If you still think that YouTube is all about pets doing dangerously funny things, children falling, and various other amusing, but unimportant things, then think again.

Yes, YouTube is a video sharing platform, and yes, it does allow users to upload their own video content. That does mean that there are plenty of pointless videos among the 6.1 million or so videos currently on the site, but it is also being used, to great effect, by savvy online marketers. After all, YouTube has had more than 1.7 billion video views already, and its popularity is growing daily.

There are several different types of YouTube account too. Aside from the standard account, which is what most people who use YouTube for fun use, there are also accounts for directors, musicians, comedians, and gurus. The first three specialist accounts are perfect for amateur or professional artists to share their content, and build their profile and their following, but a guru account is for anyone who has any sort of specialty, who wants to share it with the world, and gain recognition for it.

One of the ways people are using YouTube to market their business or their website is to create their own channel.

Channels on YouTube are a way to group all of your videos in one place. The most popular channels on the site are featured on You Tube’s welcome page, which brings them even more traffic! Some of the people who have created channels have uploaded hundreds of videos to their channel, and as their popularity has grown, and people have been linking to their channel, the company they are promoting have been getting more and more back links to their site. This is a great idea if you are marketing yourself, or a business that you are the figure head for. The more your individual popularity grows, the more traffic your site and your business get.

This idea works on the same principle as creating a web presence. It allows you to create and build an online profile, and to get your name, and your message, out there.

Viral videos are another way that YouTube is being used to build online businesses. Whether it is funny, informative, or just plain weird, if your video stands out from the crowd, people will share it with their friends, and if your video has your logo on it, and a URL directing people to your site, you should see a marked increase in your web traffic.

Another good idea, if you are going to use YouTube for marketing purposes, is to create your own play lists, grouping videos with similar themes, or volumes of videos that follow on from one another together. By doing this, you encourage people to watch more of your videos, and they get to know you a little better.

One of the reasons YouTube is becoming so popular as a marketing tool is not only because companies can create advertisements, such as they would if they were to advertise on TV, but because it lets you put a face, and a voice, to your name. The internet is great, and text content is a fabulous marketing tool, but it is still just text, and it is notoriously hard to let your personality shine through when you are relying only on the written word.

Since marketing and relationship building go hand in hand, this kind of personal contact can go a long way to changing perceptions about you, and helping your website’s visitors to feel that they know you personally.

Great videos are also shared, and linked to, and that means that YouTube is also great for search engine optimisation and marketing strategy.

If you do decide to start using YouTube to promote and market your business, then there are a few golden rules you should stick to. First, keep it short. Most people favour videos that are less than five minutes long, so do not make yours an epic, unless you are sure it is riveting viewing! If you do have a longer video, consider breaking it into segments instead of uploading it as one long video.

Make sure that your content gets to the point quickly, and that the content is valuable. For instance, if you are promising to teach your viewer something, get straight to the lesson, or if you are a musician, do not take the time to thank your grandmother, your mother, your dog, and anyone else you can think of first – just start playing. Remember, the internet is very much about instant gratification, and most people do not have the patience for long winded introductions.

YouTube has turned penniless musicians into major stars. It has made ordinary people household names, and it has been instrumental in making brand new websites hubs of activity. So if you’re not already using this fantastic, free marketing resource for your business or website, perhaps it’s time you took a look at what YouTube can do for your online marketing, and starting making and uploading your own content. After all, accidents with pets are only so interesting, and then people are looking for something worthwhile to watch!

Author's Bio: 

Andrew McCombe is the owner of Activate Your Business where they teach new and existing business owners to Start, Grow and / or Automate their business(es) with EASE, so they can live a life of EASE. For more information and to get a free copy of the 10 EASY Steps to Your Perfect Business EBook, visit http://www.activateyourbusiness.com.au