The New York Times has an interesting lead profile on Page 1 of today's SundayBusiness section on Howcast, one of the players in the emerging how-to social media market. I have tried to teach my son several times how to tie a tie, with little or no success. Imagine my surprise when he did it himself -- he just looked up a video that walked him through the steps in a matter of fact way without Dad's frustrating tone.
- Companies such as Nestle (How to make the perfect cup of Nescafe Gold) and JetBlue (How to stay fabulous when you fly coast to coast) are leveraging Howcast to support customer service and marketing efforts.
- The State Department is using Howcast to communicate with the rest of the world through videos such as "How to Protest without Violence" and "How to Launch a Human Rights Blog."
- Howcast is just 17 months old, yet its videos were played more than 20 million times last month across all of its distribution network, which includes Apple's iPhone as well as Google, Facebook, and Hulu.
- Those downloading a Howcast video on their iPhones spend an average of 12 minutes on the site -- twice as much as when it is accessed on a PC. This is social media for the mobile world on the go.
- The quote: "What we liked was the fact that there's endless content. There's a how-to that can go along with any service, any product." -- Kevin Law, former music exec, Howcast board member.
It would be interesting to see how companies focused on the BtoB technology market can leverage tools such as Howcast, Howdini, and About.com to build their brands. Share your thoughts while I go upstairs and see how my son is coming on that four-square.