This content was created through a collaboration with the folks over at Zoho Social. To dive into more advanced topics on social media marketing, check out their educational content on The Social Journal.

We all know YouTube—the iconic red play button sits on the home screen of over a billion smartphones across the world. From product reviews, to music videos, to funny cat videos, the odds are you’ve fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole at one time or another.

And that shouldn’t be surprising, as YouTube is actually the second most popular website in the world. But if that number doesn’t boggle your mind, try this: about 5 billion videos are being watched every single day on the platform. And about 500 hours of video content is uploaded every minute! To top it off, YouTube’s exhaustive library of content is available in 80 different languages, covering 95% of the internet population.

Youtube is the leader among video platforms and has been for years now. However, in 2020, their share of the video streaming audience has been chipped away at by other social media competitors. One example is TikTok, which has racked up a large following among younger demographics and boasts over 700 million monthly active users as of August 2020.

Getting noticed on YouTube is incredibly valuable for any business, especially given the steep rise in global popularity of video content. But it won’t be easy. With millions of creators trying to capture people’s interest, you’ll have to come up with fantastic content and understand the platform well before you can come up with a good YouTube marketing plan.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the best methods for accomplishing both of these goals.

The basics

Before we discuss marketing strategies, let’s go over the basics:

Use a brand account

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create a brand account on YouTube. With a brand account, you and your team members can manage everything securely without sharing passwords.

Optimize your channel

Once you’ve created a brand account, the next step is optimizing your profile. Come up with a short but accurate bio that lets your subscribers know who you are, and add an interesting banner image to go along with it.

Make sure to customize the layout of your channel. The default layout lists your activities and videos in chronological order, which can be difficult to navigate. Enabling layout customization allows you to organize your videos into playlists so you can group together similar content. You’ll also be able to create your own channel sections and organize your playlists. Finally, don’t forget to add links to your other social channels!

You should also create a trailer for your channel that acts as a short introduction to what you do and what kind of content you offer. Assume viewers have no clue who you are, and then briefly explain what you do. You’ll be able to feature your trailer in the For new visitors tab of your channel.

Set goals

One last thing you need to do before setting out to market your brand on YouTube is to decide on your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, or improve sales from your videos? Are you looking to gain new leads, or do you just want to provide help videos for existing customers?

Once you’ve set concrete goals, you should also plan to track key performance indicators (KPIs). This could be anything from the number of subscribers, to average views on videos, to clicks on your CTA. Setting goals and KPIs allows you to measure your performance quantitatively, mapping out your successes. On the flip side, they can also let you know when your approach isn’t working as well as you thought.

Plan your content

One of the most important things you can do to ensure success on Youtube is to plan out your content schedule. Uploading consistently keeps you on your subscribers’ radar and goes a long way in increasing your reach organically. It’s a good idea to try and put out at least one video a week, but the schedule really depend on your audience, your goals, and the type of content you’re creating.

If you’re lacking ideas for content, consider breaking up a long video into multiple small ones. Think of a theme and continue to build content around it. This has the additional benefit of keeping your audience hooked and coming back to your channel to finish the series. You can also scour your video comments for ideas—commenters aren’t shy about requesting content they want to see more of.

Another idea is to create and build out playlists for your videos to group similar content together. This makes it easier for your audience to find what they’re looking for.

Learn from your competition

Chances are that your competitors already have an active YouTube channel. This gives you a great opportunity to look at which types of videos work for them, and which don’t. You can then use this information in your own content strategy. You’ll also want to keep an eye on their video descriptions, so you can understand what keywords they’re using, and maybe try to incorporate them into your own videos.

Pro tip: To find relevant competitors in your space, research the popular hashtags and keywords in your industry and look at the brands posting under them.

Tools

If you’re looking for raw materials to help you create your videos, Animoto is a great place to start. They have over one million stock images and videos on file. They even have stock music files available that you can add to your videos to make them more engaging. There are also editing tools that you can play around with to make your videos even better.

Caption your videos

If your audience is made up of users from different countries, you may consider adding subtitles to your videos. According to YouTube, two-thirds of channel views come from outside the creator’s home country, so adding captions to your videos can ensure that you’re reaching as many people as you can.

