By Josh Ledgard
What has 1 billion users and doubles as the second largest search engine on the Internet?
If you answered YouTube, you’re absolutely right. YouTube is an incredible tool for most businesses, and yet most businesses aren’t using it.
You probably think that YouTube is a crowded market, but contrary to popular belief, less than 10% of U.S. companies actually use YouTube for business. Compare that with the 41% of businesses that regularly use Facebook and YouTube looks a lot less crowded now, doesn’t it?
In this post, I want to share with you why YouTube is such an important platform for your brand. But, beyond listing the reasons why YouTube rocks, I also want to help you optimize your experience on this social platform. You’ll learn strategies for gaining exposure for your brand and services, warming leads, and converting those leads into customers. Let’s get started.
While I could probably dedicate an entire post on why YouTube is great for brands, I’ll highlight two of the most compelling reasons:
Get discovered! This is your big chance.
Not only is YouTube the second largest search engine, it’s parent company Google is the first. Do you know what that means? SEO, baby!
That’s right. Google gives search engine priority to YouTube videos.
Ever searched for a “how to” on Google? Chances are, the results came back with a video.
The video may have even been the first result on the page even though some of these videos date back several years, to 2011 and before!
Imagine ranking that high on Google without having to do any hocus pocus with your SEO. You can… with the help of YouTube.
Even without relying on Google, your chance of getting discovered on YouTube alone is very high. By using the right keywords for your videos (actual phrases that your customers will use to locate your content), you can increase the odds of discovery.
Getting their attention is only one part of the equation. You can also use YouTube to keep their attention. Ultimately, you can turn your audience from leads into customers by building trust.
What makes YouTube so special is that it’s actually easy to build trust when you’re showing your face. People like to connect with other people.*
But you need to do more than just smile on camera. You need to also provide something valuable to your audience so that they remain interested in what you have to say.
That value could be a how to, a product demo, or a freebie found on your site.
*But what if you don’t want to be in front of the camera?
If you’re not comfortable on camera, remember that videos don’t have to feature your face. You can create slideshows, too. While these videos will miss a little bit of the human element, it can still be effective as a marketing tool for your business.
Let’s talk about how to maximize your time on YouTube.
You don’t need a whole lotta capital to get started on YouTube. In fact, you don’t need a fancy studio at all. Your “studio” can be a white sheet tacked up on a wall in your living room. And your camera can be your smartphone.
If you do have a budget for your YouTube set up, consider grabbing a studio starter kit like this one:
How often should you put out videos on YouTube?
More is more on YouTube. Don’t feel like you only need to put out a video once a month to be taken seriously. On YouTube, it’s a numbers game, and the higher the number, the greater your chance of visibility.
Ideally, you’ll want to have at least four videos a month. And you’ll want to upload your videos once a week at the same time to keep your subscribers happy and engaged. Feeding a steady stream of videos is a lot better than dumping all the videos at one time and then completely abandoning YouTube for the next few months.
The good news is that you can record several videos at the same time, but release them once a month.
Not sure what to record on YouTube?
There are a lot of great options for business. You can produce:
In addition to posing on a predictable schedule, you should also have a rhyme and reason behind your videos. They should coincide with your marketing efforts because, ultimately, YouTube is all about marketing your business.
Are you releasing a product in the next few months? Create a series of videos that build excitement for your product launch, or highlight the features and benefits of your product.
Always have a reason for your video that’s more than just making a YouTube video.
Thumbnails are important on YouTube. A thumbnails is a snapshot that shows what your video is about. It has the power to compel or repel your potential audience. Choose wisely.
The good news is you can create your own thumbnails for your videos. It doesn’t have to be a screenshot of your video. It can be a created image that you make with the help of a free design tool like Canva.
I recommend adding a text overlay that paraphrases the title but emphasizes the benefit of watching. For example, if your video title is “how to groom your dog”, your text overlay for the thumbnail may be “dog grooming 101” or “dog grooming do’s and don’ts.”
Skip the theme song. Time and attention spans are short, especially on YouTube. Instead, get to the point very quickly. Explain within the first 10 seconds of your video what you’ll be discussing and who and how it will help. Lead with your benefits. This way, your audience can self-filter.
How will your target audience find your content?
Choose a title for your video that reflects what someone would actually type into the YouTube search box. You’ll get more exposure by pouncing on organic, natural language keywords.
Getting someone to click your video is one thing. Getting them to stay engaged is another. My number one advice is to keep your videos as short as possible and packed full of information.
Don’t chase after viral “funny” videos. Sure, one of your videos may go viral, but that’s not something you can strategize or prepare for.
Instead, focus on creating content that’s consistently valuable to your target audience. Every video should be offer something that makes the user feel glad that they’ve spent however long watching. Your video should also make good on the promise you offered in your title.
Always, always, always, without exception, end your video with a call to action. You can choose from a variety of actions, depending on your objective.
Whatever your call to action, make sure that you leave your viewers with the next step to take. You don’t want them to simply enjoy your video and then go on about their lives. They should always take another step forward in their journey with your brand.
Inevitably, you’ll ask yourself, should I monetize my YouTube videos? In other words, should you place ads on your videos so that you can make money from views?
I’d recommend that you do not. Ads can “cheapen” your video by making it apparent that you’re willing to sell your audience’s attention.
Instead, use the videos as a means to getting your leads off of YouTube and onto your website, where you can better control the conversation. Lure them in with a killer lead magnet. I recommend creating a specific landing page for your lead magnet. On this page, you can also welcome your YouTube audience with minimal distractions. Here’s advice on how to optimize your landing pages for conversions.
Check out these additional resources that will help you get ready for your closeup: