As a marketer, you may think YouTube is just a place for watching silly cat videos.

On the contrary, it can be used as a tool to better connect with customers, members, and prospects. After all, according to Nielsen, almost half of all Americans (143.9 million people) viewed some video online in the month of January alone, and many of those were watched on YouTube. That’s because the site serves as a central hub for all kinds of video content, including those produced by small businesses and organizations.

There are multiple reasons to use YouTube, and they go beyond just having a video hub. For example, the site lets you:

  1. Build a channel to highlight your videos and customize it with your logo and brand colors. Other YouTube users can subscribe to your channel so they’re notified of any new video you post, giving you another point of contact with customers and members.
  2. Enhance your organization’s search engine profile by offering yet another place — much like Facebook and Twitter — where mentions of your company, brand, products, services, or offerings can be found. Just make sure to give titles and descriptions to your videos that contain keywords associated with your business or organization. That way, when people search for a keyword related to you on a search engine like Google, they might find your website, Facebook Page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel in the first set of results.
  3. Gain a view into your customer and prospect base through Insight, YouTube’s free analytics tool. Insight not only shows which of your videos are most popular, but also where they’re watching, demographic information, and how they’re finding your video.
  4. Receive and respond to comments from viewers. YouTube notifies you of all new comments made on your videos, so you can quickly respond with a word of thanks or to answer any questions that may be asked.
  5. Easily share videos beyond YouTube by embedding them on your website or in a blog post or email, linking to them from Twitter, or posting them to your organization’s Facebook Page (giving you better visibility in your fans’ news feeds). And, viewers can do the same, pushing your video out to an even wider audience.

With inexpensive video cameras and editing options, it’s easier than ever to create a video. Best of all, it’s free to setup a YouTube account and start uploading videos. YouTube even offers a few tools to create videos, making it even easier to get started today.

Does your business or organization make the most of YouTube? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.