If you’re not able to add the subtitles on your own, consider using community contributions to help. This lets your followers provide titles, subtitles, descriptions, or captions for your videos, and you can approve them yourself. Since this feature is only available on a per-video basis, you can easily try it out on one of your videos and see if the results are a value-add for your channel.

Leverage Stories, Live videos, and community posts

YouTube Stories: The Stories format is one of the new methods available for engaging with your audience on YouTube. Unlike networks like Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter, where you can find popular 24-hour disappearing content, YouTube Stories stay on your profile for 7 days.

Content creators on YouTube with over 10k subscribers can post Story updates and anyone can comment under them and hold discussions that can be publicly viewed. You can add stickers and location markers, tag people in your Stories, and engage with them in the comments.

YouTube Live: Remember, YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. If doing a live video is part of your marketing plan—whether it’s an interview, behind-the-scenes footage, or an event stream—YouTube is a fantastic place to do it. To go live, just head to Youtube Studio, verify your account, and start broadcasting from your phone or computer. With the rise of smartphones that can shoot high-quality videos, YouTube livestreams are an easy to way connect with your audience in real time.

Community posts: For any channel with over 1,000 subscribers, YouTube permits Community posts in the style of a typical Facebook or Twitter post, where you can share videos, GIFs, images, and text, tag people, start a discussion, run polls, and more.

Explore YouTube ads

If you have the budget for it, you should consider using YouTube ads to help you accomplish your goals. There are six kinds of ads that YouTube allows you to run:

  1. TrueView: These are ads that can be skipped after the first five seconds, and appear either before YouTube videos, on the homepage, in the related videos section, or on search results pages.
  2. Non-skippable: As the name suggests, these ads cannot be skipped by viewers. You’re given a time limit of 15-20 seconds that lets you tell a more detailed story about your brand.
  3. Bumper: Non-skippable ads come with a downside. Users are often put off by these advertisements, and may get frustrated very quickly. Bumper ads are a way around that. They’re technically non-skippable but only last six seconds. So if you’re using bumper ads, you’ll have to be able to tell a great story in a short time. For inspiration, you can take a look at YouTube’s selection of the best 20 bumper ads.
  4. Overlay: Overlay ads can take the form of either text or an image. These are the small banner advertisements that you’ll see superimposed over the bottom of YouTube videos.
  5. Display: Display ads appear right above the suggested videos list while people are watching videos on YouTube.
  6. Cards: Cards are small pop-ups that have CTAs that you can set to appear within a video. These first appear as small information icons at the corner of the video and may have a text overlay when hovered over. When clicked, the icon reveals the full ad that you wanted to display. These ads are nonintrusive, and only appear fully when clicked.

You can set up YouTube ads using a Google Ads account, allowing you to create video campaigns that are tailored towards specific marketing goals:

  • Sales
  • Lead generation
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach

Once you select an ad goal, you can tweak the budgets and select where your ads will show up. Similar to the Facebook Ads Manager, you can also target the content for specific demographics, filtered by language, country, age-rating, sensitivity, interests, and more.

Collaborate with influencers

According to Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations for their purchases. That’s the power of a social media influencer. Partnering with influencers can provide a massive boost to your brand and help steer their subscribers to your channel.

If you decide to use influencers in your campaign, it’s best to give them as much freedom as you can. The more control you try to have over them, the less genuine the campaign feels, and their followers will catch on.

When picking a YouTube influencer to collaborate with, you should:

  1. Utilize the advanced search filters and look through interests, tags, and subscriber count
  2. Compare their subscriber count to views per video. Their subscriber count doesn’t mean much if their followers aren’t actually watching their videos.

Finding the right YouTube influencer, and creating a successful campaign with them, can lead to a significant spike in your reach and engagement. If your content lends itself to this kind of marketing, it may be an excellent way to expand your brand’s audience.

YouTube continues to stand out as an indispensable platform for both creators and brands. Whether you’re looking to build an online audience around your video content, advertise your products on an extremely popular platform, or collaborate with influencers in your industry, Youtube provides a massive global audience for your business to engage with. That being said, as with any other social media platform, YouTube will continue to change and evolve by adding new features and updates, so you need to be adaptable if you want to stay in the spotlight.

As long as you continually embrace new strategies for success and track your progress toward your goals, you’ll be in great shape. While success on YouTube takes time and patience, if you’re able to put in motion the advice in this guide, you’ll find yourself off to a great start. Good luck!

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