Looking good: How SMEs can thrive on YouTube

To stand out in today’s competitive social media environment, social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk stated over a year ago that every successful company must now become a media company and focus on producing content. This statement rings truer now than ever before, from companies at who are internationally reaching down to SMEs.

Investing in content on social network such as YouTube has proven results. As a platform to deliver creative video marketing campaigns, big brands have seen a plethora of success with branded content.

In fact, in 2016 Nike appeared in the most watched videos on YouTube, showcasing the power of a big budget video advertising campaign, hosted online and shared worldwide. For an SME to break through the noise and actively promote themselves through YouTube a different tactic is needed, though utilising video marketing as an SME has proven to be no less successful!

We searched for the best examples of companies utilising content to stand out online, and explored what SMEs can learn from their success on YouTube.



Your content should be produced with your demographic in mind in order to successfully resonate with your target audience online. The question for Rokenbok – the US based toy company – is how to stand out from the crowd online within the highly saturated global toy market.

Rokenbok decided to strategically focus on content for its younger audiences and decided to produce a series of short videos with its products being used in a variety of creative scenes. Rokenbok also uses its content as a chance to take a pop at its rivals. In its ‘Don’t try this with Lego’ series, Rokenbok points out what it considers the superior benefits of its products in comparison to its competitors.

Capturing the attention of its target market over its social channel helped to position the brand besides other brands within a competitive business environment. Populating your YouTube channel with relevant content is key to building your viewer base and subscriber numbers. Video marketing success through YouTube is rarely achieved after one or two videos, but will take time for an SME to start being noticed online.



Utilising the power of simplicity, Lagavulin whisky enrolled Nick Offerman to help create positive brand associations for Lagavulin in the run up to Christmas.

Lagavulin’s highly simple yet effective video shows Nick in an atmospheric and relaxing environment enjoying the product. effect Other videos produced for Lagavulin’s YouTube channel follow in this same brand tone and by using well-known personalities help to create positive brand associations with its audience.

Customers are drawn to brands that hold the same values as themselves, whether interested in humour, news or popular opinion customers will always be drawn to a brand whose personality complements their own. The use of highly branded content helps Lagavulin tap into ‘I-want-to-watch-what-I’m-into’ moments, otherwise known as ‘micro-moments’.



Dealing in a relatively new market, with constant stream of new innovative products on offer. There has been growing curiosity from consumers towards e-liquids and vaporizers as well as an ever-growing list of questions from new starters.

Using YouTube as a hub for its content, Vape Club set out to answer these questions and be the authoritative expert in the field. Vape Club honed in on the questions most important to its audience using a simple free tool named Answer the Public which allows the user to further hone in on the core questions being asked within their niche.

Vape Club reacted fast and, after finalising its consumer research, went on to create the first video guide on YouTube for e-liquid users, titled ‘A Beginners Guide to Vaping’, it is content that can be utilised on its website, capitalising on the search intent of customers who wish to learn more about vaping.

The video directly answers the key questions users are looking for in a useful and easy-to-digest way and at time of writing, this video alone has had over one million views and has directed over 2,200 customers directly to the VapeClub.co.uk webstore.



The YouTube channel for GoPro stands out as one of the first success stories on YouTube of a brand harvesting user generated content as a core component of its YouTube strategy and now boasts a following of over 2million.

As GoPro’s product natively captures video, this means that replenishing the channel with user generated content is particularly easy for this brand due to the fact that the product naturally produces exciting or emotional content.

Another company that draws inspiration from its product to power its video content is the Hydraulic Press Channel which has created a cult following of over 1.6 million subscribers who tune in to watch everyday objects be destroyed.


Mobile is now the dominant force when it comes to video and social media consumption. Sherrill Mane from IPSOS US states, “It’s time for planners to stop thinking of smartphones as phones, and more like personalised TVs.’

Facebook plays video muted in the newsfeed, so if you’re target audience or promotional efforts are going to be on Facebook it is worth adding captions to the video to keep the viewers engaged and to encourage them to click on the video.

Since most content these days is shared across multiple channels, it’s useful to look to examples such as UniLad who create video content that is optimised for cross-channel sharing.

What will your content look like on each of the social platforms that you want your content to be shared on? Before your video content gets attention it’s worth pre-planning the look of the content to ensure it translates to the most social media platforms as possible. Don’t limit your potential reach online.

It is important to be aware of current trends, popular public figures and upcoming events that are being discussed online, as trending topics often create the perfect opportunity to generate buzz and attention for your brand using YouTube.