YouTube is a great tool for marketing your business – if you can avoid the pitfalls…

Mistake #1 – Thinking all you need to do is upload a video and traffic will flood your website.

No less than 35 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so the competition to get your video seen by viewers is insane. There are tons of high-quality videos that never get more than a few thousand views, and no doubt many more that get even fewer eyeballs.

What to do? First, tailor your video content to what your viewers want and not necessarily to what you want to show them. Always keep the viewer in mind every step of the video making process and put their needs and desires ahead of yours. Next, you’ve got to vigorously promote your video. Social sites are often the best way to get the word out. And third, realize that it takes time, resources and a good idea to make a video people want to watch and pass on to others. And it takes time and resources to properly promote your video. Don’t expect to slap up any old video and watch the sales role in.

Mistake #2 – Thinking you’re too small or new to make video work for you and your business.

Just because you need to keep your expectations realistic doesn’t mean placing and promoting videos on YouTube can’t have an impact on your business. Any business, large or small, can use video to its advantage.

Think about what you like to share with friends and tailor your video accordingly. Even a few thousand views can increase your business, and if you get lucky, you might even create the next video viral sensation.

Mistake #3 – Creating a commercial. Online video is about engagement with others, not slapping out another “buy my product” commercial.

Think of your video as doing much more than simply selling a product or service. People on YouTube want to consume and share engaging and fun content, so don’t give them a 30 minute speech on why your product rocks, because odds are they won’t watch it.

Instead, inject fun, personality and pizzazz into your videos. Make them emotional, or thought provoking, or funny, or all three. Ask yourself: If I saw this video, would I send it to my friends? If the answer is no, then keep working on your concept.

Another test to see if you’re on the right track: If you with friends, would you show them the video? If not, then you might want to start over. A video should grab attention and keep the viewer entranced. It should be short – usually less than 5 minutes and preferably less than 2.5 minutes. And it should leave the viewer feeling GLAD they saw it, not glad it’s over.

Mistake #4 – Trying too hard. You might think you need to spend thousands of dollars to get a professional video created, when the fact is an amateur type of video might do just as well, if not better.

People generally don’t like “slick” unless it’s of a “Hollywood” caliber – and that’s expensive. People prefer to watch videos of real people doing real things. To illustrate slick versus real, think of an overly smooth sales person trying to sell you a car – isn’t he or she an instant turn off? Now think of an average nice person with a car for sale. She tells you it’s a good car, but the heater takes 10 minutes to warm up and the ride’s not super smooth. Who do you trust?

Or think about the person trying desperately to impress you with how professional he is and how he knows everything about everything, compared again with the average nice person who readily admits she makes bone-headed mistakes and sometimes says or does the wrong thing. Who do you like better?

Bottom line: Do create videos to market your business on YouTube, don’t expect them to get a gazillion views overnight without massive promotion, do be yourself when making the videos, and ALWAYS keep the viewer in mind through every step of the process.