This post looks at how you can use YouTube and Video and is the fourth of my social media and video series. It is in two parts. This first part is a look at where the social media interactions can happen. The second part looks at how you can help those interactions along.
Wait a minute! YouTube? Isn’t that a cop out? It is simply a way to get your videos online isn’t it?
Well yes it is a way to get your videos online but many people forget that YouTube isn’t just a video platform but a powerful social network and the second largest search engine after Google. Many people who have built a successful business on the online video platform regard it as ‘more powerful than Facebook’.
Although that might be a little melodramatic, it is a fact that YouTube can be incredibly powerful as a social media platform. Like Twitter it is as active as you want to make it; by using the subscribe function and adding friends to your network you can control the content that appears in your news feed. Whereas the etiquette of Twitter is to follow people back, there is no rule that says you should subscribe back.
YouTube and Video
This means to effectively promote your videos you have to be active in building your You Tube social network. The strength of You Tube is in finding relevant video content to you and your organisation and subscribing to keep updated with future video content. Whereas you might lose Twitter followers or Facebook fans, a You Tube subscriber hangs in there for longer. There is also less personal information to share and it isn’t seen as such as rude to ask someone for a friend request if they would be useful to your You Tube network.
There is one down side with You Tube. The platform does attract ‘trolls’ or people who just go online and leave nasty or offensive comments but this can be controlled and in fact, the You Tube community is powerful enough to recognise and ridicule these ‘trolls’.
The YouTube Experience
Some business have got a YouTube account and I believe we will see many many more get added to the mix in the near future. Most use it as a simple way of uploading video and embedding it into their website. Now this is fine, I’m not suggesting this is wrong but the fact is that this doesn’t make full use of YouTube. The defining feature of YouTube is content. 48 hours of video are loaded to YouTube every minute. Rather than think of this as a very competitive arena, think about it as a wealth of information at your fingertips that could be of value to you AND those in your network.
Unless you enjoy surfing through YouTube itself the first touch point most people have is:
1. The YouTube Player
Either through embedding or through sharing on other social networks this is where we first encounter You Tube and video. The flexibility of this player is phenomenal as it can be easily embedded into a webpage or blog post, shared as a link through social networks (where it can be viewed without leaving the stream) and is compatible with mobile devices. In my opinion it is the embeddable player that makes YouTube and video such a compelling social media resource.
I have a strange habit though. I can’t help but clicking the little YouTube logo to watch on YouTube itself.
This leads us on to the next point of engagement:
2. The YouTube Video Page
This is the familiar white screen with the main video player, quick engagement options are available directly below, the thumbs up or thumbs down, the add to option where you can make it one of your favourites, add it to a playlist or select it to watch later. The final quick engagement option is to share, via embedding, email, Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Below these are comments and along the side are ‘Related Videos’.
The reason I can’t help but check the video out on this is because I want to see the comments left and also check out the channel the video is played on. I do this to ensure I can see the other videos the channel hosts and subscribe if the videos interest me.
3. The YouTube Channel Page
At the top of the page you are offered the opportunity to ‘Subscribe’, this provides you with a notification in your news feed that new content is available on that channel. This is a great way of keeping track of the content available on other channels, without having to visit them and your goal as the owner of a channel should be to get as many subscriptions as possible. When subscribing you have the option to get an email update every time a new video is uploaded. This can be managed as you see fit, getting immediate news that content is available on selected channels. This is a great way to keep track of what others are offering or keeping a breast of vital content made available through trusted sources that you can share with your own audience.
The You Tube channel allows you to break your content down into playlists, making content more accessible to the visitor by grouping similar content together. Imagine these playlists as micro channels on your main channel.
One of the key playlists that is often ignored or forgotten about is the Favourites playlist. This is where the videos on You Tube become social as it is a playlist that allows you to collect all the videos you find interesting in one place for your benefit and for the benefit of your audience. Once you have favourited a video you can place it in another playlist or set it as the featured video.
The featured video is the video that everyone sees when they view the channel. There are two options available to you. The first is to set a video that explains who you are, what you do in a compelling and engaging way. Then you keep this static, encouraging the audience to view your playlists. The other option is to update the video on a regular basis, showcasing fresh content to keep your channel compelling, encouraging people to return.
Aside from the subscribe function, there exists an Add Friend option. This is probably the most underused element I see on YouTube as a social network. It is another way to stay in touch with people and businesses in your network, just like the subscribe function this allows activity to pop up in your news feed.
The channel also supports comments, just like the YouTube Video Page. This is the place where you can get feedback on your channel and, my favourite tactic, ask for content ideas to be submitted.
A relatively new feature that has been added is to allow a status update known as a bulletin, this is the same concept as a Twitter post or a Facebook status update. This can be used in the same way as any other status update, to keep in touch with others in your network and share news.
Part 2 covers tips and strategies to get the most out of YouTube and video.