60 hours of fresh content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. With that amount of information being uploaded, the likelihood of your company being the source of the next “Harlem Shake” craze is not good. However, that does not mean smart brands can’t use YouTube to garner a significant amount of views and grow engaged followers.
Video content allows companies to present their brand with a sense of passion, enabling them to give a personal look that is simply not possible with static content.
What follows are tips and techniques you can use to ensure you get the most from YouTube and your YouTube channel:
Start a Branded Channel. Creating a branded channel is essential to building a following on YouTube. You need to complete a few steps to ensure all visitors can quickly see that this is your official channel.
A first step is to be sure you change the channel’s layout to the new design. You should next add some channel art, your website, and social network links. Every channel has an “About Us” section which should be completed so visitors can learn more about your brand. If your video content will feature humorous or whimsical content, then consider inserting some fun into your company description, don’t simply user your PR boilerplate.
If you have a video that offers an introduction to your business, then set it as your Unsubscribed Trailer video, so non-subscribers will see this video upon visiting. If you have other branded channels, then go to the “About” tab to add other channels which will appear on the sidebar.
Don’t Neglect the Search Benefits. While every brand wants their video content to go viral, it’s just not going to happen. An overlooked benefit of your average video is how it can help SEO by building out a company’s organic content.
Rankings in Google can especially be improved by the presence of YouTube content because it fundamentally sees videos with a lot of views as being more important than others, and its algorithms give a higher rank to sites that contain video.
Encourage User Participation. Many companies invest an inordinate amount of time and financial resources to create professionally produced videos. While such videos might be warranted for complex and lucrative B2B initiatives they can be a waste of money when the video is intended for individual consumers. A smart approach to produce some of this content is to encourage user-generated videos.
A traditional method of attracting such content is through a contest offering with a “show the world how you use our product,” kind of pitch. Beyond contests, brands should think of other incentives that can drive users to create engaging content, such as group adulation or the enticement of building the user’s own channel.
All of this content does the best when it is driven organically, where the user really enjoys a brand and is able to make related videos without restrictions. One caveat – not all users will want to produce content that is positive towards your brand. If you encourage users to help you with YouTube marketing, then you need to actively manage the account to either remove or interact with negative content.
Unless the content is offensive, then it might be a good tactic to create a rebuttal response or at the very least create comment entries to dispel any misconceptions or incorrect statements.
Try, But Don’t Overdo It. Brands should avoid “trying too hard” to push a video towards becoming a viral hit. Unless a brand has an established YouTube channel and a built-in audience that will produce millions of views, then there is really no way to predict which videos will reach viral status.
Some company-produced videos push comedic elements too hard or include nonsensical elements in order to attract attention. The trick is to create videos that will be embraced by the community, where your own passion for your brand comes through.
It’s hard to produce the qualities of a video that will make it appeal to a broad audience. You need some humor, but capturing a certain spark requires some luck and the ability to capture the essence of what the viewing public currently desires. And remember there are hundreds of millions of YouTube users, so appealing to a niche audience can still represent a massive amount of individuals.
Produce Quality Content Regularly. Mastering YouTube marketing takes time and regularity. It really is a marketing strategy that deserves attention from marketing in order for it to be successful.
Companies should formalize their plans for YouTube, with a schedule for the creation of content, distribution methods, and eventual comparisons of ROI. Building a group of channel followers can require a considerable amount of work, but the payoffs can be immense once a critical mass is reached.
Brands should not put all of their work and finances in one video with high production values, but focus on producing multiple pieces of content released over time that look presentable but don’t have the expense of commercial-quality productions.
For companies that are just starting out, a good first step is to simply share other popular videos in order to gain some channel followers. It’s important to only share content that depicts what you want and still has some sort of value for your brand presence. Sharing other’s content does not carry the same weight as your own productions, but it does begin to set the stage for your brand’s characteristics and gives a glimpse into the style of your upcoming proprietary content.
Keeping an Eye on Your Channel. Using analytics and testing videos against each other can bring formal marketing tactics to your YouTube channel. As testing sheds light on trends and the types of content with the best ROI, then you can adjust your tactics to invest more time and resources in the top performers. You should attach a real budget to YouTube marketing efforts so it can be included in broader marketing channel comparisons and become another metric for management.
There are a variety of tools marketers can use in order to track and analyze data from YouTube and other channels, including my company, SumAll. By using data and analytics tools, users can look at their YouTube and other channel analytics all in one place, so traffic and social data can be compared to revenue.
These sort of tools give marketers insights into what’s working, why it’s successful, and why is it out-performing or under-performing other data sets. They can help you to lay over data on a time basis to see what is happening within different parts of the business so correlations can be uncovered. For example, a company might have five YouTube channels and can use a service to look at all of them in relation to each other to spot any seasonal or other reasons for differences in performance.
The Bottom Line. YouTube can be a very powerful tool to help build awareness for your company. That said, the odds of having a viral video on YouTube about your brand are very, very slim. A better approach is to use YouTube the way you’d use any other platform — set objectives, develop a strategy and execute the tactics. By using this approach, you have a much better chance of success than by simply uploading a video in the hopes it goes viral.
About the Author: Dane Atkinson is the CEO of SumAll.com, a company that helps businesses track and analyze online data so that they can improve the ROI of their marketing campaigns.