YouTube boasts more than a billion active users, about one-third of all people who use the internet. Those users upload and consume millions of hours of video content every day, putting YouTube leaps and bounds ahead of the cable networks providing more traditional content on TV.
What we’re saying is that YouTube isn’t only one of our world’s top social networks, but one of the most dominant forces in all of media. Period.
Ready to reach YouTube’s massive, plugged-in audience? Here’s how to put YouTube to work promoting your brand, gaining conversions, and creating real value for your business right now:
1.) Optimize Your Video Pages and Channel Page
As you start to look around YouTube to get a lay of the land, it’s first important to realize that there is so much more to the platform besides videos. Obviously, video content is the centerpiece of YouTube – but each page also offers so much more than that.
Instead of just thinking of YouTube as a cloud for holding all of your videos, approach it like your other social networks, taking care to optimize your content and the pages that hold it. On YouTube, that means structuring both your channel page and your individual video pages for maximum impact.
Your YouTube channel is your personal page, akin to a Facebook page. It’s the central hub where all of your uploads, playlists, and favorites are visible to viewers who find you via search, or who click through from one of your video pages.
If it helps, think of your channel as your YouTube homepage, with each individual video branching off of it acting as a content page, as you would on a website. With that in mind, remember your rules of design: Make sure that your branding is consistent across all of your pages, choose a high resolution channel icon, add beautiful, brand-specific channel art, and take use of other options for customization by adding a channel description and including a call-to-action in the “About” section of your channel page. You may also want to set up a default footer, which can automatically attach a call-to-action link or a bio to each video you upload, saving you time as you create more and more content.
From there, you can also add some additional features that make it easier for users to navigate your channel; if you’re planning to have lots of video content, consider breaking your videos up into different sections, arranged by category or theme. There are also steps you can take on your channel and pages to optimize your content for searchers (like the YouTube equivalent of SEO). Look into having your channel “verified,” adding tags and keywords for your channel, customizing your URL, and enabling channel recommendations, so that YouTube automatically suggests your content to users viewing similar videos.
So you’ve got your channel optimized and ready to go. Now it’s time to…
2.) Consider How You’re Using Video
We’re not here to tell you that there is a “one-size-fits-all” approach to crafting videos for YouTube. Besides urging you to shoot with high quality film equipment and look into some professional editing or post-production tools (many of which are actually surprisingly inexpensive), we’re not here to dictate how you shoot or what you shoot; that will differ for each and every brand out there, and will be ultimately be determined by your unique voice, audience, and social media goals.
We can, however, speak to that last point. Before you begin cranking out videos for YouTube, take some time to brainstorm what you’re actually trying to accomplish using the platform. There are endless ways that you can put YouTube to work for your brand, and it’s extremely important that you narrow your focus down to one or two, lest your entire channel become all noise and no value. In our experience, YouTube is great for:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Pre-qualifying leads
- Making a direct sale
- Building a brand narrative
What do you want to get out of your YouTube efforts? Having a concrete answer to that question will help you determine what kinds of video content to create, and how to optimize it. If your goal is to gain high quality leads, for instance, you may want to focus on user-generated testimonials or branded educational videos – ones that leave the audience hanging and encourage them to click over to your site for more. If your goal is to spread the word about your brand, you may want to produce some “behind the scenes” videos, or create something surprising and viral – a lip sync video, a cute animal video, a wild and “out there” ad for your product.
One important thing to keep in mind? On YouTube, users like consistency. A channel with a bunch of scattershot, unrelated videos will never attract the same attention as one that reliably puts out videos that are visually, thematically, and substantively related. In addition to consistency of content, don’t forget to be consistent in terms of creating and releasing content; viewers are much more likely to subscribe to a channel that is regularly updated than to one that is more sparsely used.
And, finally, don’t forget to optimize your videos themselves. Besides the call-to-action footers that we described earlier, you can ensure that each individual video you make is generating value by including multiple calls-to-action within the script of your video itself and by making your branding prominent throughout your videos. Create something valuable and memorable, and users will be more likely to keep you top of mind later on, and trust you enough to continue down your conversion funnel in the short term.
And if you’re looking to engage audiences without having to rely on your organic reach…
3.) Consider Advertising with YouTube
Like other social media platforms, YouTube also offers a powerful platform for paid advertising – one that is becoming more and more important in reaching audiences and cutting through the noise of today’s media-saturated landscape.
There are some pretty remarkable features built into YouTube’s paid advertising programs, but it’s also quite transparent and has a fairly gentle learning curve, making it easy to get started. Just upload your video, set up a few qualifiers and parameters – including your ad budget, the demographics you’re targeting, and any worthwhile exclusions – and launch your ad.
Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, you can also elevate your YouTube ads with some valuable functionality – YouTube allows advertisers to “retarget” potential customers, for instance, helping boost conversions. And, speaking of conversions, you can also add a call-to-action overlay to your video advertisements, allowing users to click through to your site from within your video itself.
For more on putting YouTube’s unique features and enormous reach to work as a paid advertising platform, we encourage you to read the site’s “Tips for optimizing your video campaign,” available here.
Have any more questions about putting YouTube to work for your brand? Looking for a creative partner to help create and share fresh, brand-specific content for your social channels? Geek is here to help! Drop us a line today to get the conversation started.