How To Harness The Power of YouTube.

If you don’t already know about Andrew Hargadon, you should. He’s an entreprenuership and sustainability visionary — my opinion, but I am not alone.  He posted this Girl Effect video as an example of the power of YouTube. What do you think? [social_buttons]


His point is that YouTube offers powerful opportunities to communicate to audiences we never dreamed we could reach before. Following up on a NYT article, “If No One Sees It, Is It an Invention?” he wrote earlier this week about using YouTube to create prototype presentations for entrepreneuers:

While not addressing it directly, this article captures a slowly emerging but immensely powerful tool in the innovation toolkit: the short video as prototype. Prototyping usually involves designing, building, and testing aspects of the technology or product features in order to learn what works and what needs improvement. The mantra: express, test, cycle…The short video, done well, not only communicates more information in 3 minutes than a powerpoint presentation can get across in 15 minutes, but allows for prototyping.  Express, test, cycle.

While talking about prototyping, Hargadon is also talking about how to communicate about your products and services. In this day and age, a powerful 3-minute video posted on YouTube can do more to bolster the success of your business than almost any other, often more costly, communication vehicle.

In an editorial piece in the, YouTube was called the “most effective political Web site in Egypt.” Touted for its broad audience and far reach, it was credited for a variety of previously unheard of political successes like stopping human rights offenses, getting around press embargoes and helping to convict corrupt police.

A study by Google found that YouTube ads generated the “same amount of engagement and intent to purchase” as those on TV and that online ads are better at “communicating the brand” than those on TV.  Of course, not all videos are created equal. According to one study, not surprisingly, the higher the “interactivity” of the program and content of the video the higher the brand involvement, recall and recognition of the video and the ads surrounding it. So, for maximum impact, make sure your content is entertaining, enigmatic and engaging.

So, be creative. Use YouTube for ads, prototyping, presentations, testing, news, documentaries, interviews, art and humor. Make them fun and interesting. Then put the links on your website. Spread the word, or rather the images, and see what happens.

About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .
  • As some readers might know Proforma Green built a Youtube page at and then linked those videos to a video page on our website at

    Everything was filmed with a Flip Video Camcorder which came with built in software to upload to YouTube, Facebook, blogs, wherever.

    I just want my fellow Ecopreneurist to know how simple this all was to do – I think it took all of 2hr to figure out and set-up, I did it all from my hotel room at the convention.

    Yes the video aren’t great – I think the imagine video used in this post is amazingly well done – but my videos are certainly good enough to introduce the new green promo items I saw at the convention.

    Plus the only cost was $100 for the camera.

    I think everyone should think about this new, free, platform we have to communicate over.

  • Thanks John. Great examples of what can be done on video. Don’t worry about how “great” the videos are. They don’t have to be of the quality of the Girl Effect/Imagine video to be totally effective. By the way, the Girl Effect video exemplifies the highest standard and I know many seasoned professionals who aspire to create work of that impact.