YouTube: the best (and worst) shopping companion I'll ever have.
I just bought a new Panasonic G85 micro four thirds camera. It's an extraordinary photo and video camera and I'm enamored by it. I can't believe how amazing the photos are, and the 4K video exceeds my expectations. I couldn't be any happier to own it.
However, researching this camera was a roller coaster of emotion. I loathed the process. It stressed me out and I wavered incessantly as I compared different options, other cameras-- I even though about not buying anything. It went on and on for weeks.
The reason why I had such a difficult time choosing my camera is this: YouTube. Because a camera has demonstrable features you can actually see and hear (photos, video & audio), YouTube has become the single most important influencer in the camera business.
Every time a new camera comes out, it's as though YouTube feels the need to vomit an endless supply of video-based user reviews, comments, criticisms, praises, and on and on. It simultaneously drives me crazy and excites me at the same time.
SIDENOTE: I refer to "YouTube" as the collective group of the world's camera experts, so-called experts and wannabes. Most of whom are smarter and know way more about cameras than me.
Another thing I have to mention: I don't understand the videos of people opening boxes and detailing the experience. Who wants to watch someone open a box? And WHY!?! Here's one of my favorites:
Isn't he fun? Hehe, no. But guess what? I watched this whole video. I watched a bunch of them, actually. I watched people unwrap camera batteries, lens caps, chargers...What's wrong with me?
The majority of the video reviews I watched about the G85 were positive. And many of the videos didn't really teach me all that much about the product, rather they gave me insights on what it's like to use the camera out in the real world. I.e. the stuff you don't get in brochures and in product descriptions. Such as, "What does the camera feel like in the hands?" or "Will I look professional enough using it even though it looks like like a point and shoot?"
Some of the reviews that I saw were critical of the product. Some YouTubers didn't like where the buttons on the G85 are. Others didn't like the camera's low light performance. A few people preferred other cameras. I was grateful for the varying perspectives and information, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't stressed me out a little. I felt obliged to watch as many as I could to learn as much as I could before making a purchase.
Which led to a big mistake. I clicked on a link that showed a video review about a DIFFERENT camera (The Fuji X-T10 above) --one comparable in price and function to the G85. I spent the better part of every evening for a week watching videos about competing cameras. It consumed me because there was just so much good information on the product--again, I didn't want to miss anything.
I gotta get to the point because my shopping anxiety is creeping back.
YouTube clearly has the power to influence my shopping decisions. And I admit, as much as I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of videos about the G85, I'm also grateful for the flood of information I was able to ingest, from all walks of life, professions, etc. Also, I'd like to think I'm smart enough to discern honest reviews from those that aren't (I hope), but even still, I was able to make a more precise decision. It almost felt as though I owned the camera before I really did.
And it's not just cameras--I use YouTube before I buy almost everything. Case in point, I bought a can of spray paint today and checked YouTube to see which worked the best before making a decision on what kind to buy.
As exhausting as my camera shopping experience was, that's the way the world works now. As consumers, we are very hard to impress. And we're often chicken to make a purchase without checking our phone first, whether for more information (or to find an even a cheaper place to buy).
Nowadays, it takes a compelling story, argument or in the case of my camera, a fledgling endorsement from a dozen camera nerds on YouTube for me to finally purchase the G85. (And, it took two YouTube videos before I chose what spray paint to buy.)
What about you? Or more importantly, what about your business? Is there a video about your business on YouTube? Are you regularly churning new content that extol the virtues of your service, product, place, whatever?
YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world and is owned by the most-used search engine in the world. You can find some mind-blowing stats on YouTube user/usage online (like these HERE), but the relevant takeaway (and shameless plug) is that video should be a major cog in your digital marketing plan.
If you feel overwhelmed with the notion, or if adding video to your site seems like too big a job, then hire me to help you. Or, if not me, find a company like mine to create a steady stream of new video content on your behalf. Things that matter to customers include testimonials, company overviews and product explanations, personality profiles and if you have something demonstrable (like a camera or a toaster), line up some additional tech videos and get others to review your products on video, too.
If you would rather create video yourself, stick with the basics and get some video testimonials done. There are a billion heartless, wavering, unsure customers in the world just like me who use YouTube as a shopping companion and need fresh videos to help make a decision on your product.
And lastly, get yourself a G85. It's that good.