With over a billion users visiting the site every single day, there is no question that YouTube presents a huge opportunity to anyone who wants to promote anything online. If you are a business owner or a marketer, therefore, you shouldn’t miss the chance to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this video hosting site. Think about it: Millions subscribe to YouTube channels regularly. More than 6 billion hours of video are watched on the site each month. In the United States alone, the site reaches more adult viewers than cable TV. How can you not consider this a useful site for online marketing?
Anyone who isn’t using YouTube as part of their online marketing campaign is definitely making a huge mistake. The site isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it is continually growing! People love watching videos, and most of them love to do so on YouTube. Taking advantage of this trend is indeed one of the smartest things you can do as a marketer.
What to Do
There are basically two things you need to do in order to take full advantage of the opportunities YouTube has to offer. First, you need to create high-quality videos. If you’ve been in the marketing industry for some time, then you probably know enough about how to create quality videos. If you’re just starting out, then you’ll be glad to know there’s a boatload of information on the Internet that can help you ensure that your videos are all of top quality.
In this article, though, we will be talking more about the second thing you need to do, which is to build a YouTube audience. After all, no amount of quality videos will do you any good if you don’t have a solid audience base. And with YouTube, you’ll really have to work on building an audience, considering the number of videos being uploaded to the site each day. Where there is a lot of content, you can expect to have plenty of competition as well. Fortunately, there are a few proven techniques that will help you work hard and work smart at building a YouTube audience.
Taking Advantage of Google+
One of the best tools for building a solid YouTube audience is Google+. Here are a few tips on how you can get the most views for your YouTube videos with the help of this social network:
- Post Your YouTube videos on Google+
Not many people use Google+, but as a business owner or online marketer, it can be a mistake for you to take this social network for granted. After all, it is Google’s site. And though you may not be able to build a wide network on Google+ as compared to sites like Facebook and Twitter, the fact that Google uses the site to gather social signals for video should be significant to your YouTube campaign.
Note that there are cases where YouTube videos posted on Google+ accounts get more traffic than the videos uploaded to YouTube. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that there is usually more text in a Google+ post than in a YouTube video description. When you post your YouTube videos to your Google+ account, therefore, it pays to write a high-quality mini-blog post about it. And remember to give it a really good title. Posting a video on Google+ also increases the chance of that video landing on top of Google search results.
- Drive YouTube Traffic with Google+ Comments
You can post comments both on the YouTube video itself and on the Google+ post about that video. And when you click the Share button on the video that allows you to post it to Google+, everyone in your Google+ circles will get to see the post even if they never visit your YouTube channel. It is therefore a good idea to share all of your YouTube videos on Google+ and to respond to comments posted to both sites. This improves visibility for each video you upload.
- Build Engagement by Using YouTube’s “Top Fan” Feature
Once you’ve set up a Google+ account, start adding your friends, colleagues, and other contacts. Group them into separate circles. It is safe to assume that these people will follow you back simply because they know you. It may even be safe to assume that they’ll watch at least one of the videos you post. If they comment on your posts, then there’s also a good chance of people in their circles seeing your videos. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew who among your friends and their friends watch the most number of your videos?
The good thing is that YouTube allows you to do just that, provided that your channel receives more than a thousand subscribers. YouTube’s Top Fans feature is rarely used by online marketers, but it can actually be very helpful. It allows you to identify your most influential and most engaged viewers. You have the option of sorting the Top Fans table according to the viewers’ engagement level or how long they’ve been subscribers.
Top Fans also allows you to group the identified top fans into separate circles, which is very helpful for targeting messages to particular groups. You can also post targeted shout-outs to your top fans, your most recent subscribers, or any other group. You have the option of creating circles for leads, for existing customers, for business partners, and more. You may then target your comments to specific circles.
Taking Advantage of Human Media
Social media is currently lauded as the most effective tool for engaging your target market online. What you may not be aware of is that there is a layer of social media that is a lot more effective for building a YouTube audience than the usual social media engagement strategies. This layer allows you to communicate with your audience face-to-face. When your audience sees your gestures and facial expressions as you talk, the experience they get will definitely be a lot better than when they’re just engaged in text-based interactions with you.
The social media layer we are talking about is known as human media. It allows you to build a closer relationship with your audience with the use of real-time video chat technology. Where Google+ is concerned, the best way to take advantage of human media is via Google+ Hangouts. This Google+ feature enables you to provide each of your circles with as many pieces of unique instructional content; and you can do that face-to-face! This can be the best way for you to grab your target market’s attention.
Hangouts also allow you to give your audience a peek at what you do and how you do it. When people are allowed to look into the processes used by brands and businesses they follow, they tend to feel more connected with that brand/business. As a result, they tend to trust that brand/business more. The more people trust you, the better your reputation will be in the industry. Google+ Hangouts therefore helps improve your status as an industry authority.
When you organize Hangouts, you can increase engagement and make the session more interesting by inviting specialists and/or guest speakers. You should also make sure each session is highly informational so as to build anticipation for the next session and maybe even encourage the attendees to invite other people to the next Hangout. Virtual classrooms have limited attendance (the host plus nine attendees). However, you can invite more people to your Hangouts by using Hangouts on Air. You can integrate Hangouts on Air with YouTube and mass-broadcast it live.
You can get even closer to your audience by hosting an open Hangout. This means leaving the door to your virtual office open. Let’s say, for example, you hold an open Hangout every Friday at 5pm. Regardless of where they are in the world, people can join your Hangout and ask you about anything related to your business, your niche, and your industry. You could even welcome questions about your personal experience in the field. This allows your audience to verify your expertise and helps you earn not only their trust, but also their loyalty.
Here’s even more good news about Google+ Hangouts: It allows you to build a global phonebook that is categorized according to user interests and by establishing Communities. Google+ Communities allows you to find people from all over the world who may be interested in what you have to offer. And any member of each Community can start a Hangout session, thereby reducing the gap between you and your audience.
It may be a bit difficult to get started on a video-based marketing strategy, but the increased audience interaction, improved authority, and opportunities for networking are surely well worth the effort. And once you get the hang of the basics, you’re sure to find that building a solid audience base on YouTube isn’t really that difficult, after all. Create video content that address what your target audience wants and needs. And then make it easy for your target audience to find you. Good luck!