Video might have killed the radio star but it works just fine for snow and ice contractors who use YouTube channels to educate, entertain and network.
“The Dirt Ninja” Tom Gardocki, owner of New Era Excavation in Manchester, NH, posted his first YouTube video in 2010. Currently, he has 540 videos, 30,000 subscribers, and more than 18 million total views on his channel.
He says he watches a lot of videos and decided to post his own videos that show his everyday work, how-tos and new technology in the industry. The most popular videos, he says, are his how-to videos and his heavy equipment trick videos. His most popular video shows him using the bucket of his excavator to grab and stack beer bottles and golf balls. It had more than 500,000 views in two days and led to him being showcased on local news stations and the Discovery Channel’s “Machine of Glory.” View the video at http://tinyurl.com/DirtNinja
“I never expected anything to come of it but now it has grown into something way bigger than I ever imagined. Honestly I do it for fun, I post things that I think are interesting and things that I think will help people out with their business,” he says.
Paul Vanderzon, ASM, whose family owns Deneigement Vanderzon, has a small but mighty following on YouTube. His video showing the power of using a tractor and inverted snowblower put him on the map. View the video at http://tinyurl.com/TractorBlower
. Déneigement Vanderzon was featured in Pro- Tech’s SnoFighter series and is currently starring in “En Pleine Tempête” (In the Storm).
He says he thinks his best videos are “during the storm, when the snow is flying all around, and you and your equipment are getting it done.” He also notes it takes a lot of work to make good videos and that he has started to experiment with drone footage.
“It can be distracting and time consuming, especially when we are in the thick of things,” he says, adding that it’s important to think about the end user.
“If it’s shaky or hard to follow, make a new one. Learn to edit your videos and cut out the boring stuff. Try to keep your videos to a couple of minutes,” Vanderzon says. “If you can afford it, there are some great recording devices that have image stabilization built in along with attachments to secure the camera to the outside or inside of your equipment.”
Gardocki and Vanderzon both have made connections in the industry through posting videos.
“I respond to almost all of the comments posted on my videos, especially questions,” Gardocki says. “ I also reply to every private message I receive. I average 1-2 private messages a day from people looking to start their own business and wanting advice, to people looking to buy equipment/tools/attachments and they want my feedback on the product. I think taking the time to respond gains me really loyal followers. Plus I always learn new things from my followers.”