Making a YouTube Channel for your Small Business
In order for small businesses to stand out in today’s market, it’s important for them to make use of every tool and platform they can access. We’re very fortunate to be living in a time where there are so many resources to choose from, like social media platforms and email management programs, which many small businesses are making excellent use of.
However, if entrepreneurs really want to take advantage of the resources at their disposal, they should seriously consider making a YouTube channel for their business.
Believe it or not, YouTube is more than just a place to watch adorable cat videos, it’s also an incredibly useful marketing tool. Indeed, YouTube is the second largest search engine (right behind Google, which owns YouTube) as well as the third most visited site on the internet. An average of 30 million people visit YouTube every day, many of them searching for videos to educate or entertain themselves, such as commentary on the latest movie trailers or tutorials on all sorts of subjects. If your small business can create videos that catch people’s attention and impart some useful information, you’ll be able to dramatically boost your brand awareness and direct considerable traffic to your own website, all at the same time. Speaking of your website, hosting video files on your own site can consume large amounts of bandwidth and put unnecessary strain on your server, whereas embedding videos hosted on YouTube allows you all the benefits without your website having to do the hard work.
In addition to the technical aspects, having a face or voice to associate with your company helps humanize your brand in the eyes of the consumer, thereby making your business more relatable and approachable than competitors who don’t follow the same strategy. Telling your brand’s story, showing how far your business has come and what plans your company has for the future, is also an excellent way to endear yourself to your demographic. Encouraging them to take part in your journey, giving them a role to play that they can feel proud of, is key to building a loyal customer base, and YouTube can help you do it.
Right then, now that we know how having a YouTube channel can work for your small business, let’s go over how to make the most of it.
You’ll want to start by creating a brand account instead of using a personal account, this way you can assign admin roles to any employees you may want to manage the channel. Once the account is set up, you’ll need to add graphics like a channel banner and icon. Make sure the banner reflects your brand well, perhaps consider making variations that you can change throughout the year to capitalize on holidays or company events. As for the icon, your logo is usually a good choice, but be sure that the design is clearly readable at small sizes. What’s more, the icon needs to fit in both a square and circle shape, as icons are cropped differently when viewed on desktops and mobile browsers. In addition to graphics, you should also add links to your website and social media on the channel homepage. If you happen to have multiple youtube channels for your business, or perhaps run several businesses each with their own youtube channel, then you should add them to your featured channels section.
Once you’ve added all that decoration and information, you’ll want to verify your channel. By verifying your channel, you’ll be able to upload videos longer than 15 minutes and add your own custom thumbnails, two features that go a long way toward optimizing your content. However, keep in mind that verifying your channel is different than Youtube giving your channel a verification badge. It’s confusing, I know, but verifying your channel is strictly for proving you’re not a bot so you can access more options, whereas gaining a verification badge is an award YouTube bestows to channels when they amass 100,000 subscribers.
While that kind of following may seem like a tall order for those just starting out, there’s a far more reasonable goal that comes with a far more attractive benefit. If your channel gains 1000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the last 12 months, your account can apply to the YouTube Partner Program. Doing so not only opens up more advanced options for your channel, but it also allows you to monetize your videos by running ads on them. The length of the videos you post, the content of your videos, and the demographics who watch your videos all play a role in determining what ads are placed on your videos and how much you earn from them, but the additional revenue stream can be quite profitable. In addition to running ads, you can also look into getting your channel sponsored by other companies who will pay for you to feature their products or talk about their services in your videos.
Of course, in order to reach those metrics required for the Partner Program, you’ll first need to optimize your content.
As any good entrepreneur should know, you must understand your target demographic in order to devise ways to appeal to them. By knowing who your business caters to, you can research information on their watching habits, such as what channels they follow and what kind of content those channels put out. Study how these channels structure their video titles and descriptions, look at the keywords they utilize, as well as how they design their thumbnails. After you’ve used this information to develop your own content strategy to attract viewers, you’ll need to hold their attention by sticking to a consistent upload schedule. In addition to uploading regularly, you’ll need to direct traffic to your videos by posting links to them on social media, embedding videos in relevant blog posts, and perhaps even highlighting your latest videos on your website’s homepage.
As for producing the videos themselves, you’ll need to find what method works best for your business and budget.
Most smartphones have relatively capable cameras built in, just as most computers come with basic video editing software. Learning how to make the most of these tools will be ideal for those with small budgets, whereas those with more money or experience are free to invest in high quality equipment or the services of professional videographers.
If your production process allows it, try working on multiple videos ahead of your launch date so you can have buffer of content before you begin. Not only will this give you a cushion as you figure out the odds and ends of running your channel, it will also enable you to end your videos with a preview of the next video, which is a wonderful means of giving viewers a reason to subscribe.
As for the content of your videos, that will depend on the nature of your business. Popular formats include product demos, tutorials, descriptions of services, question and answer sessions, and customer testimonials. Focus on content that resonates well with audience, but be wary of ignoring other formats, as not providing enough variety of content can result in your channel seeming stale in the eyes of your viewers. For those looking to maximize what resources they already have, consider making videos of blogs you have already written and published on your site. Repurposing content like this also allows you to post links to the blogs in the video descriptions, which helps direct traffic to your website.
As you begin accumulating videos, you’ll want to organize them properly. Making playlists will enable you to arrange videos based on series of similar content, which will improve your viewers’ experience and help you see which types of content perform better than others. On the subject of your viewers’ experience, you can try looking into adding transcripts and captions to your videos, as these features will make your content more accessible.
Keep in mind, YouTube is a community, which means you can’t just put up content and expect it to succeed all on it’s own. In addition to encouraging viewers to like, comment, and subscribe, you should follow that advice and engage with similar channels, reply to comments on your own videos, and take viewer feedback into consideration. It’s all well and good to come up with hashtags for viewers to use on social media as part of your own marketing campaigns, but they’ll feel used and bored if you spam them with requests for your own success. Try making these campaigns about the viewers, foster a sense of community by hosting contests or giveaways, and try collaborating with other channels in your field.
YouTube is a tried and true tool, but like all tools, it takes a lot of time and practice to master. Pursuing video marketing can be difficult for small businesses, but the potential rewards make it a worthwhile endeavor.
If you keep trying, keep learning, and keep moving forward, then you’ll reach your goals in time.