How I Got 7 Million Views on YouTube
“How do you think about YouTube?”
Shane Kinney, owner of Drum Center of Portsmouth, posed that simple question at the 2015 NAMM Show. During his NAMM U session, he pointed out that there are a growing number of people who don’t watch TV but who live on YouTube—and as a music retailer, you’ll want to take advantage of this massive online viewership. Using YouTube to market your products gives you that opportunity.
Kinney founded his store on a “used” shoestring budget, with no line of credit and just a few credit cards. He started with a few products and an idea that he could market snare drums on YouTube by demonstrating different tunings. He uploaded his first video in 2009. Looking back, it was a bare bones product demo. Fast forward to 2015—and 7.5 million views, 3,317,958 minutes watched and 9,000 comments later. Kinney has spent zero dollars on YouTube marketing and opted to not allow ads for profit.
His store’s YouTube views were up from 7 million at the end of last year to just under 7.5 million by the end of January. “It keeps growing exponentially with the amount of video content we add each week,” he said, mentioning that his company sometimes adds video daily.
Kinney then offered some simple truths and tips that have worked for him on YouTube, and that could work for you. Highlights from the video:
Common Misconceptions About Creating YouTube Videos
• You have to be tech-savvy.
• You have to invest heavily.
• Audio has to be studio-quality.
• You have to spend a lot of time on videos.
Equipment to Create YouTube Videos
Video recording device: You can use a standard smartphone, pocket recorder or professional camera for your product videos. “People like videos from smartphones because it makes it real,” Kinney said. “It’s not a bad thing to use a cheaper device.”
Advanced production: There are varying levels of video quality you can achieve with recording software, mixing boards, microphones and audio equipment. It depends on what you want.
Lighting: Kinney stated that many times people viewing YouTube videos don’t really care about the lighting quality as much as what you’re saying and doing. You don’t have to invest in expensive lighting equipment.
YouTube Video-Creation Tips
• Keep videos short and sweet. People have short attention spans. “We usually make it 60 seconds to 2 minutes, and sometimes, we don’t talk at all,” Kinney said.
• Kinney flies his company’s logo at the start of every video. The image in the background is his snare drum wall—one of his store’s unique features. “That’s the first thing they see, and we want that to be the first impression they get,” he said.
• Give tips using manufacturer’s points, or offer your own knowledge. Be able to back up your knowledge because people will call you out in the comments field. Kinney advised that you have thick skin when reading negative comments.
• Your script: “One thing I’ve realized is to talk sincerely about your products as a musician, and be honest about how the instrument affects you,” Kinney said. Demoing different tunings for snare drums has worked well for him. The potential customer gets to hear the instrument in different contexts.
• Always include your store’s branding and contact information in the outro.
• Create your own video formula or template. The sky’s the limit. “We’re still in the infancy of all of this,” he said. “Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, what’s important is that your message is getting across to your customers.”
YouTube Branding Tips
Kinney insisted that branding is about you, your store and not just the products you’re selling. “I’m trying to get potential customers to buy us and our brand,” he said.
• Make your store logo visible from the video intro and throughout. You want to show your store, so have your showroom in the background or in the shot.
• Include links in video text or your talking (audio). Kinney includes links on eBay, Reverb.com, YouTube and his store’s website. It’s easy to do, and it’s how he increases his reach and views.
Measuring Success on YouTube
Kinney stated that his best measurement of YouTube success is his sales figures. Here are others worth consideration:
• Analytics. He suggested that you go on YouTube analytics. It’s comprehensive, although he doesn’t tend to look too hard at it.
• Is my phone ringing? This may sound old school, but it works for Kinney. He noted that customers will comment on his YouTube videos, and that’s how he can measure if they’re effective.
• YouTube reach. You never know who’s viewing your videos or where. Kinney told a story about visiting another music store across the country, and a customer recognized him as “the guy from YouTube.”
• Consider your backdrop. A professional studio might be too fancy. If you’re creating videos after hours, don’t leave beer bottles or price tags in the frame.
• Organize your playlists. YouTube makes it easy to put playlists together. Kinney has his company’s playlist by product brand. One video plays after the next. As you amass more videos, organize them to be filtered by brand or product.
• Design your home page. Kinney has designed a header that provides clear branding for his store. Drum Center also has a welcome video that’s a “store demo.” It introduces staff and their contributions to the store.
• Use channel tips. Google is helpful, so click on the links and get help and advice from them.
• Link to your product. Your customer needs to know where to go. Always include a link to your website and to the product, so the customer can buy it.
• Link to your website. All of Drum Center’s latest YouTube videos include a link to click right back to the store website.
• Get a Facebook page. Your Facebook posts can bring viewers to YouTube and back to your website.