8 Tips for Optimizing YouTube for Social Media Success

YouTube is definitely the world leader in video sharing, with an unbelievable 72 HOURS of content uploaded every MINUTE. Vimeo is the next closest contender in the video sharing space, but it’s a smaller site more often used by filmmakers to share ideas than businesses using video as an anchor to their social media success. That’s because the world is more visual now that technology allows for streaming video and fast download speeds.

YouTube’s new format/ layout allows businesses improved opportunities for branding. So let’s take a tour around YouTube and learn how YouTube creates social media success.

 

 

 

 

Tip #1: Branding your URL

Grab your branded URL, even if you’re not ready to start uploading videos yet. Just like other social media platforms, once a brand name is gone, it’s gone. Mine is called MarketingLetter — just like my blog, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. Stick with a brand name that’s easy to remember, pronounce, and fits your marketing goals.

Tip #2: YouTube channel art

Similar to changes Google made with other networks, such as Google+, YouTube now features a cover for your business channel. Remember — KISS. Keep it simple stupid. Don’t make it crowded and avoid over-promotion. Let your content speak for itself.

Take a look at my cover art. Simple. My logos for both Hausman and Associates and Hausman Marketing Letter, along with my tagline (which is EVERYWHERE), and my URL.

Be VERY careful and check your results carefully on several different devices. YouTube allows for an image that’s 2560 X 1440, but an image that size will only look right on a TV screen. On a computer or mobile device, it’ll look like crap. And the ability to crop the image in a way that makes it appealing is VERY limited. Play with it — keeping the actual image centered within the allowed space and only taking up about 1/5 of the available space. Mine uses 120 pt font to make it fit reasonably onto a mobile device. Record your colors and use them everywhere to enhance your branding efforts.

Tip #3: YouTube channel description

Your YouTube channel description should use your keywords within the first sentence and throughout the description. This will help future subscribers find your channel. Include basic information about the channel content, a posting schedule (something do-able), and why visitors should subscribe to your channel.

Tip #4: Brand videos

Each video you upload to your channel should include branding before and after the content — called a donut. Add some music (be careful to have permission). Animation makes your donut look more professional. At the end of the video, add contact information and a call to action to increase conversion. Don’t expect people will KNOW what you want them to do.

Tip#5: Consistency

Uploading videos on a consistent basis is really important to gaining subscribers. Tell visitors about your publication schedule in your description, then stick to your schedule. Posting too infrequently or off-schedule will reduce your social media success from YouTube.

Tip #6: Be yourself

Folks think their YouTube video has to look like something from a major studio. That may be true if you’re positioning your channel as a professional video channel and trying to break into the movie business. But, if you’re just trying to build your business with video, you don’t need to look like a feature film.

Giving visitors something of value is so much more important than having professional video quality. Find great topics for videos using Google Alerts and other tools to see what’s trending? — what are folks searching for? — where are their pain points?

Tip #7: Get your community involved

As with all social media platforms, getting community engagement is critical for your social media success on YouTube. Community engagement will bring more visitors and encourage them to subscribe to your channel. Encourage comments and sharing by asking questions in the video and putting sharing in your call to action. Be a little controversial and you’ll increase comments, just be careful when you create controversy that it doesn’t make you look uninformed.

Depending on your brand, you might encourage your community to upload their own content to your YouTube channel. That really increases engagement.

Tip #8: Analytics

Youtube provides analytics, just like most social media platforms. Be sure to regularly track your performance to ensure continued success with your YouTube strategy. What’s working and what isn’t? What drives visitors to your channel? What encourages them to become subscribers?

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Social Media Week – Analytics, Listening and Gadgets

social mediaWell, it’s Social Media Week again and DC is one of the cities hosting events. I’ve been busy hopping from one networking event to a demonstration to a panel to a seminar.  Great fun to connect with colleagues and learn a few new things.  I’ll likely have more later, but here are some initial thoughts from this year’s Social Media Week.

Social media analytics

I actually hear an amazing thing from an otherwise knowledgeable and highly positioned colleague. Someone mentioned social media analytics and his response was that social media was about talking with consumers not talking to them (traditional marketing messaging) so analytics didn’t mean anything in social media.

As someone in the painful process of writing a whole BOOK on social media analytics, I was both horrified and disturbed by this comment. Did that mean no one was interested in buying my book? Was I just wasting my time and working SO hard for nothing?

Boy, I hope someone wants my social media analytics book! === BTW, I have the first chapter ready.  If you’re interested, you can get the first chapter FREE and, if you’re willing to send me comments/ edits, I’m offering a FREE copy of the finished social media analytics book! What a deal? How can you pass this one up?

