If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the value of film? Well-created videos can enable your business to communicate with existing and potential customers in a way that was never possible even a few years ago. What’s more, you don’t need expert knowledge or a massive budget to thrive on YouTube, because inexpensive tools and technology have lowered the barriers.
Since its launch in 2005, YouTube’s popularity has exploded, making it the world’s second most popular website. Plus, Google – which has owned YouTube since 2006 – gives prominence to video content within its own organic search rankings.
If you have so far overlooked YouTube marketing as an option for your business, you could be missing out on great opportunities to create valuable content that will attract your target market and engage your clients.
‘How to’ do YouTube marketing
One of the most commonly searched for items on YouTube are ‘how-to’ videos. Creating useful, informative videos is an excellent way to gain an audience that trusts you. Product demonstrations and explainer videos are useful ways to show your expertise, but you can go further and create “inspiration” videos, with ideas that perhaps your customers hadn’t thought of associating with your product.
Testimonial videos are also a powerful way to build your brand. You can do this by interviewing your customers on camera, or simply turning their quotes and photos into a video. The YouTube Creator Studio (available as an app and on your YouTube dashboard) is a great resource for this.
Where to start
Before you start creating content, check out what’s already out there. What are your competitors doing and what is getting YouTube views and engagement? Look for inspiration from what small businesses in different industries do – for example, drone footage can give your video marketing an edge. From there you can create a YouTube marketing strategy.
The simplest way to find out what’s out there is just to do a YouTube search within the search box. Like on Google, the predictive sentence completion will show what the popular keyword terms are. Then, you can delve deeper in your keyword research with a tool such as Google Adwords or Tubebuddy.
In terms of SEO, the title of your video is particularly important on YouTube, so use specific, interesting, descriptive titles where possible. Choosing the right categories and tags will also help your content reach the right audience.
Creating quality content
Shorter videos usually work better than longer ones, so work towards a target length for your videos, paring out footage that doesn’t add anything, to create something impactful. A good way to gauge an optimal length for your videos is to check analytics to see how long people watch before losing interest.
While popular YouTube channels generally release regular content, quality is much more important than quantity. If you’re stuck for time, focus your attention on creating fewer high-quality videos that really inform and inspire your audience, rather than establishing a lower standard for your business with a stream of mediocre or irrelevant ones.
Optimising your YouTube channel
YouTube allows you to customise your channel, which will help differentiate it from other pages. Stamp your brand identity on it by using your logo, colour, tone and messages or slogans that you want viewers to associate with your business. Encourage viewers to subscribe so they get notified whenever you upload a new video.
At the outset, consider how you would like your audience to respond to a video. Include calls to action in the video itself, such as asking viewers to contact you for more information, subscribe to your YouTube channel and share your video on their own social network channels. Encourage interaction and comments and respond to all feedback promptly or regularly, if you can.
Enabling subtitles on your YouTube video is fairly straight-forward – just turn on auto-captioning and edit the output for accuracy. There are hundreds of millions of hearing-impaired YouTube users who appreciate captions. You can keep the captions defaulted off, so they won’t bother viewers who don’t want them. YouTube can automatically generate subtitles for free and you can go through line by line and correct them afterwards. Resist adding annotative pop-ups to your videos – instead, place links and your comments in the description.
Promoting your YouTube content
In general, the better your videos, the more views you will get. However, when it comes to increasing your audience, spreading the word is just as important as creating a great video. Unless your video is shared wildly and goes “viral”, which is a rare occurrence, views are still going to be proportional to how well you spread the word.
Playlists will help your audience find videos and make it easier for you to include relevant videos from other people, positioning your channel as a curator and not just a creator of content.
The video you’ve created for YouTube doesn’t have to stay exclusively on YouTube, of course. It can be well worth uploading your video on other channels such as Facebook and Twitter to get more mileage and reach different audiences across multiple platforms.
Video can be a powerful communication tool for small businesses. YouTube offers not only a platform for hosting videos but the potential to attract a valuable audience. With the right strategy in place, you’re sure to see great results with little effort or expense. As you build your customer base and grow your business, be sure that you have the appropriate small business insurance in place, to preserve your success and avoid any issues that could stunt your progress.