agrees. “We find that video is the most effective format that supports our storytelling initiatives and communicating the resort’s offerings and programming. We feel that YouTube is the preeminent platform to showcase and distribute our video content to compel visitors to choose Terranea,” he says.

“If you’ve never visited the YouTube website, you’ve missed out on the hottest thing on the internet today,” adds Michael Miller, author of “YouTube for Business.”

Unquestioningly, one of the major reasons golf course owners and others are flocking to YouTube is its runaway popularity. Just a blip on the web a decade ago, the video-sharing service has since rocketed to one of the most visited sites on the internet. 

In fact, YouTube currently boasts 1.9 billion users each month according to, Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, YouTube’s parent company. More than 70 percent of videos on YouTube are viewed on mobile phones. And the online video-sharing service has been localized in 91 countries and made available in 80 languages.

Indeed, among consumers ages 13-24, online video is now more popular that traditional TV, according to a recent study by Hunter Qualitative Research.
The age group studied  – Millennials – spends 11.3 hours per week watching free online video, as compared to 8.3 hours a week watching traditional TV.
 
Besides its unquestionable popularity with young people, YouTube’s ease of entry and low-cost also makes it hard for business people like golf course owners to resist. Virtually anyone with basic PC skills can upload a video to YouTube – for free – in a matter of minutes. 

And since YouTube’s videos are generally viewed on small screen mobile phones, there’s no reason for golf course owners to endure painfully large budgets for video production.  In fact, the subtleties of high-end video production are generally lost on YouTube, according to Miller.

Plus, golf course owners are saving significant coin using YouTube by shifting hosting responsibilities for their company videos to the online video service. The rationale: Ordinarily, a golf course needs to pay additional transmission charges anytime a website visitor views a video hosted on the business’ website. But when that same video is uploaded to YouTube’s servers, golf course owners need never pay transmission costs – no matter how many times that video is viewed.

All told, it’s a frothy mix of remarkable popularity, ease-of-entry and non-existent hosting costs that have the wheels of innovation spinning at countless golf courses.

So far, here are the top 10 uses they’ve forged:
 Marketing:  This is without doubt the most popular golf course use of YouTube, and can be wildly successful.  Businesses with shoestring promotional budgets have become overnight stars on the service, often with zany and off-the-wall marketing pitches. 

Besides using humor, golf course owners can also use the marketing side of YouTube to give video tours of their facilities. Or, they can feature video interviews with key staff to reassure current and prospective customers that they’re going to be doing business with a highly professional, highly people-friendly staff.

 Recruiting: Given that many golf course owners already have videos touting their businesses as inviting places to work, posting those same productions on YouTube is a no-brainer. “Don’t limit yourself to a single, long puff video,” Miller says. “Produce separate videos for individual departments, as well to illustrate company values, employee benefits, facilities and the like.”

 Company Video FAQs: Any golf course can leap well beyond the image of faceless, industry player with on-the-fly videos, which feature charming customer service people answering frequently asked questions. Sure, many businesses already have written FAQs on their websites. But there is something to be said for going the extra mile and offering the personal touch that’s inherent in video.

 News Video Clips: The beauty of posting your golf course news to YouTube is that your information is not sliced, diced or in any other way whittled down to a mere shadow of its former glory. Plus, if you have a Facebook or Instagram site, you can cross-promote the two online presences by posting your golf course news on Facebook with a link to your supporting video on YouTube. 

 Focus Groups: Many sophisticated users of YouTube are also using the service as a free testing ground for commercials they plan to run on cable and broadcast TV, and elsewhere on the web. Specifically, they use YouTube’s free analytical tool, YouTube Analytics, to test the marketing punch of their commercials. The tool’s metrics include the overall popularity of your video, who’s viewing your video, where those viewers are coming from, and what keywords they’re using to find your video.

 Customer Communications: When an email or friendly phone-call simply doesn’t cut it, many golf course owners are posting videos to YouTube to connect in special ways with their customers.

 Product/Service How-To’s: These videos can of course serve a dual purpose, educating customers while subtly marketing your brand. 

 Employee Training: Any golf course with multiple locations across town, across the U.S. – or even across the world – can immediately see the benefit of posting training videos on YouTube, and having the appropriate staff dial in. And by using YouTube’s “private broadcast” option, your business can ensure the training videos stay internal. 

“Many companies find that YouTube is a fast and effective way to disseminate all kinds of employee information,” Miller says. “Done right, it gets information out there in near-real-time, with all the benefit of face-to-face communication.”
 
Savings on Business Travel: All the videos sent for staff use are also enabling many golf course owners to rack up substantial savings on business travel.
 
Granted, there are plenty of instances where true face-to-face interaction is irreplaceable. But in many other situations, a video overture via YouTube is a bulls-eye compromise between basic email and an all-expenses paid business trip for one or more employees. 

Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant and writer based in Manhattan.

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