YouTube marketing is often overlooked by social media marketers. Some think YouTube counts as a social media network. Others see it as more of an online video platform.
Either way, there are countless marketing opportunities on YouTube, especially if your audience is on the platform and your competitors aren’t.
YouTube counts two billion logged-in monthly users worldwide.
So in that sense, whether or not YouTube meets social network criteria is irrelevant. It’s more popular than all of them.
Steps YouTube marketing strategy
1- Create a YouTube channel for business
Start by opening a Brand Account on Google.
With a Brand Account, multiple authorized users can log in simultaneously. Even if you don’t need this right now, it’s a good option to keep available as your business grows. With a Brand Account, you can also open and manage multiple YouTube channels.
2- Learn about your audience
If you’re just starting out on YouTube, set aside some time to learn about YouTube demographics.
This includes quantitative data, like where the majority of users live, predominant age range, and viewing preferences. If your audience skews younger, it might be worth noting that they are most likely to search for short-form content.
3- Research your competition
Like any platform, YouTube is a competitive space. By conducting an audit of competitors, you can see how your channel measures up and identify opportunities.
Start by identifying three to five competitors. If you’re not sure, try Google Ads’ free Keyword Planner to see which companies rank for keywords associated with your brand. Or see what channels appear in searches on YouTube for the same keywords. (After hitting Search, filter results by Channel.)
Record key metrics such as subscriber counts and viewership stats so you can use them as benchmarks for your channel. Look at titles and descriptions to see what keywords they use. Read the comments on these videos to see what people are saying. Chances are their audience will overlap with yours.
Conduct a SWOT
Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats presented by each competitor. This is a good framework for spotting what’s working and not working, and where you can carve out a niche with your YouTube channel.
4- Learn from your favourite channels
Scroll through your subscriptions and your YouTube history. As you do, take note of the techniques and formats that hold your attention. What keeps you coming back to these channels? How do the most popular channels drive views, subscriptions, and engagement?
Take a look at YouTube’s trending videos. Even if these videos have nothing to do with your business or industry, there’s a lot you can learn from them. Are all of these videos high-production, or are they shot more casually? What is the most common length of these videos? Do they have a host? Do they add special effects or text overlays?
5- Optimize your videos to get views
Optimize your videos so that they stand the best chance to show up in search results and get more views. Here are a few SEO pointers to start with:
Write a strong title
The title is one of the primary signals YouTube’s algorithm and viewers look at to evaluate your video. Include relevant keywords. Check what words people use to find your channel in Traffic Sources in YouTube Analytics. Take a look at Google Trends and Google Ads’ Keyword Planner, too. See if any of these popular search terms can be added to your title.
Create a standout thumbnail
Even before titles, thumbnails are the first thing people see. Ninety percent of the best performing videos on YouTube have one thing in common when it comes to thumbnails: They’re custom. With a custom creative, your thumbnail is more likely to stand out. Another advantage is that you can ensure the image and title work in tandem. If your video is a thumbnail or how-to, show the end result or a before and after thumbnail. This builds anticipation: People will watch to see how you reach the final result.
Write a keyword-rich description
Prioritize the first few lines of your description to provide a brief summary of your video topic. As early as possible, plug in the keywords you’ve zeroed in on. Try not to sound too spammy. Write in coherent, natural-sounding sentences.
Add cards, end screens, bumper ads, and watermarks
Cards, end screens, bumper ads, and watermarks are clickable CTAs you can add to your YouTube videos. These elements help your videos drive actions and keep people on your channel.
Remind viewers to like, share, and subscribe
There’s a reason a lot of YouTube videos end with the host calling on viewers to “like, share, and subscribe.” It works. Asking never hurts. Sometimes people need a helpful reminder. Plus, this type of engagement earns points with the YouTube algorithm.
6- Upload and schedule your videos
Now that you’ve created and optimized your videos, it’s time to schedule them for publication.
Check your channel analytics to see if there’s a day or hour that tends to have a high amount of viewership and engagement. Once you’ve pinpointed the best time to post, aim to publish regularly within this window.
Scheduling tools let you maintain consistency on auto-pilot. You can upload and schedule your YouTube videos in advance from the Creator Studio, or with a tool like Hootsuite, which allows you to cross-promote your video releases with posts on other social channels all from the same dashboard.
7- Optimize your channel to attract followers
Make it easier for people to find and follow you on YouTube by optimizing your channel. Here are a few ways to prime your account for search, views, and follows.
Complete your YouTube profile
Fill out or add some polish to the following areas:
- Channel description: In the “about” tab of your profile, provide a keyword-rich overview of what people can expect when they subscribe to your channel. Include links to your website and social accounts here, too.
- Channel icon: Upload a high-res version of your logo.
- Channel art: Use this banner space to welcome viewers to your channel. This area is a good place to promote your channel schedule, or an upcoming exhibit, product launch, or service. Master channel art and nab free templates with this guide.
You can also add a list of Featured channels to your profile.
Add social media links to your banner
Your YouTube banner is a prime position to add a few key links. Use this area to link to your website, other social channels, or even an auto-subscribe prompt. Put what matters most to your company upfront.
Create a channel trailer
Just like a movie trailer, your YouTube channel trailer is an opportunity to preview your channel. Channel trailers auto-play when an unsubscribed visitor lands on your page. So it’s best to assume they’re new to your page, and possibly your brand.
Organize videos into playlists
Design your playlists so to be cohesive and have a logical progression. Think like YouTube’s algorithm. If someone likes your first video—what type of video would they want to watch next?
Playlists can be created with your own videos, or include partner videos.
Remember to include relevant keywords in your playlist titles to boost your YouTube SEO.
Add captions and translations
Start by adding captions to your videos. This will make your video accessible to non-native speakers, people with hearing impairments, and people watching with sound off.
8- Try YouTube advertising
YouTube advertising can be an effective way to expand your reach beyond your channel. Looking to grow your channel? Target an audience you think might be interested in your content.
Want to promote your brand, an event, or a new product? YouTube ads are good for that, too.
YouTube ads are available in these four categories:
• Skippable in-stream ads
• Non-skippable in-stream ads (including bumper ads)
• Video discovery ads (formerly known as in-display ads)
•Non-video ads (i.e., overlays and banners)
9- Try working with an influencer
One of the best ways in YouTube marketing to showcase your brand and reach a wider audience on YouTube is by working with an influencer.
According to Google, 60% of YouTube subscribers are more likely to follow shopping advice from their favourite creator over their favourite TV movie personality. Why? It’s often a lot easier to relate to creators. With the right partnership, creators can transfer that reliability and trust to your brand.
10- Analyze and adapt
With your YouTube channel up and running, it’s time to start measuring your success. And failures. Getting YouTube marketing right involves testing and experimenting. Not everything will work, and that’s okay as long as you learn from it.
Use YouTube Analytics to monitor the growth of your channel and track the performance of your videos. When you publish a new video, keep an eye on:
• Significant changes in subscriber count
• New or changing audience demographics
• Video playback locations and traffic sources
• Device reports (mobile, desktop, smart TVs, etc.)
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