"Yet another reason for traditional TV outlets to worry about their relevance: YouTube.com, the hot new outlet for people to post and share homemade videos, has caught the attention of big-name marketers.
Nike, Warner Bros., MTV2 and Dimension Films are among the firms seeding the site with commercial clips. Now, along with consumer-made videos of newborn babies, weddings and teens pulling pranks, is a short of soccer star Ronaldinho in his new Nike sneakers."
If you are unfamiliar with YouTube, it is a free site for people to upload, view, and share videos. what has made using YouTube easy and popular is that uploaded videos are converted to another format to make it fast to load and watch. Also YouTube handles all the bandwidth, storage issues normally associated with online videos. Lastly, YouTube allows you to place these videos on your web site for viewing. All of this is offered for free.
There are other issues involved for restaurant owners, such as learning to use a digital camera (most take good quality video), video editing programs (Microsoft offers a free one), and working with your web designer. However, it is possible for one person to do this themselves.
For example, I made a quick product demo video for a client using my digital camera, uploaded to youtube, and put it on my web site. It took about 15 minutes to do (I will be working on another one with better lighting). You can view it by clicking here.
What does this mean for restaurants and marketing?
You no longer need to pay for companies to provide virtual photo tours of your restaurant. Take your camera on a sunny day, and walk through your restaurant, upload it, and you have a virtual tour. If you have other parts of the restaurant you want to show, do some more. If you just made a change to a room, then do another one. YouTube provides flexibility at no cost.
If you would like to record a video message or a commercial for potential customers, go ahead. Videos online do not require the expensive equipment used in tv commercials. Also the available software tools provide enough features to add music, voice, graphics and transitions.
Other possibilities is video taping quick cooking tips from the kitchen, advice on eating ethnic cuisine, showing successful private parties, or a personal message from the chef or restaurant owner.
Videos help give potential customers a greater sense of you and your restaurant. YouTube also makes it easy for people to share the videos with others.
Update: Upon further investigation, in addition to YouTube, there are similar free video services which also include free video and audio editing tools: Jumpcut, Grouper, VideoEgg. This makes it even easier for restaurant owners to get their content available online.