When someone mentions social media as a business tool, most people think of Facebook and Twitter.
Because it’s a video platform, YouTube may not initially seem like a suitable platform for marketing a small business—but now that comments on YouTube are tied to Google+, it’s a more social and influential platform than ever.
Creating and posting video content on YouTube is a great way to boost the visibility and credibility of your small business.
1. Keep the Content Coming
The most popular YouTube channels are those that have high volumes of consistently updated content. If you want to use video as a marketing tool, you need to have—well, video. And lots of it.
There are plenty of ways to produce video content for your small business. Webcasts and webinars can be broken up and posted as a series of videos. You can repurpose infographics into explainer videos, or create short tutorials or product demonstrations. Consider creating a corporate profile or company history video. You can interview the owners, staff, customers, or even yourself.
2. Include Calls to Action
You’ll probably have links in your video’s description, but you should start thinking about how you want viewers to respond before you ever post the video. Make sure your calls to action are included in the video itself. Possible CTAs can include contacting you for more information, subscribing to your YouTube channel, leaving your feedback, sharing your video on their social network channels, or some other desired action.
3. Get Interactive
As people view your videos, they will rate their quality and leave comments. To keep the momentum going, you should monitor and respond to all feedback as quickly as possible. If possible, personalize your responses to each visitor: using a “cookie cutter” automated reply could be even worse than no reply at all.
4. Customize Your Channel
The YouTube page that visitors view when they click on your account name is your channel—and it doesn’t have to look like every other YouTube page. You can customize your channel with colors, images, links, relevant information, and more. This is a great opportunity to reinforce your brand identity by using your logo, color palette, tone, and slogans so that viewers associate the video with your business.
In addition, when you set up a channel on YouTube, your viewers can subscribe and get notified whenever you upload a new video, which helps to encourage repeat visits and loyal viewers.
5. Put Thought into Your Titles
People search YouTube the same way they do on Google—with keywords and phrases that describe what they’re looking for. Titles are weighed heavily in YouTube searches (powered by Google), so don’t give your videos boring, non-descriptive titles.
Few people are going to find or click on a video called “Product Demo.” Instead, incorporate the content of your videos into your titles.
6. Choose the Right Category and Tags
When you upload videos to YouTube, you choose a category for the video and enter tags, or keywords. There are 15 categories to choose from, and you can add dozens of relevant tags.
It’s a good idea to use the tags that YouTube suggests, since they’re based on what people commonly search for. You can also manually add extra tags and variations on your tags—for example, if you sell products for cats, you can use “kitty” and “kitten” as well as “cat.”
7. Write a Great Description
Your video descriptions on YouTube should be short, informative, and multi-purpose. Describe your video in a sentence or two (using your top keywords), and include a link to your small business website or blog for people who want to know more.
8. Consider Collaborations
Collaborative videos are popular on YouTube. Viewers like them because they’re an opportunity to see YouTube favorites working with someone else, and creators like them because of the additional exposure. Look for popular YouTube channels with offering that complement (rather than compete with) your business, and try pitching the idea of a collaboration.
9. Let Your Customers do the Talking
Many small businesses have had great results by posting videos of customer testimonials on YouTube. This is a highly effective way to build trust and credibility with people who may need that extra “nudge” to try your product or service. And video testimonials are proven to have a much bigger impact than written ones.
10. Use Subtitles, Not Annotations
Enabling subtitles on your YouTube video is fairly straightforward—just turn on auto-captioning and edit the output for accuracy. There are hundreds of millions of hearing-impaired YouTube users who appreciate captions, and they are optional (with the default of Off), so they won’t bother viewers who don’t like them.
On the other hand, annotations can and do annoy viewers. Resist adding annotative pop-ups to your videos—instead, place links and your comments in the description.
11. Bulk Up Your Google+ Account
The point of social media is to be social. That means when users comment on your videos, you should interact with them. The YouTube commenting system is now linked to Google+ profiles, so make sure yours is ready for visitors via YouTube with your company profile filled out in detail, including a professional profile pic.
12. Don’t Confine Your Videos to YouTube
Just because you create a YouTube channel, doesn’t mean people will go looking for it. As part of an effective YouTube strategy, make sure you spread the word.
When you post a new video that you want people to see and share, write a blog post about it—or tweet the link, or post it on Facebook. You can also embed videos on your website, especially tutorials, and product demos.