21 Feb Should You Start a YouTube Channel for Your Business?
At 15 years old, YouTube can hardly be considered the next new thing. The video sharing platform – purchased by Google in 2006 – attracts over 2 billion logged-in users each month. Every day, people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views. So to cut to the chase in our title question: you probably should start a YouTube channel for your business! Whether your enterprise is business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), whether you sell products or services, a YouTube channel can help you reach your marketing goals – as long as you do it right!
Identify your goals
As we covered in our blog post – “Measuring the ROI of Video Marketing – How to Capture the Unicorn” – establish your goals first to determine what business objective the video content will address. And speaking of ROI, our same blog post included the intriguing statistic that 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
Video marketing goals typically fall into one of the following categories:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Increasing sales
- Customer service
- Education (product demonstration videos, for example)
Determine what specific action you want the viewer to take after watching the video. Keep in mind that a video is one piece of your larger conversion funnel, which should also consist of social media, blogging, email marketing, etc. According to Womply, once you identify the specific goals that you want to accomplish with your YouTube channel, make sure each video you post is aligned with those goals in mind. If they don’t tie back to your overall marketing goals, your videos are unlikely to be effective.
Making it look professional
While creating good-quality video is easier than ever – especially with the latest model high-end smartphones – numerous elements go into creating a video that your target audience will consider worth watching. You’ve probably already read blog posts that stress the need to create good content. While that’s definitely important, people are not going to watch a poorly composed/directed/focused video with bad lighting and sound. Viewers expect a baseline of technical quality, as well as good storytelling. The complexity of your video will be a factor. A video of your company president speaking about a new product launch or providing thought leadership on an industry trend will – of course – be easier to shoot than a trade show where the environment is not under your control.
As we covered in our blog post – “Website Explainer Videos: What Not To Do” – if necessary, invest in professional animation, voice-over talent, editing and sound mixing. If your video will be live action, schedule a session with an acting or broadcasting coach to polish your on-camera delivery technique (as well as that of other staff members who may be included). Hiring such professionals should not be expensive, and will provide long-term benefits in helping attract more viewers and subscribers to your channel.
Also consider investing in video editing software. This will allow you to achieve professional-looking results without having a degree in video production. Oberlo provides a guide to 24 free video editing software programs that can introduce you to options that may work for your company’s needs.
We now return to quality content
Whatever message you want to convey, make it interesting and relevant to your audience. Work from a script – or, at least, talking points. For example, an explainer video requires a clear, concise message with a strong call-to-action. Don’t try to convey your company’s entire history, philosophy, etc. in a single video. Introduce your product/service, describe the need it meets, describe its features/benefits, then conclude with a brief recap and the CTA. If possible, hire a professional scriptwriter.
Set up your video CTAs
While you want your videos to be engaging, you’re not just providing entertainment. You want your audience members to do something after watching. Do you want them to visit your website to learn more about your awesome new product? Be sure to emphasize your CTA. You will actually have two CTAs – one for viewers to take action that will bring them into the conversion process, and one for encouraging them to subscribe to your channel.
It may seem that it’s taking us a while to get to the good part – that is, going on YouTube to create your own channel. Being conscientious, we want you first to be sure that once you take this step, you’ll be able to be successful. For this reason, we cannot emphasize the following point enough: be consistent! Post new videos on your channel on a regular basis. Posting in fits and starts won’t build an audience. Your channel will quickly become abandoned and forgotten. Even if you link social media posts and blog posts to videos, visitors aren’t likely to return.
“Something as simple as a new product demo video every other Monday sets expectations and incentivizes followers to check back on your channel (or better yet, your website) for new content. To build that recurring audience, we’ve seen many manufacturers include CTAs in voiceovers, or even on screen, calling on viewers to visit their channel and subscribe for future videos. Supplementing these kinds of segments with examples of your channel’s best videos (almost a sort of teaser or channel trailer) is a great way to encourage Subscribe clicks.”
So you want to start a YouTube channel
Now that you have a plan for how YouTube fits into your marketing strategy and are sure you have the resources and commitment to produce and post videos on a regular basis, setting up a business account is the next step. Brent Barnhart of Sprout Social provides a detailed step-by-step guide that goes beyond the basics.
Among those beyond-the-basics points Barnhart provides is the importance of YouTube videos in boosting your SEO. Keep in mind that YouTube is the second largest search engine worldwide, just behind Google.
Toward this end, Barnhart recommends optimizing your channel in the following ways:
- Include relevant keywords and phrases in titles and descriptions.
- Write custom captions and transcripts that make your videos easier for YouTube to crawl.
- Create unique thumbnail images that catch the eyes of potential viewers
- Tag your videos to make them show up in relevant search queries.
Additional SEO-boosting advice comes from Dunn. “The businesses that see the greatest results on YouTube are those that create keyword-heavy, topical playlists and segment their back-catalogue of video content; both practices that impact future content … Playlists also help boost your SEO on YouTube, as the platform can more accurately pull information and create rankings with a pool of topical videos than with individual, ‘set-and-forget’ uploads.”
Engaging with the YouTube community can attract viewers and subscribers as well as the video links you provide on your blog and social media posts. Just consider your involvement in the YouTube community the same as your company’s presence on LinkedIn, and keep engagement with other channels on a professional level.
Says Barnhart, “Signaling yourself as an active participant in the community means following other channels, liking other videos and letting your viewers know that you’re involved in your industry.” Barnhart offers the following tips:
- “Like” industry leaders and influencers – but not competitors, of course.
- Avoid liking content that could be perceived as controversial or otherwise unrelated to your business.
Ultimately, your YouTube channel should generate leads and provide new sales opportunities. Keeping focused on your ROI will help you see what works and what may need to be adjusted.
The take-home message
If your business is just looking into the marketing value of video, or is currently exploring it but not quite satisfied with the results, getting the right focus will justify your long-term investment. Our video production services at Virtual Stacks Systems produce a wide variety of marketing videos – and we provide social media marketing services for a comprehensive solution. Contact us to learn more.