This article has been contributed by Jake Pool.
Businesses that want to thrive in 2021 must use all the tools in their toolbox to maximize marketing success. It isn’t enough to only post a sale or two on Facebook and hope for the best.
They must connect with their customer base in personal and helpful ways so customers know they can come to the business to solve their problem. This is one of the primary reasons video marketing has become the fastest growing marketing style used by businesses today.
A business’s homepage and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great places to post different types of informative video content like webinars, how-to videos, explainer videos, and infomercials. However, YouTube is king of the social media video space.
It’s the second most visited site in the world behind Google, has over 2 billion active monthly users, 30 million daily active users, and with over 40,000 search queries per second, is the second largest search engine on the web. See the live search count for yourself.
If you’re seeking ways to engage your customers quickly and effectively in 2021, then here are 10 tips for using YouTube to meet your goals.
1. Educate Your Customers
We know YouTube is a social media platform where companies and individuals post a wide range of content meant to entertain. But content that grows a business should be more than entertaining.
Businesses have experience and expertise in their fields that could benefit their customers. Creatively presenting that expertise helps businesses communicate directly with their customer base on another level.
UpFlip’s “How To Start a Business” series is a good example. Their YouTube channel features a series of videos that provide information to potential customers on how to start various businesses, promoting awareness of their brand through education.
Other top brands educate their customers in creative ways by showcasing products and explaining functionality or insightful ways to use their product. A business could also create demonstration or testimonial videos to showcase their branding.
2. Consistently Post More Content
It seems obvious, but when it comes to posting regular content, there is a procrastination (or intimidation?) factor for many businesses. Sure, teams have a lot of revenue-generating tasks on their plate. However, YouTube should be a key task!
Dedicate time to releasing at least one video per week. It doesn’t require an ad agency or a large budget to accomplish this goal.
Businesses can create high-quality videos using any smartphone available on the current market. Then, use a video editing platform – some of which are free – to create professional titles, text, and transitions.
Build a dedicated audience with consistency and let them know what to expect on the next video (think “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel”).
Quality and reliability are Branding 101. Create a trustworthy brand on YouTube the same way you would through other branding tasks. With consistency, a business can create advocates and loyal followers who will share videos on other social media platforms.
3. Use Calls-to-Action to Grow Your Business
YouTube is full of call-to-action (CTA) methods that businesses can use to stimulate growth.
The most transparent is explicitly stating these CTAs to customers in the content. When scripting your video, ask yourself: What do I want my customers to do? Then state or ask for it directly!
Do you want them to subscribe to your channel? Include a line that says, “Please like, share, and subscribe to our channel!”
Do you want viewers to visit your site to see a product line? Include an audio call-to-action with details and include a link within the video and in the description section.
You can also add calls-to-action via button links in your videos. Place a subscribe button at the beginning and end of your video and display video suggestions to other content on your channel. Then, add buttons to all social media channels within the video.
4. Use a Single Keyword/Topic as a Growth Mechanism
SEO is another hiccup for many businesses, especially on YouTube. Many channels have no keyword focus in their video titles, and their descriptions and tags seem like random collections of buzzwords.
To generate traffic and grow your business, build your video’s SEO around a single keyword phrase or topic you want to promote. Then, put the keyword into every text element of your video.
Here’s an example:
- Keyword Phrase: How to Start a Business
- Video Title: How to Start a Business: Step-by-Step from Idea to Launch
- Video Description (first line excerpt): Are you an aspiring entrepreneur — but not sure of how to start a business?
- Tags: how to start a business, how to start a small business, starting a business
If you’re having trouble finding the right keywords, use a keyword generator that focuses specifically on YouTube, like Ahrefs. It will help you find the top searched keywords based on your target subject.
Most importantly, pick the keyword phrase before you start production of your content. Naturally integrating the keyword into your video allows YouTube’s voice recognition technology to pick up on the phrase and put it into its closed captioning system.
5. Master the YouTube Thumbnail for More Clicks
Think of a thumbnail like the cover of a book. If the image or illustration and font are eye catching, then customers are more likely to pick it up and purchase.
Thumbnails have an even bigger impact because YouTube strategically places them on the right sidebar when viewers are watching other videos. They’re also placed prominently next to titles and descriptions on search result pages.
You want your thumbnail to stand out like a sore thumb!
To create a noticeable thumbnail that will generate a high click-through-rate (CTR), use these tips:
- Put a close-up of someone’s head in the thumbnail photo. It naturally draws viewers’ eyes when another set of eyes are looking at them. Then, they’re more likely to click.
- Use big and bold fonts. Thumbnails are small, so put large, readable text next to an emotive close-up, and you have a recipe for attention and readability.
