Video is quickly becoming one of the most engaging and interesting forms of content. It’s much easier to watch a 2 minute video than it is to read a lengthy article. Because of this, YouTube has become a very popular marketing strategy.
You can advertise your business using video on a YouTube channel where users can subscribe to, like and comment on videos. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube every month so it’s a huge arena to take advantage of.
But many people are still a little uncomfortable with YouTube and many people don’t realise that it is in fact a social media site with interactive elements such as communities and discussions. But don’t be afraid - here’s our 15 best practices for using the social site as part of your marketing strategy. By the end of this article you should know exactly what to do with your videos and your YouTube channel.
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? There is a really great integration with YouTube, Google+ and Google search results, so make sure you take advantage of the cross-overs. When you post your video to Google+, you are instantly open to a bigger community where people can comment or +1 your video, thus boosting its popularity and the reach of your business message.
Get into the habit of posting your video to Google+ as soon as you upload, and take it even further by posting it on other sites like Twitter and Facebook. Spread the reach!
Google is quite clearly the king of search and now that it owns YouTube, the search feature on YouTube has improved. Because of this, it favours HD videos. HD means a higher quality user experience and so it makes sense for YouTube to favour these to keep users happy.
Uploading your videos in HD makes sure that you won’t lose out on any business to a rival who may upload their videos in HD.
When you upload your video, you have the chance to ‘categorise’ it by choosing one of the popular categories that YouTube provide. They range from ‘comedy’ and ‘education to ‘pets & animals’.
Whilst it probably won’t improve your views hugely, it will help your videos just that little bit more to reach a relevant audience.
Do this appropriately. Don’t categorise your video in a popular category just because you want a higher reach. The ‘music’ category is pretty popular but if you put your ‘most interesting personalised registration plates’ video in there, then you’re not going to get a great response.
In search results and subscription boxes, your videos will appear with a little rectangular image to represent your video - a thumbnail. When you upload, YouTube automatically presents you with three options from different points in the video. But did you know that you can upload your own images as your video thumbnails?
This way you can make sure that your videos are the most attractive for new visitors. It is best practice to have the video title somewhere in the thumbnail, but feel free to be creative!
By going into the advanced settings, you can link your website and make it an ‘associated website’. By doing this, YouTube can then verify that your channel is the official representation of your brand and company and can improve search results accordingly.
It involves some technical webmaster stuff so you may need to contact whoever controls your website, but it’s worth it. It can lead to many benefits including the next best practice tip …
6. Add Links to Your Website from Your Videos …
If you have successfully added an associated website, you can then add annotations with links to it. This means that at the end of the video, you can add an annotation which says ‘go visit our website’, with a link. Users can then visit your official website, providing you with more, relevant traffic.
If you are making a video which showcases your products, you can add links to specific product pages, so that people can watch the video and then can directly go and purchase your products
Whilst an annotation here or there can be a good way of driving traffic - don’t overdo it. They quickly become annoying and get in the way of a good user experience. Many businesses make the mistake of adding an annotation every other minute with a message like ‘go subscribe’, ‘hit the like button’ and ‘leave a comment below’.
If you are constantly adding these annotations it is just plain annoying and in all honesty, can be quite tacky. It is best practice to avoid doing this!
In our opinion, one or two minimal annotations at the end are most effective.
There are some exceptions, however, although a discussion around annotations is a whole blog post in itself!
Your business might have one or two channels that are used for different purposes. You might have a main channel but set up another for a specific campaign or a side event. By featuring these channels on your main page, you can ensure that users are aware of your wide scope of videos. The ‘channel feature’ tool that YouTube provides is a good way of maintaining the synergy between all of your marketing efforts.
If you link your other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you can make sure that they appear on your channel page in the header. Similar to the above, this keeps a nice synergy between all of your contact platforms.
If users like your content, they can easily go and like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. If you make it too hard for them to find your further content, you are losing out on easy business!
YouTube has recently introduced channel trailers which are videos just like any other. However, they are meant to be used to advertise your channel. You can highlight this video on the front page of your channel so that if people visit your channel with no prior knowledge to your business or videos, they can watch this introductory video and get a good grasp of who you are and what you do.
Another good use of channel trailers is the Fan Finder programme. If you have enough of a following in terms of subscribers, you can register with the Fan Finder programme which YouTube has created. Basically, this uses information about your current subscribers and then shows your channel trailer to similar users in the form of those pre-roll ads you sometimes see at the beginning of monetised videos…but it’s free!
Like we said before, YouTube is social media site. People can comment on your videos just like they can comment on Facebook posts. So it’s important to regularly check and engage with these people who have taken the time to not only watch your video but leave a comment.
Act just like you would if you were receiving engagement from Twitter or Facebook - you wouldn’t just leave users hanging if they have asked a question or asked for your opinion.
Build a community within your channel! If they have a good response from you, they are likely to comment on even more videos, share them and become brand ambassadors.
Sometimes people aren’t going to engage with your content - but it doesn’t mean that they don’t necessarily want to. If you subtly start a conversation within your video, ask your viewers to continue the discussion in the comments below. Sometimes they just need a little nudge.
But a little nudge is all. Don’t go into ‘sales mode’ as it can have the absolute opposite effect.
The worst of the worst thing to do! Don’t breach copyright - YouTube does not like this at all. They will make your video unavailable to affected countries and it can harm your YouTube reputation. A bad reputation means that YouTube will take away privileges such as longer videos or monetisation opportunities. Just don’t do it.
A feature of YouTube is ‘live streams’. This means that if you connect your webcam, you can effectively have a video conference with your viewers. This is a great way to have a wide variety of content so if you have an interesting event, conference or presentation - live stream it.
Once the stream is over, you can upload the whole event as a video to your channel so people can watch it again at a later date and anybody who missed it can catch up. The cast of Camp Takota did this in the run to the premiere of the film to much success.
15. Take Advantage of Unlisted Videos
Unlisted videos are videos which act just like normal videos except they won’t show up in subscription boxes, your channel or in search results. Why is this a good thing?
Well you can upload these videos and only give the link to certain people. Maybe you only want clients or partners to see the video. Make them unlisted so that your general fan base can’t watch them!
Another cool thing to do is if you wanted to maintain a level of exclusivity. Upload a secret video and upload to your blog so that only people who visit your blog can watch the video. This can be useful for coupon codes or vouchers - be creative!
Playlists is a great tool that can group videos of similar topics. For example, we have a playlist for ‘web design’ and one for ‘digital marketing’ so that if a user is only interested in web design, they can just watch videos on that topic.
But videos in playlists also play one after the other automatically. So if you send somebody a link to a video in a playlist, as soon as it finishes they will be shown another. And then another until the playlist ends. It’s a useful way to keep users interacting and engaging with your content for as long as they want to be.
This is a last tip and one that can be applied to any kind of content marketing. Which of your videos is doing well? Which ones aren’t working? Which ones get shared the most? Which ones start the most conversations?
Use the answers to these questions to shape your future content. Have a working planning document to help you keep doing what’s working and stop what’s not!
Did you find these tips useful? If you did, don’t forget to share this blog post on Twitter. YouTube is a great marketing tool that many businesses overlook. Some famous YouTubers have almost 5 million subscribers so it is clearly a platform to consider, but it is important to know the basics.