With almost 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube, TechnoBuffalo is an extremely successful tech channel – its reach is even widened by their website, which complements the in-depth video analyses with exciting articles revolving around everything from the newest tech gear, apps, movies, and even gaming. The videos themselves impress not only with high-end quality, great editing, and commentary on the newest tech gear but also with refreshingly honest opinions. The viewers can tell that the people behind the channel actually try their best and test the products they discuss in as much detail as possible; for example, a video about the switch from Mac to Windows gives first-hand advice on the differences and pros and cons.
While most tech fans probably discover the channel first, they’ll quickly catch on to the resourceful website – TechnoBuffalo is an impressive example of a company covering all its bases and reaching out to a large audience. Reason enough for us, to talk to one of the masterminds behind and in front of the camera; Jon Rettinger stars in a majority of the videos and is the face of the company. Alongside his presence on the company’s social media outlets, he has also gathered quite a following on Twitter and Instagram, which is why we discussed both the company perspective as well as his personal views on social media and influencers.
Jon, thanks for doing this interview with us. Now, before we dive into it, could you describe in your own words the message of TechnoBuffalo’s YouTube channel in just a few sentences?
I want to be the voice of the consumer. I want TechnoBuffalo to represent the electronics buying consumer. When they come to us, I want them to trust our opinions and to let them know that we are just like them.
You state on your homepage that you use video to supplement your articles – while you balance here the best of both worlds, what are your expectations for the years to come? Do you think that with visual content on the rise and less emphasis on text the industry has to adapt? For example, how far do you think are we away from the point where videos become flagship content, while text will become the supplement?
Generally, we have already gotten to the point where videos have actually become the flagship and text has been moved to supplement that. That’s the opposite of what it was in the years past; however, we at TechnoBuffalo actually started off video first and the website came from that. I think in the future we are going to see a lot more video-centered content from all producers. I think it’s going to go a lot the way 360 is; more video content is consumed on mobile devices, which are capable of showing people 360-degree content. We are going to see a lot of things move over and change to get an advantage from that platform.
While TechnoBuffalo runs successful Instagram and Twitter accounts, YouTube is by far your biggest outlet. Have you ever considered expanding your social media presence to reach more fans?
I have considered expanding social media presence to reach more fans. The company uses all social media platforms; we have a social media manager who does all that. But I still manage all of my own social media platforms personally, so whenever I look to move to a new platform, I gauge whether I have the bandwidth to properly post to that. So, if something new does happen, generally I will at least try it, but usually Twitter and Instagram are my big go-to platforms.
https://twitter.com/Jon4Lakers – Einen von seinen Tweets einfügen?
Jon, when they hear the word influencer most people think of famous Instagramers and YouTubers, who inspire others and oftentimes advertise products from companies. In comparison, your channel is centered around the newest tech gear; most of your reviews either introduce a new product or you compare two products. However, you also sometimes advocate against buying a product and deliver refreshingly honest what you really think. With almost 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, your opinion has a huge impact on your audience. Do you ever feel pressure, knowing that your videos might heavily influence how a product might sell?
Yes, I used to. I used to get really nervous whether I was going to steer people in the wrong direction buying a phone or a tablet. It’s a huge purchase people seriously are stuck with for years. So, it’s a lot of pressure but I like that pressure. And I have been wrong in the past, when I did not recommend products and they ended up being better after proper software updates. And I have not recommended products that maybe should have been recommended. But for the most part, I like being able to help the consumers, being the voice of the consumer: I ask myself, would I buy this, would I spend my own money towards this product? If my answer is no, then I’ll say that. If my answer is yes, I would if I was this type of consumer, I like to say that as well.
Following up on this, have you ever not uploaded a tech video and if so, why?
There’s been a lot of videos I’ve been asked to do that I have refused to do. Companies that have asked us to do sponsored reviews or wanted to pay to figure out what I say or don’t say. We do sponsored content but we’ll never do sponsored reviews. There have been times where I’ve been asked things like that but I have never done that.
New products from the big players like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are almost instantly reviewed on many channels and websites and often they receive the product ahead of time. How do you deal with the time pressure when it comes to showing off and testing the newest gear on the market?
Do we see products ahead of time? Yes, and this is where I feel the most pressure, filming hands-on with embargoed flagship devices that I know are going to be huge. The iPhones or Galaxys for example. That’s still where I feel the most pressure, getting those first videos right. Generally, for the pre-filming, we have maybe 20 or 30 minutes with a phone, so you got to cram all our filming into a really small package; when a shoot usually takes us two or three hours, you got to do it all in a third or fourth of that. So yes, I do feel the pressure there.
How would you describe the typical subscriber of your channel?
I would say our subscribers are all extremely tech-savvy and very focused on mobile; we have predominantly male viewers and they are usually about 18 years old.
If you could change one thing about YouTube as a platform, what would it be?
That would be the comments. The comment section is a bastion for negativity and sometimes for hatred. Just YouTube in general, not just my comment section. I’d love to see that when people left a comment, it would show the percentage of the video they’ve already watched. So, if they’re commenting on something I mention halfway through after only watching five percent of the video I can know that and just ignore it.
TechnoBuffalo’s Social Channels
Jon’s Social Channels
Copyright: The header image and the videos are copyright protected and property of TechnoBuffalo and Jon Rettinger.