- Contrast colors on the thumbnail. If you have a dark background, use light colors on the text so it stands out in contrast to the background and is more noticeable.
Canva has a great tool to help create eye-catching thumbnails that generate clicks.
6. Engage with Your Audience via Comments
Posting a video and then letting it sit on a channel untouched, is a wasted opportunity. YouTube is rooted in social media and allows businesses to interact with their customers. It’s an opportunity to make a sale, answer a question, or give over-the-top customer service.
We spoke earlier about calls-to-action in your videos with sales, liking, and subscribing. But it’s also important to ask your viewers to comment on your videos.
The YouTube algorithm promotes channels on aspects like click-through-rates and watch time, which is why it is important to create engaging content. But it also ranks videos based on likes, dislikes, shares, and comments.
If you just read your comments and respond with one line, then you’re missing the point! The algorithm also knows if you’re just giving lip service or if you’re engaging customers. So, respond like a human and say more than, “Thanks for commenting!”
A great technique to generate more buzz is to pin a question at the top of the comments feed and ask customers to respond.
7. Build Your Brand with the Channel Layout
Kudos if you have amazing content, but is your channel layout on par with your content? If you want to grow your business and brand through YouTube, then you must have a layout that’s professional, engaging, and matches your brand.
Branding a channel helps potential customers identify content. Your channel art should match the look and feel of the branding displayed on your website and/or blog. It never hurts to add links to the company site and social media pages in the banner. Also, add customized playlists and place a featured introduction video (channel trailer) in the channel.
Neil Patel is a big supporter of using channel layout for branding. Notice how he connects his brand to his layout on his YouTube Channel. The channel displays a banner (channel art) that states his company identity, shows his face, and what days he publishes new videos.
Also, his logo, identity messaging, and branding all match the content you find on his website.
8. Recycle Old Content to Create New Content
Established businesses should throw out the idea that they can’t come up with content ideas. Not every video idea needs to be fresh and made-from-scratch. Some of the best videos on YouTube came from repurposed content.
That doesn’t necessarily mean building from old videos (though it can!). It means you can use things like old webinars, podcasts, blogs, case studies, and even PowerPoint presentations and convert them into content.
For example, if your company hosts a webinar with thousands of attendees, create some supporting content and repurpose the webinar into a video tutorial that’s both valuable and engaging to your customer base.
Do you have an old blog that serves as a step-by-step guide to one of your best-selling products? Convert the content of that blog into a script for your new video, or screen record the blog with a voiceover presentation for a quick solution.
9. Internal and External Promotion
The beauty of social media is the element of cross-promotion between platforms. And one of the easiest ways to grow your business is through promotion of your new content on channels like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
However, that promotion should expand beyond a simple link or post on a page. Use your other channels to tease upcoming videos and draw them to your YouTube channel.
Partnerships with influencers is another way you can use the social media aspect of YouTube to grow your business. It’s a great way to get outside help with generating content. Just be sure to vet the influencer you intend to partner with.
Businesses can also promote their products through YouTube Ads. They offer six types of ads to choose from that offer varying amounts of interaction with viewers. Hire a freelancer if no one on the team is familiar with YouTube Ads to maximize their efficacy.
10. Put a Face to Your Brand
This last tip is a solution that works for brands in different ways, but the point is, it works!
The goal of many small businesses is to create a personalized touch for their customers, and YouTube can help create that personalization through putting a face to a brand. Use your content to address your audience and connect with your base.
Tell them about your goals, upcoming projects, or community outreach. This lets them see your business as more than just a business.
It doesn’t have to be on every video but attempt to reach out to your audience on a personal level every couple of videos. Even a still-photo with audio in the background will do the trick!
Granted, many companies have camera-shy owners, or their brand and YouTube channel doesn’t fit a talk-to-the-camera method. That’s okay! Use the customer testimonial videos we discussed in our first tip.
Businesses benefit by adding faces to their brand (even breakfast cereals have cartoon characters!), so use YouTube to create yours.
Video marketing is growing at an unprecedented rate and gaining recognition as a scientific method of engaging an audience. It has the power to educate, bring closeness, show personality, and drive conversation.
YouTube mixes those video elements with the strength of social media, and it’s a forum where businesses can be more personal and helpful.
If you’re not using YouTube to engage your customer base, you’re missing out on the business opportunity of a lifetime. Organize your team, create a plan, apply our tips, and reap the benefits of using YouTube to grow your business.
About the author: Jake Pool is a former restaurant manager in Dallas, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles. He has over a decade of experience kickstarting, operating, and marketing small businesses. His prowess for understanding a company’s needs from a customer’s perspective allowed him to transition into content creation. He’s written copy and content for hundreds of clients from companies all over the world and currently contributes to UpFlip.com.