While you may think of YouTube as the domain of silly viral videos and remixes, it’s also a database of knowledge and information—one that nearly 1 billion people visit every month. Sure, a large percentage of those visitors stick to the cat videos and the music videos and the cat-music-videos, but countless businesses have found a willing audience for videos that build their brand, establish expertise, and form solid and rewarding relationships.
If that sounds like just the kind of advertising claim that’s too good to be true, it is…if you don’t take the time to really master the medium and understand how to elegantly fold YouTube into your wider marketing campaigns. To get yourself going, we highly recommend taking a browse of this guide to using YouTube, which provides helpful tips for all levels of YouTube users. To get you started, here is a brief primer for getting those YouTube juices flowing.
1. Produce the Videos Your Users Are Searching For
There was a time when video production was largely a shot in the dark. Sure, you could do a little research into demographic data, or perhaps even run a focus group, but both options were expensive and not all that accurate. Those problems are largely a thing of the past, however, with the following approaches to arm you.
- Do a little competitor research. These days, competitor research is as easy as clicking a search term into YouTube. Take a look at the videos your competitors are producing and how customers are responding in the comments, When you see commenters asking for different material, that’s your chance to produce a much more thorough and helpful gem. Or, simply put your own spin on similar themes, without blatantly copying.
- Use customer service calls as inspiration. Believe it or not, you’ve already got a great treasure trove of data waiting on the other side of a phone call. Use questions and stories from customer service calls to create how to videos to address common questions. Or, ask a customer if you can use their story as a case study.
- Make good use of the Google Keyword Tool. You probably know the Google Keyword Tool from your search engine optimization efforts, but that same data can also be inspiring. What better way to answer just the questions customers are asking than by asking Google what they’re asking and brainstorming topics from the results?
- Draw from your wider marketing activities. The best way to make sure your YouTube efforts sync with your wider marketing activities is to use those activities to source ideas. Are you doing a top 10 blogging series detailing insider industry tips? Sync each blogpost with a top 10 how to video. Launching a new product? Give your followers an immersive look into just what it’s like to use that product like the longboarding company in the video below. Or, simply use a video to illustrate visually what you’ve written in words.
2. Mix Up Your Approach
Companies who make the most of YouTube know that they’ll develop a long term relationship with their audience only if they keep their content interesting and varied. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to keep it fresh.
How to Videos
Whether you’re providing tips or doing a simple screenshare, how to videos are a fast and easy way to offer your customers valuable and actionable information. While the example below is pretty polished, you can accomplish similar results with a free tool like Screencast O’Matic.
If you’ve conducted an interview with an expert at an industry conference or have a slideshare to share, YouTube is the perfect place. Another great strategy is to record your answers to tricky customer questions. Use your video platform to establish rapport and trust right along with your expertise.
Marketing and Advertising
Before you read even further, let’s be clear that marketing and advertising on YouTube isn’t the same as advertising on TV. YouTube marketing videos have to feel down to earth, creative, and sometimes even risky if you want to entice your audience into watching. This could mean doing everything from emphasizing your brand values a la the White House video below…
…to introducing your brand to the world, to direct promotion of a product, service or event. Don’t be afraid to do something a little goofy, like testing your products under ridiculous and extreme conditions, or adapting your product for unforeseen uses. The more you can show you have a sense of humor about yourself, the better people will like you, engage with you, and share your videos.
3. Spread the Word
YouTube is a powerful search engine, but it still needs your help to discover and promote stars. Here are a few things you can do to rack up those views.
- Promote your video on social media. From LinkedIn to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon, make sure everyone knows about your video. Even better, when embedding your video on your website or blog, ensure easy share buttons are nearby. If followers engage with your promotional posts, or if they make comments on the video, you’ll also want to respond in a timely and polite manner to keep those customers engaged and sharing.
- Call your audience members to action. Viewers should have a clear and concrete way to engage more deeply with your brand upon the completion of your video. Provide links to your website and social media sharing at the beginning and end of your video, as well as in the video description. Brand an entire YouTube channel and create a playlist to lure viewers into even more videos. Suggest that your viewers take action that relates directly to the subject matter, and preferably ties them more closely to your brand. Make them motivated and ready to go!
- Optimize your video and YouTube page for searches. If users are going to find your video, it’s important to add keywords into the title, tag and description. Also choose a thumbnail that’s relevant to the video’s topic, so that users will trust the video when it tops search results.
4. Do Your Analytics
It wouldn’t be a proper marketing campaign if there weren’t post-campaign numbers involved. It just so happens that YouTube has a powerful analytics tool called YouTube insights, which allows you to determine traffic sources and demographics, and measure engagement, attention rates and subscriptions. With these numbers in hand, you can gain a clear picture of just what’s working and what isn’t, and produce further videos based on your findings, both in terms of content and execution.
YouTube is fertile ground for marketers, with an entire world of users actively engaged, all the time. However, competition for viewer attention is fierce, and it’s important to have a deep understanding of the platform if you’re going to stand out. Master your craft, learn the best promotional skills, and have fun!
Luke is a Seattle based writer and internet marketer who loves leveraging YouTube and other types of video within marketing strategies. As an avid hiker, you’ll most likely find him in the mountains on a sunny day.