By now you know that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, playing second fiddle only to Google. What you may not realize, though, is that YouTube is a massive social media community as well.
We find it’s often neglected as a social platform. This is a shame. Because a kickass YouTube Channel can increase your social reach while also providing all the SEO benefits that come along with these best practices. We’ll outline some of those here …
Fill in ALL the Blanks
There are some basic fields that are oft-forgotten, but still help with reach. It seems obvious, but the “About” tab is frequently ignored. This limits reach and diminishes the chances that your channel might be discovered.
Fill this out with a summary of your organization. Use some keywords and phrases that relate to your content. In addition to videos, this increases the odds that your channel will also show up in searches related to your industry.
Another feature of the About tab: social links. Add the URLs to your other social platforms for a nice, complete profile. Hopefully it goes without saying that a profile picture, probably your logo, and a header graphic help complete your profile as well.
Titles, Descriptions and Tags
Yes, this is still very important. Come up with a consistent naming convention and title your videos appropriately. If you have enough characters left over, include the name of your organization in every title.
Descriptions are essential for search and discovery, weighing into the algorithm even more so than tags. Those tags are still relevant, so don’t forget to stuff them full of keywords as well as the name and location of your organization. Tags are the things that help you show up in “Related Videos” that are offered to viewers.
But, back to those descriptions. Fill them with as much content as you can, including your website, three to four relevant hashtags and social accounts (don’t forget to use http:// when adding links so they are clickable). As always, use this opportunity to encourage people to subscribe.
Bonus tip: Use timestamps (0:00 format) to break up longer videos. These timestamps will create “Chapters” within the video so viewers can skip around. This also makes the individual Chapter searchable, adding another layer to your ultimate goal of discovery and engagement.
Another tactic for discovery, not to mention a kickass landing page for your channel, is creation of as many playlists as possible. Group similar videos into these “categories.” Not only will this help viewers find what they want to engage with from your channel landing page, but you can also add descriptions to each playlist to once again help with search.
Checking MORE Boxes
While you’re working on the presentation of these playlists on your Channel, you might also add a trailer aka the first thing people see when they come to your landing page. It’s highly recommended you set a video that displays for returning subscribers as well.
These videos don’t have to be true trailers showing viewers what they can expect to seek on your kickass YouTube Channel. You can simply select something like the most popular upload or the video that best represents the content you’re offering. That said, a true one- to two-minute trailer produced especially for this section is preferred.
Subscriber Cheat Code
The goal of all this is to increase your following or, in the case of YouTube, Subscribers. You want to attract them by presenting a compelling profile, page and descriptions. But, you can also put subscriptions front and center when you attach the code ?sub_confirmation=1 to your channel URL when linking from your website or other social media platforms.
Simply get your Channel URL by selecting “Your Channel” after clicking on your profile while logged in. Attach ?sub_confirmation=1 to that URL and you’ll get something that looks like this when visitors go to your channel.
And Then There’s This
YouTube has a little-known tab for “Community”. Essentially this operates like any other social media platform. You “post” an update with an image, video or poll. This will get through to some subscribers, most of whom don’t check their “feeds” like they would on, say, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even LinkedIn.
So, why bother? Well, it goes with the two sections above about filling in the blanks and checking all the boxes. Basically, it doesn’t hurt and it’s just another avenue for promoting your videos. Not necessarily a best practice, but something worth mentioning.
So, the big takeaway from this post? Don’t ignore YouTube as a social platform. Many of the same tactics that help with search engine optimization on the world’s second-largest search engine can also help you engage with your audience socially. Follow all or some of these best practices for a kickass YouTube Channel and you’re bound to see improvement on both sides.
About The Author
A journalist by trade, Shane tells stories that connect brands with target audiences and inspire them to act. He’s a writer, not a copy machine, and that approach brings exceptional content to every print or digital piece he pens.
Shane taps into his past as a reporter and editor to develop clear messages that resonate in every medium, be it blog or brochure, sponsored content or script.
Daily newspapers developed a habit for idea generation, attention to detail and knack for question-asking. His background as a magazine and web editor keeps client communications grammatically sound and effective.
Shane’s word-based deliverables range from long-form features to concise digital copy to persuasive prose. He’s been on both sides of the PR pitch and puts some muscle behind ABC’s media relations.