Many businesses plan to make Youtube one of their primary social media tools. The problem is, most people don’t want to commit the time to create great stuff. With twitter, you only have to write 140 characters a few times a day. With Youtube, you actually need to create videos that people want to watch. So for the sake of this article, let’s assume that you already are greating good videos. So how do you get those videos found?
A common question people tend to ask with video is: How long should it be? Honestly, it depends. I can show you successful videos from 10 seconds to 30 minutes and beyond. The length really depends on how much you have to communicate. You want the video to be as short as possible, but still capture the story or idea you are trying to communicate. For most of us, this is much shorter than we think. If you think your content might be too long, it almost certainly is. Cut out some of the filler and try to get down to the most important part.
YouTube allows you to add relevant tags to videos. YouTube’s search algorithm uses these tags to help determine which content is relevant and which content is irrelevant. Be sure to include any relevant title tags within your video. Use as many as you can that relate to your topic. These tags are free SEO for your videos.
Since search engines aren’t really smart enough to break down your video and understand what it’s about (although the transcription is getting pretty good), descriptions help your video rank in the results page. YouTube uses these descriptions to help determine what the page is about. Plus a full description helps users relate to you a little more. You have 5000 characters here, so put all the relevant information you can. Also be sure to include a link to your site in the description, this link allows people to go to your site and purchase your product or service.
YouTube does have it’s own transcription service but it….well….isn’t that great. In fact, it is downright comical. But you can help it out. Download the auto-transcription from your video then make any correction necessary, then upload it back to the site. The transcription also allows search engines to better understand the video.
YouTube now allows video annotations. The annotations tool allows you to embed text and links on top of your video. These external links can lead to excellent calls-to-action and can also be used to encourage people to watch your other videos. Annotations are a powerful tool, so be sure to use them in your videos.
Also, don’t add too many annotations. Nobody likes a video with more posts then the bulletin board at the community college. Be sure you don’t put them over any important parts of the video either. For example, if you use a lower-third to introduce a speaker, be sure that annotations don’t cover that text. It just makes your video look sloppy.
Ask for Subscriptions
One of the best ways to help users connect with your brand is to keep them up-to-date with new videos you upload. When users subscribe to your channel, they see the videos you upload in their news feed. Subscribing to a channel is similar to “liking” a page on Facebook. Once a user subscribes to your channel, they not only see new videos you upload, but they also see some of your interactions. Many people don’t think of subscribing when they first watch a video, so be sure to ask for a subscription.
Ask for Shares
If you are really creating value, people will love to share your video. Sometimes you just need to ask them to share it to get started. Just be sure if you’re asking someone to share your video, that it actually is worth sharing. A non-offensive way to ask is, “Hey! If you liked the video, feel free to share it with your friends!” This doesn’t sound desperate, and you give a qualifier at the beginning. If they don’t like your video, they don’t have to share it! It’s as simple as that.
If you’re actually wanting to be part of the YouTube community, be sure to allow comments on your video. Not only should you want people to comment, you want to have a conversation with the people on your channel. If you acknowledge your viewers, act professional and personal, and answer questions, you’ll soon gain a following. YouTube isn’t like a TV. It’s a hybrid platform that combines the best of social and broadcast. To best utilize the platform, take advantage of both.
Become a YouTube Partner
If you’re posting lots of unique, well-produced content, consider becoming a YouTube partner. Follow the link to find out more about the details. This is great if you work with a large brand and are serious about posting regular content.
YouTube can be an awesome opportunity for your business. Video allows you to connect with your audience in a way that most other forms of communication simply can’t. But YouTube requires a greater effort than most social media networks. If you’re serious about it, you can realize big gains. Start small, create great content, and be loyal to your audience. If you do these things, you’ll begin to harness the power of YouTube for your business.
About the Author
Tyler Brooks is a SEO and video production specialist at Proof SEO.