How to Leverage YouTube to Gain Influence
YouTube is a huge source of untapped and underutilized traffic for many different types of businesses. Unfortunately, an effective business strategy isn’t build around the hope that your video will become the next viral hit.
To leverage YouTube effectively to grow your business with organic traffic, you need to focus on increasing your page rank within both Google and YouTube by finding powerful keywords, creating a great user experience, optimizing, and promoting your videos.
Find Powerful Keywords
Finding powerful keywords to use in your titles and descriptions isn’t just a bit of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) wizardry. High-quality SEO research helps you identify how your ideal customer is searching for information and what types of videos and articles they want to engage with. Researching specifically for YouTube videos does require two steps.
First, go to Google Trends and put in up to five terms related to your niche or your specific video idea. Let’s say you have a home and lifestyle blog or SAHM social media channel and want to reach and build trust with potential followers. An easy way to do that is to create video content that helps solve a problem for the type of people who are most likely to follow you so they get to know you and become fans. While you could do this with just social media or blog posts, video allows the viewer to feel like they’re getting to know the real you. For this example let’s imagine that you want to post about cleaning tips or the pros and cons of hiring a housekeeper.
First, enter several keywords related to your idea. Then you’ll need to set the filters to reflect your specific interests.
- Location – The first tab lets you choose the location from which the searches were made. If you have an international business you can leave the setting on worldwide. You can also choose an individual country or a state within the United States.
- Time – The second tab allows you to choose the time frame. Since you will want to post a mix of things that tend to do well over time as well as those that are seasonally topical, it’s important to adjust this based on the content of your video.
- Categories – The third tab lets you hone in on your niche or leave it set on all.
- Search – The final tab lets you browse searches from all Google assets or choose which search engine you want to focus on. For the purposes of video, you will want to focus on YouTube Search or Web Search since many people use the main Google site to search for video content instead of going to YouTube to search.
You may find you need to play around with the keywords to find several that are actively being searched for in your target area or niche.
Once you do this, head over to YouTube Trends. Once there type in one of your keywords and allow the autofill feature to help you find additional keywords based on user trends.
You can filter results by:
- Upload Type – last hour, today, this week, this month, this year
- Type – video, channel, playlist, movie, show
- Duration – short or long
- Features – 4k, HD, subtitles, creative commons, 3D, live, etc.
- Sort By – relevance, upload date, view count, rating
This makes it easy to learn more about what your audience is looking for so you have a better idea of the type of content they are likely to appreciate.
Create a Great User Experience
Most business owners know they should be using YouTube to reach more potential customers, but they aren’t sure how effective it will be or how to get their video in front of new prospects. This is both easy and incredibly challenging.
Ultimately, YouTube wants the best experience for their users. The better the viewer experience, the higher you will rank on YouTube.
- Audience Retention – How long people watch your video.
- Comments – Indicates people enjoyed it or at least watched it.
- Subscribers – If someone decides to subscribe after watching your video it is a significant indicator they enjoyed the experience.
- Shares – The number of people who shared the video on a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter.
- Favorites – The number of people who add your video to their Watch Later list or favorite it.
- Up/Down – The ratio of people who thumbs up to thumbs down.
How do you ensure you will keep your viewers captivated throughout the video, turn them into commenting subscribers who share and favorite your video? By consistently turning out awesome content they want to see.
Optimize Your Video
You’ve created a great video and found the best video keywords. Now it’s time to upload and optimize. To do this, it’s important to keep in mind that search engines cannot watch your videos. They read the text in the title and description to learn what it is about. Write about 200 words and include your keyword(s) 3-4 times.
- Filename – Before you upload your video to YouTube, rename it to include the keywords you’ve decided to use. For example, Summer__Housekeeping_Tips.mp4
- Title – The keyword or keyword phrase should also be in the title, ideally at the beginning. Using the above example, the title might be Summer Housekeeping Tips or Housekeeping Tips for Summer Parties.
- Tags – Use the keyword(s) here plus a few others that are related. Using the above example: summer housekeeping, housekeeping tips, cleaning tips for summer.
Don’t overlook this step. While it isn’t as much fun as creating a video, it is how you let the search algorithm help your potential clients know where to find the content you’ve created just for them. If they can’t find your video, it doesn’t matter how valuable the information within it is.
Promote Your Video
You should be on one or more social media platforms. Promote your video to those followers and encourage them to share with their friends and family. It’s also important to specifically request this action at the end of every video. Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel, like, and share the video if they found the content useful. This is one of the easiest ways to grow your business organically and many business owners simply forget the power of making the request.
You can also promote other videos to viewers on your channel. YouTube has a Feature Video function which can help direct viewers to other videos on your channel that you want to promote. An easy way to do this is by adding a suggested video from your channel at the end of the current video. You can also add clickable links directly into the video to direct viewers to a special offer or opt-in page outside of YouTube.
Pay Attention to Details
It can be tempting to focus so much on making sure people find your video that you might forget the video itself also needs to be on point. This means at a minimum taking the time to write out a script that keeps your message clear and on point, filming in a well-lit location, and editing the video to take out any unnecessary sounds or mistakes.
Another thing you can do to improve the chances that people will click on your video once it turns up in a search result is to make it visually appealing from the moment they see it. Below is a section from the trending page on YouTube. One thing several of the videos have in common is a custom thumbnail image.
Adding words to the screen makes it easy to get a short main point across. Another option is to make sure your branding is thematic and easily identifies content for your audience. A great example of micro-themes within a larger brand is NBC’s The Voice
It’s easy to see at a glance which team the video is for and the image of the singer helps viewers who may not be sure of names, find the artist they were looking for.