More than three billion videos are viewed on YouTube each day, and more than 48 hours of video are uploaded to the site every single minute.
That makes YouTube a daunting playground for consumers and for brands. Yet, brands are increasingly relying on the video-sharing site as a hub not just for videos, but for connections, interactivity, and marketing. Standing out amidst the vast expanse of videos is challenging and it requires cohesive and consistent marketing tactics. Gone are the days when brands -- or anyone -- can simply slap a video online and hope it catches fire. That's why video experts at leading media agencies as well as YouTube executives themselves contend that a strategy for success is vital.
"First, recognize that no video is inherently viral," said Jamison Tilsner, VP of business development at Kantar Video, a division of media agency WPP, "Videos can be spread, and catchy or sensational videos are more easily spread. A media and social media seeding strategy is as important, if not more important, than expert production of ground-breaking content. Marketers need to distribute the great content to the audiences that will appreciate and share it."
To build, share, and succeed on YouTube requires several steps for digital marketer small and large. They begin with the basics, such as building out a brand page, interacting with viewers and responding to comments, and lead up to more sophisticated strategies too for enhancing views, traffic, and virality.
Here are the basics:
Start with a brand channel
This sounds simple, but it's mission critical. A brand or business should set up an official brand channel on YouTube. Brand channels are free, so be sure to use all the design elements, though some of the gadgets and customization have a fee. A brand channel is essentially your home on YouTube; think of it as the YouTube equivalent of a Facebook page.
First impressions count
"You want all your videos to be stellar, but remember the first 15 seconds of any video is critical so make sure you have a fantastic opener, said Paul Kontonis, VP and Group Director for Brand Content at Digitas.
"Use the right words in your title, description and keywords. The important words, the ones that are the most searchable, should be in all three places. Make sure you order your keywords in search rank order," Kontonis said. "Explain as much as you can about your video in the descrip-tion and add a transcript if you can."
Take your time
You don't need to upload 20 informational videos the day you set up your channel. Roll out your videos via a sensible timeframe to build momentum and excitement. Once uploaded, use playlists to organize and curate videos. You can create playlists from other channels that fit in and complement yours.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Rather than let YouTube randomly select the thumbnail that is displayed with your video, upload a custom thumbnail that's attractive, stands out, and will entice viewers to watch your video.
Don't forget your channel
Kontonis points out that many marketers start a brand channel to coincide with a paid media campaign. That's a smart way to leverage resources, but be sure to keep feeding the channel even when your paid flight ends. Consumers will still seek out your videos organically and you want to make sure fresh content is on the shelves for those who look.
Shoot what you love
United Linen is a small business in Oklahoma that has gained some YouTube traction with vid-eos on how to fold napkins. "Shoot video about your products and services solving your custom-er's problems," said Scott Townsend, marketing director at United Linen, "Show customers how to use a product, demonstrate how the product works, and show customers how to do business with your business."
Remember, that brand marketers can develop a YouTube channel into a powerful owned media asset which can drive a tremendous amount of earned media. "The next thing is to re-member that YouTube is a social platform where conversations and community can develop," Kontonis said, "Don't just post and hope; get in there and talk to your audience, friend, subscribe, comment, and favorite."