Social Media Close-Up: YouTube

In a word, videos are powerful. They evoke emotion, engage, and even captivate viewers. While a video can go viral for no other reason besides timing, there’s also a science to video creation, a specific, research-based approach that can be used by organizations looking to expand their audience base.

There are dozens of websites that host videos, including sites like Facebook and Vimeo, but YouTube still reigns as king when it comes to video streaming. With two billion logged-in streamers every month, there’s no question that brands looking to reach new consumers should explore the value of YouTube.

Press “play”

There’s no magic recipe to create the next viral video. If there was, we’d need a lot more time in the day to watch all of that content! Instead, focus on what really matters to your organization. Learn the demographics of the target audience and understand what makes them tick. Research the type of content they tend to consume and why, and find the void. What’s missing? What do they want but don’t yet have?

The key is to start with inspiration. Subscribe to YouTube channels, watch videos on apps like TikTok, and keep an eye on competitor and industry trends. Next, identify what makes the brand special. The most important element to a brand’s success on YouTube is personality and authenticity — qualities that are also critical on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other site where an organization participates. Don’t lose sight of an organization’s identity or try to overthink a video concept. Trial and error is real when it comes to video creation, and that’s okay.

Hit “record”

Technology is getting better and easier to use. Not too many years ago, filming a quality, professional video was prohibitively expensive — fortunately, that’s not the case in today’s digital world. Anyone with a decent camera or even smartphone has the ability to create the next viral video sensation. Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple’s GarageBand, and Animoto are all examples of free and paid tools available to anyone looking to create and edit their first video. That said, professional quality will always trump amateur video footage. It’s worth it to spend the extra time and resources to create a higher quality video — invest in good audio equipment, consider the lighting, add professional music using sites like Epidemic Sound, try a green screen, play with graphics and animations, and use a stabilizer or tripod. People will notice the difference.

Another key aspect to creating a great video is length. By default, any video less than 15 minutes in length can be added to YouTube. The site allows for longer playing times than the majority of social media sites; once an account is verified, the video playtime increases to a maximum of 12 hours in length. But keep in mind, longer videos aren’t necessarily better. There’s no tried-and-true length that works for all videos, but less than 10 minutes has always been recommended if the goal is broad viewer retention. Keeping it shorter than four minutes is recommended for brands not creating long-form videos.

After several videos have been added to one account, streamers have the ability to create channels and playlists to encourage their viewers to engage with their videos on a more consistent basis. Viewers can also subscribe to channels or add comments to videos, all of which are ways to increase engagement and interaction with the target audience.

Additionally, YouTube videos share similar traits to blog posts when it comes to SEO. Creators are able to add searchable keywords to the titles, summaries, and tags of the videos in an effort to extend reach through search on YouTube and Google (YouTube’s parent company). Take a look at the various phrases or keywords that YouTube and Google automatically suggest with any given search and add those keywords to the video summary if applicable. As YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine, titling and tagging your video smartly can do wonders for your brand or product’s exposure.

Join the club

YouTube was built around creativity — the idea that anyone, anywhere could create and share videos about any topic. Brands like Dollar Shave Club have proven that to be the case. YouTube has fully embraced that concept and built a hub called YouTube Creators. Whether you have one subscriber or 100,000, you can join Creators and receive access to free courses in the Academy section, help and support, and the opportunity to join additional communities like YouTube Space or NextUp. These niche communities are avenues for creators and artists to meet other creatives and find inspiration through collaboration and participation. Some of these communities even host in-person events and workshops to get the creativity flowing even further.

Any brand looking to dive into the world of video creation shouldn’t skip enrolling in YouTube Creators. Free access to a world of knowledge collected and curated by the folks who make YouTube successful can’t be overlooked!

Just like the other social media platforms out there, YouTube has its place in any brand’s digital strategy. It offers a unique opportunity to meet consumers where they already are and show a side of an organization that might otherwise go untapped. With billions of users already on the platform and an ever-growing interest in video content, YouTube is a valuable asset to any organization looking to push their content marketing strategy to the next level.

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