You’ve heard a lot about businesses maximising their opportunities on Facebook – whether through organic or paid content, Instagram pictures or sponsored posts, and Twitter engagement – which is now entering a new realm thanks to the company recently doubling the character limit to 280 words per tweet.
And, you may have heard a little about YouTube. The social media giant currently has over one billion users – amounting to almost one-third of the internet. YouTube says those users watch a billion hours of video, generating billions of views – every single day.
And the stats don’t stop there. YouTube is accessible in 76 languages, which covers 95 per cent of the entire internet population.
So, if you weren’t previously convinced that it could be a viable social media platform – at least to consider exploring for brand engagement and business opportunities – now, you might be.
YouTube has been successfully harnessed by small businesses around the world to build a strong customer base, ensure consistent exposure on a platform used by hundreds, thousands, even millions of potential clients and to drive sales and awareness – and you can use it, too.
Maybe you’ve previously thought of YouTube as another social media time-sucker – but let’s think again. There’s a way to create video content to potentially capture a whole new audience – and to re-purpose that content to your advantage on other platforms too – building brand consistency, customer and client loyalty, and showcasing your personality beyond your products and services – which is becoming increasingly vital online.
YouTube is another way to show the world what you can offer – beyond your business. It’s about presenting your products, advice and services to an audience that might not know their need for it. It can be a fun endeavour to show your brand and business personality – in a way that drives leads from humour, stories or fun content. It’s an entirely different online audience to tap into, engage with, and leverage.
Let’s look at some of the best ways you could consider using YouTube to gain leads, engagement and a boost to your brand.
Carve out your content niche.
A billion hours of broadcast content on one social media platform – each and every day – means your industry and marketable content will likely already be covered by hundreds and thousands of other brands, organisations and users. But don’t despair! Carving out a content niche and sticking to can help with cut-through. If your brand focuses on lifestyle products – perhaps consider providing lifestyle content, advice and funny stories – that reflect and support your service offering in the form of two-to-three minute videos each week. Find a different way to present your content among the offerings already available. Think about why viewers would prefer your content over other similar channels in the industry. And, take the time to watch, watch, watch – the successful, larger YouTube channels, and the smaller ones, before narrowing down to decide on your content niche.
Decide on delivery – and try to keep it consistent.
Audiences love consistency. They love familiarity with your brand, and knowing what to expect from your YouTube videos is no different. Decide on a format for the delivery of your content within the YouTube platform, and keep it consistent. If your competitors are punching out longer- form videos, consider standing out by creating shorter, snappier, informative content. You can choose to deliver your content with humour, in an informative way, via interviews with members of your staff, or by keeping it simple with a short wrap-up of the week. Whatever your decision – go with what is natural for your presenter and guests appearing on camera – to ensure the best short and long-term engagement with viewers. Feel free to experiment, but maintain the aim to land on a consistent delivery format.
Start a schedule.
Just as viewers expect to see the same delivery format, they expect to see your content posted at a consistent time each week. It’s the same for each social media platform – try deciding on a schedule, and get posting with each social media outlet supporting the other. Embed your YouTube videos into Facebook to increase views, use the link for your content in Twitter posts and Instagram bios and stories – and make every social media space work hard to boost the others. Viewers will come to expect your videos at the same time each week – which can make it easier for them to engage with your content, and to share it with friends and followers.
Be prepared to engage.
YouTube, like all social media platforms, needs time and attention to attract leads, ensure conversions and build a strong audience, customer and client base. It’s important to engage and interact with loyal fans through comments – on and off your YouTube channel – as with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Taking the time to engage helps to build your followers and subscribers organically.
Become part of the community.
Starting a YouTube channel is not just about focusing on the increases for your brand and business – becoming committed to the YouTube community will help you get the most out of it! Set aside time to search out and comment on other people’s videos – and don’t be afraid to subscribe to other channels. Being part of the online community helps to form relationships and brand loyalty – often people will stumble across your channel via another channel – and YouTubers love to support other brands and businesses by subscribing and promoting too.
Let’s get technical.
Choose your keywords for each piece of content carefully – this helps potential subscribers, clients and customers to find your videos amongst billions of others. There are plenty of keyword suggestion tools online to help find relevant keywords (short and long-form) for your content type and industry. Use these, and do your own research – and ensure your keywords appear in your titles and description within your videos to grow your online presence and attractiveness to viewers.
Keep it fresh.
Remember – first impressions matter. Keep your YouTube channel fresh! Remove outdated or irrelevant content from your page regularly and ensure each upload is of the utmost quality – every post is a reflection of your business, brand personality and operational style.
As in business, and with all social media outlets – building a strong following that generates leads and engagement takes time. Be patient. Commit to your chosen content delivery format, stick to your schedule and engage with interested viewers. A video going viral isn’t necessarily the aim – giving your viewers what they need, and what they have come to expect from your brand online – consistently, and to the best quality, should be.
Why Use YouTube? To experiment with a platform that allows you to connect with people, build your business, help viewers become long-term engaged users and grow customer and client loyalty. The goal may not necessarily be sales or conversions – but a brand-building tool that could well become a means to that end.