YouTube is a hugely powerful marketing medium: 1 billion unique monthly users, 80% non-U.S. traffic, and daily subscriptions 4x higher than they were last year. But how can your brand take advantage?
Brand marketers, don’t be fooled: YouTube’s massive audience and seemingly low barrier to entry does not give you permission to simply repurpose TV ads—in the case of YouTube marketing, repurposing is depurposing. Instead, mimic three best practices from successful YouTube creators: content, consistency, and community.
Users turn to YouTube to explore their passions. So top brands on YouTube create useful, unique, and relevant video while keeping the brand message tangentially in the background.
GoPro embodies this concept in spades. Their unique mix of instructionalproduct videos, celebrity influence, and majestic cinematography creates an intimate and personal experience for the viewer. Not surprisingly, GoPro’s has a phenomenal subscriber conversion rate: every 250 video views, GoPro adds one subscriber.
Next up: PBS Idea Channel. How can the brand behind Downton Abbey also wonder whether LOLCats is art? Only on YouTube could this kind of juxtaposition work. Rather than simply regurgitate PBS’s highbrow TV content, Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta explores deceptively simple topics at the intersection of media, pop culture, and technology. Best of all: the YouTube community gets involved in every Idea Channel video, fostering a connection between content and audience.
Top brands on YouTube publish an average of 31 videos per month on a recurring, predictable schedule. But uploading even once per week can build an audience too! Just create a calendar that viewers can rely on. And get the details right:
- Video titles: Your brand and product should be in every title. If you’re publishing a 10-part series, let the viewer know that. For example, [EPISODE NAME] | PART 2 of 10 | [BRAND].
- Thumbnails: Your video thumbnail is key because viewers will see it all over YouTube. Unify your YouTube branding with a consistent, clean, custom thumbnail that showcases your logo. Thumbnails can also organize your videos to help viewers distinguish between formats (series), content (instructional), and products.
- Publishing: Releasing content consistently will help you continually interact with your audience, shorten the feedback loop, and quickly identify what resonates with viewers.
Much like Facebook and Twitter, YouTube is an engagement platform that rewards character and personalization. This holds especially true for subscribers, who watch twice as much video as non-subscribers. YouTube’s “Top Fans Tool” is your first stop for brands looking to build genuine relationships with frequent commenters.
GoPro again employs this YouTube-creator tactic by responding to viewers who enjoy their video. GoPro uses this opportunity to provide a link to their YouTube channel page where users can discover more content and subscribe. Other community-building tactics include:
- Channel discussion: A dedicated tab on the channel page, this is where you can tell viewers about upcoming videos, products, or collaborations with other channels.
- Subscriptions: Subscribe your brand’s channel to other channels (both native YouTube creators and other brands). Like most activity on YouTube, this action will appear in your subscribers’ “feed” and lend credibility to your brand’s YouTube presence.
- Likes and favorites: Your brand should have a point of view on YouTube that reflects your brand values. What area of your customers’ lives does your brand occupy? After answering this question, find relevant content on YouTube and like or favorite videos that your brand would “like.”
- Playlists: Building playlists of videos centered around tentpole events plugs your brand into the YouTube community. Your playlists can appear as shelves on your channel page, supplementing your content offering and signaling to users that your brand is in touch with their passions.
YouTube creators understand the importance of being succinct with their brand: they grab viewers immediately in hopes of retaining them. Sound like your marketing goal? Then consider implementing the above practices and start enjoying success on YouTube.