While Facebook and Twitter lead the social media marketing strategy conversations, YouTube is arguably the social media platform that may create the most opportunities for interacting with your core audience. The usage numbers for YouTube seem to grow exponentially each year. The most recent estimate is almost three billion daily video views, with 72 hours of video uploaded every minute.
Whatever topic you’re looking for, it seems someone has posted a video about it. What was initially a portal all about entertainment-related content has grown into an education platform with tutorials on every subject. Here are a few suggestions for tapping into this powerful marketing tool to support your digital strategy:
1. Give users the content they’re searching for
As a Google-owned property, YouTube offers several tools that validate what video content and terms users are searching for, which then allows you to prioritize your video production around those trends. Validate the demand volume by searching good-fit terms in your industry and confirming what videos show up — and how many views each one has. Views will validate the interest and help you give them what they want.
When it comes to producing the video, it should answer a question. Typically, users are looking for simple answers to frequently asked questions. The more specifically targeted the answer, the better your target audience will receive it.
2. Optimize a branded YouTube channel
YouTube offers the ability to customize your channel so it can truly become an extension of your brand. Customizing navigation, colors, logos, feature videos and the playlist will allow your brand to have a presence that makes sense for your business. The goal is to gain subscribers and interaction with your video content. The set-up and customization are easy — and important for any company looking to have a presence online.
3. Take steps to increase search visibility
When uploading video content, incorporate high-traffic industry keywords to name and describe your videos. By transcribing text and adding subtitles to a video, your content and channel will be more accessible through Google and other engines. Annotation, which allows links, text bubbles or comments on screen, is one more way to increase visibility for your videos. YouTube has how-to’s for adding these features.
4. Utilize the free insights to refine your channel
YouTube analytics are powerful — and can provide insight into who’s watching your videos, how they found them and perhaps why. Use this information to learn what works with your audience and what content should be provided in the future.
5. Market your videos to get exposure
Just like Google paid search programs, there are similar ways to promote your videos on YouTube. YouTube TrueView offers the ability to have your videos pre-roll before other high-view videos, with powerful metrics that show the ROI and engagement for your spend.
6. Leverage other social platforms
While YouTube is a social platform, there are ways to make the content more shareable — the ultimate goal of any social media initiative. Create or post to your blog, using a keyword-rich title and description. Post it to your Facebook page to reach a wider audience. Use your Twitter account to get the word out and share the link. Other high-traffic social properties, like StumbleUpon, are additional valid tools for promoting your content.
By combining these tactics and, most importantly, creating compelling content that your target audience is looking for, you can make YouTube work for you by engaging your customers and showing how your product or service can help them.