Video sharing sites like YouTube, Viddler, Revver, and many others are increasing in popularity and have literally millions of people sharing and watching videos made by individuals around the world. But, these video sites are not just for funny things like watching people fall off skateboards or play ping-pong in animal costumes! They can and should be used by businesses of all sizes to promote their business, educate their prospects and customers, and most importantly, build trust! And, this is a totally viable strategy for any kind of business, whether online or offline (i.e. brick and mortar physical location).

The reason online video is so powerful for business is that it is the next best thing to actually meeting someone in person. It is much easier to build trust with video than with text or even audio. Imagine if you were trying to decide between two hair salons, and one had a website with just text, and the other had a video with a quick tour of the salon, and a nice, welcoming message from the owner. Now, which hair salon are you going to visit first? The one with the video, of course, because you have now seen the salon and “met” the owner, so you’re more comfortable there. Always keep in mind that trust creates sales, and effective videos create trust!

In terms of equipment, please do not be overwhelmed by all of the gadgets and options out there. The fact is that just about any digital camera on the market today has video capability, and for your purposes as a small business owner the quality and features will be completely adequate. In other words, please do not run out to Best Buy and spend four hundred dollars on a digital camera. If you are in the market for a new digital camera so you can shoot some short videos, you should be able to get everything you need and more for one hundred and fifty dollars or less, and that is for a brand new camera. If you are really on a budget, you can try buying one used from Amazon or eBay for about thirty to fifty dollars. And, you may already have a digital video recorder built into your i-Phone or other smart phone. If you do, I would encourage you to start with that because you have already paid for it, and because it is super convenient. You can always upgrade to an awesome video camera after your online videos have made you some money!

Now you will need to shoot some short one or two minute videos. Please do not worry about the quality of the videos, or about your acting skills and appearance on camera. In the past, when I have helped other small business owners through the process of getting videos online, I have always encountered a lot of angst and general nervousness about "on-camera appearance" and "lack of acting skills". But, did you know that today's online shopper or potential customer actually wants to see real people acting and talking like real people? This is probably the result of the reality TV craze, but the bottom line for you is that the more normal, real and genuine you are in your video, the more people will trust you. So, the pressure is off! If you stammer a little bit, repeat yourself once or twice, or are having a bad hair day, you will probably get more customers than if you deliver your lines like a seasoned professional. You will also find that after shooting about ten one or two minute videos, you will be much more comfortable, and the process will be fun rather than stressful. For now, just shoot one or two little videos and the proceed to the next step in this article.

At this point, you will want to create an account and a profile at a video sharing site like YouTube. I am happy to report that YouTube is completely free to use! There is a big yellow button in the upper right of YouTube that says "Upload". Click this button and the system will walk you through the steps of uploading your video. YouTube will format the video for you, so you will not have to worry about any frustrating technical details. Make sure that you provide an accurate and descriptive title, description and tags for your video when you are uploading it. Tags should be words or phrases, separated by commas, that you think potential customers would enter into search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSN/Bing when they are looking for products or services like yours.

You can even set up your own YouTube "Channel" for free, which is like a traditional television channel except it is on YouTube. Your channel is a place where people can find all of your videos and other information about you and your business in one convenient place. Very interested people can even "subscribe" to your channel, so that they will not miss out when you post future videos. Make sure you fill in your profile information including your website so that it is easy for people visit you online after they have seen one of your videos.

Drive traffic, Produce products, Make money online, Outsource, Break the barriers that stop successNow, for a really spectacular way to use online videos… You can very easily get your videos that are up on YouTube to show up on your company’s blog or website, also for free! Once you upload a video to YouTube, on the upper right, hover your mouse over your account name, then click on “My Videos” on the drop down menu that appears. Then, click on the video you want to have show up on your website, and it will take you to a page featuring that video. On the right side will be a field called “Embed” with a bunch of code in the field. You just need to copy all of the code, and then paste it into your website or blog, wherever you want the video to show up. Blogging platforms like Wordpress are set up so that it is very easy to add videos and photos in this fashion. Web design software like i-Web and Front-page also make this quite easy. As a last resort, you could always contact a web expert on a site like Craigslist and pay them a little bit of money (maybe ten dollars) to show you where to put the "Embed" code so that your YouTube video shows up in the correct place on your website or blog.

That’s it folks! You have now created a short video, uploaded it to YouTube where it can be found by millions of people (including your potential customers), and then loaded it onto your website or blog too! Your YouTube videos also have a strong chance of showing up in regular Google search results, since Google owns YouTube and Google values video content much more than regular old text content. After going through this process a few times, it will all seem quite logical and natural, and you will be able to conveniently and cost-effectively find new prospects and convert them to paying customers by communicating with them in online videos.