When most people think of “social media” today, the four major players come to mind: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.  It’s safe to say that a majority of consumers has a profile on at least one of these networks, making them obvious choices for businesses to use for marketing.  However, YouTube is also considered a social networking site, something that most people forget.  Not convinced?  Here’s some of the statistics about the impact YouTube has from their website:

  • YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
  • YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • Growth in watch time on YouTube has accelerated and is up at least 50% year over year for three straight years.
  • The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% y/y since March 2014.
  • The number of users coming to YouTube who start at the YouTube homepage, similar to the way they might turn on their TV, is up more than 3x y/y.

Seeing these numbers, it’s no surprise that so many companies, and individuals, have found success by utilizing YouTube’s services.  One example of a successful individual is Ramit Sethi.  Described in this article as “a blogger and author in the personal finance and entrepreneurship realm”, Ramit has over 97 thousand YouTube subscribers and over 7 million views on his videos.  As an individual, he is a great example of how smaller businesses could utilize YouTube to promote their services or products. Here’s a look at his YouTube page:

ramit

But before your account can reach the same success as Ramit’s, here’s some tips on how you can improve your company’s YouTube channel.

Customize Your Channel

Creating a unique home for all of your videos is especially important because you want your channel’s layout to reflect the content you’re sharing.  Incorporating your company’s colors and logo into the page is a great place to start, as well as adding all of the basic information.  Be sure to also link all of your other social networking profiles to your channel. Here’s a great example of a custom page (@VICE):

 

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Welcome Your Viewers

Another way to make your channel more personal is to create a trailer to introduce your content.  It should be short, around 30-seconds to a minute, and should explain what your channel is all about.  Having a channel trailer will give new viewers a great first impression of you and your business, and will likely garner more subscribers.  In the video, be sure to explain exactly what your message, passion, or purpose of your channel in the first three lines.  Don’t use the trailer to draw out a long explanation of your life – keep it short and to the point.  Having a “call to action” at the end of the video is another great way to engage with viewers and potential subscribers.  Asking them for feedback, or to share videos they have found useful, will allow you to engage with viewers and garner your videos more attention.

Defining your mission is also essential.  Whether you address it in your channel trailer, or write it out in the About section of your account, be sure you make it clear.  If you’re not yet sure what the exact message of your channel is, thin about how you want to inspire people or what motivates you to create each of your videos.

Below is what a channel with a trailer will look like to unsubscribed viewers (once someone subscribes to your channel, the trailer will not not appear at the top of your home page anymore):
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Organize Your Videos

Once you start adding videos, it’s important to pay attention to the organization and details of each one.  Having an intriguing thumbnail picture and title for each video is key to attracting viewers.  After you upload a good amount of content, try to organize the videos by date, subject, or similar categories.  Making playlists for similar videos is one way to organize content. This makes it easier for anybody to find content that would interest them, without having to sift through dozens of videos.

Here’s an example of how Hatch organizes their videos:

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Tagging is another important aspect to add to your channel.  Like other social media platforms, using certain tags for both your videos and channel will allow users to find your content.  YouTube also offers around 15 categories for you to choose from.  Once you start assigning tags, make sure to check which tags are getting more hits so you can make an educated decision about choosing categories in the future.

Keeping video content consistent is an important ritual to develop over time.  When you initially begin your channel, it may be difficult to create a schedule.  Once you start uploading more videos, however, try to put out content on a schedule as this will give your subscribers something to look forward to.

Engage With Other Users

Since YouTube is a social networking site, it is important to engage with other people in order to promote your channel and gain subscribers.  Following other channels that can offer inspiration or have similar content is one way to get started.  If you don’t want to associate your channel with other businesses, try to find channels that focus on your local community.

Another way to engage on YouTube is through comments.  Always respond to comments left on your videos, negative and positive, to assure people that their input is important.  However if there are users that are leaving negative comments with offensive language that offer no constructive criticism, it’s best to just delete them.

Promote Your Videos

Once you have established your channel, make sure to share your videos on other social platforms.  No one will know you have a YouTube account unless you promote them.  Whether you tweet them out, post them on your Facebook page, or just let people know about your channel, it will garner your videos much more attention.  On the flip side, be sure to link all of your other profiles on your channel as well.  You can place the links at the bottom of your About page, or in the upper right-hand corner of your channel.

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