Product Managers Learn How To Make YouTube Work For Their Product

by drjim on March 7, 2011

It Turns Out That YouTube Is A Valuable Product Manager Tool

It Turns Out That YouTube Is A Valuable Product Manager Tool

Who hasn’t heard of YouTube by now? It’s that Google owned web site where anyone can upload videos that they’ve made to share with the world. Every once in awhile a video will “go viral” and literally millions of people will take time out of their day to visit the YouTube web site and spend a few minutes watching the video. Sure sounds like something that a Product Manager would like to make happen for your product…

The Problem With YouTube

As product managers we all realized the power of YouTube – our potential customers along with a lot of the rest of the world seem to be spending a lot of time there. The big challenge is that although we’d like to capture their attention, we often find that we don’t have what it takes to make our product a star on YouTube.

YouTube is all about videos, right? Do you have a less than 15-minute video that shows off your product in a favorable light? Perhaps an even better question is do you have a video for your product that has somehow made it through your company’s legal department? Making a video is a big deal, getting permission to post it on YouTube is sometimes a much bigger deal.

Even if you were able to make and then post a product related video, then what? YouTube gets the equivalent of 24 hours of video uploaded every minute of every day and so what chance does your lone video have of getting the eyeball time that every product manager craves for their product?

A New Approach To YouTube

It sure seems like a new approach to YouTube is needed. The good news is that one has been found. What’s even better is that you don’t even need to create a video for your product – take that company lawyers!

Dennis Nishi is a reporter who has been looking into how companies can make technology work for them. What he’s uncovered is that there are product managers who have found out how to make YouTube work for their products.

As you may have guessed, nobody just stumbled on this approach by themselves – they all made mistakes right off the bat. The biggest mistake seems to have been caused by those product managers who created and posted videos telling the world just how great their product was.

This approach always seems to end up ticking at least some people off. These people are never silent about their dislike of your video. Once your video is posted, they will post their own objections and, if they are really ticked off, they may create and post their own video showing their objections to your video / product. None of these are good things.

Nishi points out that after these failures, product managers started to get smart. What they discovered is that becoming part of the YouTube community is the right way to go. Learning to listen to your potential customers is probably even more important than talking to them.

Smart product managers know that they need to not start conversations, but rather join into conversations that are already going. Talking about things that your product does, how to solve problems that your product solves, and answering questions about your company are all things that the YouTube community will find helpful.

Once you identify who in the world of YouTube is focused on your product’s area and has a following, you’ll know who you want to interact with. Having identified these people, you can reach out to them and look for ways to work with them in order to get publicity for your product. You can loan them your product in order to allow them to use it and create a video about using it (cheaper and more powerful than if you made the same video), you can offer them discounts on your products, and you can share future product plans with them.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers are always looking for ways to get the word out about our products. YouTube is a fantastically popular service and it sure seems like it should be a part of every product’s promotional efforts.

The challenge is that if done incorrectly, pushing your product on YouTube can backfire. Negative comments and parody videos can do more harm than good for your product. A new approach is needed.

Based on experience, product managers are discovering that becoming part of the YouTube community seems to be a better approach then just posting product videos. Answering questions and adding value to the ongoing discussions shows that the product manager and his / her company cares and that can set the stage for motivating potential customers to learn more about your product (any buy it!).

We’d all like to create a video about our product that would go viral overnight and cause sales of our product to take off like a rocket. However, just like winning the lottery the chances of that happening any time soon are slim. Instead, product managers need to engage with the YouTube community and provide value before they can hope to reap the benefits of the new age of online video.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: How much time do you think a product manager can afford to spend on YouTube each day?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How much would you pay to become a better product manager in a single day? Can you imagine the impact that that kind of new knowledge could have on your career? The challenge has always been that none of us seem to ever have the time that we need in order to become better product managers. Fear not. This time around I’m going to take care of you, and it’s not going to cost you anything…

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