Posted November 30, 2012 by Steve Young

YouTube reports that there are over 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute. With such a vast amount of footage being uploaded, businesses may be wondering if YouTube is a viable marketing channel.

If you’re not a believer, there are sufficient video marketing statistics that show video can be a very powerful tool for businesses looking to increase traffic and sales.

Not only is YouTube’s mass market appealing to businesses, but it’s free, mobile ready video player makes it an ideal choice.

However, like any tool, to fully utilize YouTube’s power, you need to understand how to optimize it for your needs.

Here are the top 10 YouTube tips and tricks for businesses to get the most out of the video sharing giant. We’ll focus the first tip on video production and content creation and the rest of the tips will be primarily focused on YouTube’s features.

1. Create Content That People Want

You know the saying that “content is king”? It should be creating content that people want is king.

But how do you find out what people want? The YouTube keyword tool lets you see what others are searching for on YouTube. Type in a word that is relevant to your business and YouTube will tell you all the phrases that are related to it.

If you want even a simpler method, type your keyword in the YouTube search box without hitting enter. YouTube will auto suggest popular searches related to your keyword.

If you’re still unsure of the type of content to create, consider educational content that is related to your business. It’s an easy and quick way to generate views.

2. Create and Customize Your Channel

Setting up a YouTube channel is well worth the time. Your channel page can show featured videos, playlists, and channels that you have selected.

It can also show a feed that highlights recent activity in your channel. And, the best part is that it provides a way for users to easily find your uploaded videos, playlists, and favorite videos.

In addition, you can add your company’s logo, customize the colors to match your brand and add links back to your web site.

A channel also gives other YouTube users (and potential customers) the option to subscribe to your content.

3. Create An Eye-Catching Thumbnail

The video thumbnail is the image that YouTube shows in the search results. This is important as potential viewers use it to decide on whether or not to watch your video.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, do a search for your video and look at what other thumbnails show up. Then create a custom thumbnail that is different from the other search results.

4. Focus on the Headline

David Ogilvy, “The Father of Advertising”, said “the headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.”

In the world of social media a headline can make or break great content. If you’re having trouble coming up with the best headline try using this simple formula:

Great headline = End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address the Objections

Using this formula here are a couple of headlines that I could have used for this post:

  • 10 Tips to Drive Traffic from YouTube Even If You Are Not Internet Savvy
  • How to Become a YouTube Guru in Less Than an Hour

You don’t have to always lead with the end result. Try playing around with the different elements to see what you can come up with.

5. Don’t Bury Your Website Link

If there’s only one thing that you should remember from this post this is it.

By default YouTube shows only a limited portion of your description.

So, don’t bury the lead. Make sure the first few words of your description include a call to action and a link back to your website.

6. Add Subtitles

With YouTube’s auto-captioning feature, adding captions to your video is a no-brainer. Adding captions to your video allows for the hundreds of millions of hearing impaired around the word to enjoy your content.

In addition, you can re-purpose the transcript of the video on your web page making it more SEO-friendly. Be aware that the process is not always perfect so you may have to do some editing.

7. Use Annotations Sparingly

YouTube’s annotations are a way for you to add interactive commentary to your videos. You control what the annotations say, where they appear on the video, and when they appear and disappear.

Use it to:

  • Add background information about the video
  • Link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video
  • Add call to actions

Annotations are a great way to get a users attention, but you want to be careful to not overuse them because they can be quite distracting and annoying.

8. Tag Your Video

Tags help users find your video when they search the site. When users type keywords related to your tags your video will appear in their search results.

Not sure what tags you should be using? Do a quick search for your target keyword and look at the tags for the top search result.

Then use all the tags that the video has. This will cause your video to show up in the related videos section of that video.

9. Promote Everywhere

Even with the 136MM unique viewers that YouTube attracts per month, don’t assume viewers will come to you. Make sure to post the video on your blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites.

To save some time you can use YouTube’s share functionality to post to Twitter and Facebook.

Also do NOT bury your video on the “About Us” page of your website. To ensure the maximum viewing potential, you should always put your video on your homepage.

10. Use the Free Insights

YouTube offers every user free analytics on every uploaded video. Don’t overlook this very important feature.

You can quickly see some top-level performance metrics for your content on YouTube including views, demographics, engagement, discovery, and traffic sources.

The “discovery” data is one of the most useful reports as it shows you how users came across the video.

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing at SmartShoot. He enjoys writing about marketing, design and product development. Although he shares the same name as a famous quarterback he unfortunately does not share the same bank account, so please throw him a bone and share or comment on his posts. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Keep in touch: @stevepyoung

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