Want to Sell on YouTube? Don’t Just Make Videos—Join In Conversations – WSJ.com

For Shelley Davis, the secret to promoting a business on YouTube isn’t making videos. It’s talking to customers.

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Two years ago, Ms. Davis decided to set up a YouTube account to show videos about her hair-care company, Kinky-Curly Hair Products LLC. While poking around the site, she found that lots of African-American women had posted video blogs, or vlogs, about choosing natural hair over braids, perms or dreadlocks.

This was right up Ms. Davis’s alley, so she jumped into the comments sections of the vlogs, offering advice and answering questions about her products. The result: a surge of support.

Vloggers have posted more than 5,100 videos showing them trying out Kinky-Curly products, and Ms. Davis says the attention has helped boost sales by 40% and push her seven-year-old company into profitability, as well as land its products in Target and Whole Foods Market.

“YouTube has had the greatest influence on my company,” says the 39-year-old, who runs Kinky-Curly out of her Los Angeles apartment. “When dozens of different vloggers with their own unique hair types actually video themselves applying the product in the shower in one continuous take, it’s hard to dispute how it ends up looking.”

Very creative.