MindFire Communications, Inc.
How to level up on YouTube
February 8, 2022 | MindFire Team

YouTube –it’s one of the most popular websites on the internet, second only to Google, and a source of entertainment and education for more than 75 percent of Americans ages 15 and up. Since 2005, it’s grown from a repository for funny cat videos to a landmark platform with endless opportunities for growth.

If YouTube’s massive audience sounds enticing to you, you’re not alone. Thousands of companies use YouTube to inform, entertain and engage their audiences to ultimately grow their brands. Let’s take a deep dive into YouTube to help you light some fires on this mammoth social platform.

YouTube 101 play button graphic

Start with strategy

Understanding your “why” is a smart start to any new endeavor. Before you create your channel, consider the purpose YouTube serves for your business. Will having a presence on YouTube increase awareness for your brand? Will it educate and inform your customers? Will it create opportunities for B2B relationships or recruit new talent?

Determine your top reasons for starting a YouTube channel, set clear, measurable goals and identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure success.

Understand your audience

Beyond just knowing who your audience is, you should also know what kind of content they’re looking for. What videos are they already watching on YouTube? What do they care about? Aim to identify what matters most to your key stakeholders and find creative ways to tie that back to your industry and brand.

One great way to gain this insight is to conduct competitive analysis research to be aware of the content your competitors are making and what’s working. Which videos are getting the most views and comments? Take note of the topics, video length and editing style. Then, consider how you might adapt the best aspects of those videos to your brand. As you’re finding your footing, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Create your content

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when it’s time to plan and create content for your YouTube channel. The great news is that there are endless possibilities for what you can make! Some common video content categories include product overviews/unboxing videos, expert interviews, customer reviews, testimonials and live events.

Another useful video: the tutorial. If your product requires extra knowledge to operate, there’s a good chance that customers are already searching for step-by-step instructions. Plus, other customers may already be making tutorial videos for them to find. Why not step in as the official source of information on how to use your product? Here’s a bonus – you can send tutorial videos in response to customer service questions. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth many more.

Optimize your videos

Once you have your video created, it may be tempting to upload it with a quick title and forget about it.

Don’t extinguish the fire! With just a bit more work, you can optimize your video for YouTube’s search algorithm and “Recommended” features. This ultimately increases your chances of getting views, growing engagement and gaining subscribers. Here are some methods we recommend:

  1. Use keywords. Search the main topic of your video on YouTube to see what people are already searching for. Using this data, determine a main keyword and one or two additional keywords. Use these keywords in your video title and description.
  2. Use timestamps. YouTube timestamps allow your viewers to easily find and skip to the sections of your video that interest them most. This increases the chance that they’ll stick around for more of your video.
  3. Beef up the video description. Treat the video description box as more real estate to promote your website, social media channels, product links and anything else you think will be useful to the viewer. Don’t forget to add your keywords as hashtags here, too.
  4. Make an eye-catching, custom thumbnail. The faster you can catch someone’s attention on the internet, the better. It’s smart to use an engaging thumbnail that isn’t just a screenshot from your video. Here’s a free guide to making thumbnails that pop.
  5. Come back regularly to reply to comments. Social platforms have the word “social” in them for a reason. Keep an eye on your video and be “social” with the folks who are engaging with your content. The more engaged you are, the more engagement you’ll receive.

Measure performance

Finally, let’s talk about the brains of the operation: using the data.

YouTube Analytics’ platform gives you detailed insights into your channel’s performance. Here are some of the main metrics to look for:

  1. Traffic sources. Traffic source types tell you where your video views are coming from. If you’re sharing your video on other social media channels or embedding it on your website, you’ll see which platforms are getting you the most views. Other sources are your YouTube channel directly, YouTube search and YouTube suggested videos.
  2. Watch time. You can get an overview of your channel’s total watch time as well as average watch time by video. This is useful to see which videos are actually being watched instead of clicked on and soon clicked away from. Videos with more watch time are more likely to rank higher in search results.
  3. Demographics. The demographics report shows you your audience’s age, gender and geography.
  4. Engagement. Use engagement reports to see what users are clicking, commenting and sharing.

Feeling inspired? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you’re interested in lighting a fuse for your YouTube channel.

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