I guess the bottom line is that social media HAS analytics and they’re pretty important. Translating social media analytics DIRECTLY to ROI (return on investment) is a little tenuous, especially if you’re not a consumer company.  Even in consumer retail, it’s hard to know WHAT generated sales — whether it was your social media, your traditional advertising, your positioning, your branding, your product quality … But, if you optimize your social media by increasing reach and engagement you increase brand awareness, generate more favorable attitudes, and influence consumers through the attitudes and opinions of their friends. Which is more than we know about results from traditional advertising.

Twitter presented their tools for monitoring engagement and clicks from promoted tweets and other branded products.

It’s hard to believe none of this translates into improved sales. Especially since we have predictive models that strongly support the association of these factors with increased sales. Of course, I agree with a number of folks from top agencies I’ve spoken to — sentiment analysis alone doesn’t tell you much about how sales are going.

Listening in social media

Of course, the topics of listening and social media analytics are intimately related and that came through in several presentations I went to this week. Listening to what folks say about your brand on their social networks tells you how far your message spread (reach), what folks think about your brand, and allows you to reach out to influencers who might generate consumer actions such as buying your products. The Obama campaign created proprietary software to identify influencers and encourage them to mobilize their social networks to register and vote. We may not know exactly how many votes these actions generated, but we do know the outcome.

At a special Social Media Week session of the Meetup group on social media analytics, we heard presenters from Traackr and several other listening devices show how their software can identify influencers and how your firm can use these influencers to improve market performance.

Alright. I’m off to the keynotes tonight and should have more insights on social media for you tomorrow.

If we can help make your marketing sizzle, please contact me or one of my team.

 

 

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Branding: 5 Steps in Creating a Personal Brand

If you think about it — each one of us is a BRAND! What have YOU done to build your personal brand?

Here’s what Paul Rand, President of Zocalo Group advised graduates from Northwestern University:

What’s most compelling to me is that the proven foundations and principles of driving recommendations for brands are almost identical to those that shape personal recommendations  — shared by Brian Solis.

Why build a personal brand?

Building a personal brand increases your reputation and spreads that reputation much farther than it would ordinarily.  I mean, think about it, you rely on employers, professors, and coworkers to give you recommendations for a new job — spreading positive word of mouth about you. According to Business Week, over 1/2 of all jobs come from recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues.

Building a personal brand extends that reputation and increases the word of mouth beyond the people you would normally ask for a recommendation.

But, building a personal brand goes beyond just helping you find a job.  A positive personal reputation also drives success in other endeavors — building support for charitable or political aspirations, gaining support for plans in your work or personal life, or greasing the wheels of anything.  A positive personal brand also allows you to support others, which generates social capital you can “spend” to promote your own plans.

How do you build a personal brand?

Building a personal brand mirrors building a commercial brand — it takes careful development of a branding strategy and implementation of that strategy in your daily life.  Here’s what Paul Rand recommends:

1. Develop a compelling story of YOU

This means creating a consistent image of who you are — hopefully one that resonates with your target audience.  This includes personal characteristics like strong, knowledgeable, competent or soft and empathetic as well as professional characteristics including your area of expertise (design, fashion, beauty, marketing, sports …).

2. Live your brand

Be consistent and live your brand every day.  If you want an image of a fashionista, you’ll need to dress the part every day so no leaving the house in sweat pants without makeup.

3. Stay engaging and interesting

Remember, building a personal brand doesn’t mean you are self-absorbed.  The best way to get others behind you is to support them and stay involved in their lives.

It always surprises me when a student comes into my office asking for a letter of recommendation, when the student really didn’t stand out in my class.  Sure, I might send the recommendation because I see that as part of my job, but it’s not likely a great recommendation.  Students who actively participate in class, are prepared, and take advice for improving their work will get great recommendations.  Stopping by my office to chat, ask advice, and let me know your plans will get not only a great recommendation but one very tailored to all the great things I know about you.

4. Regularly evaluate and evolve

Listen to what people say about you to evaluate the success of your personal branding strategy, just like a firm would evaluate the success of their branding strategy.  Also, pay attention to trends and tweak your personal brand to stay relevant.

5. Be human, transparent, and live up to mistakes

Be yourself and talk to your network as if you’re talking to each one individually.  And, if you make a mistake, own it don’t try to hide it or make excuses.

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The Future of Social Networks

social media marketingThe future of social networks

Lots of changes going on in social networks — the Facebook IPO on Friday (and subsequent 11% drop in share price on Monday), Lawsuits filed against Google (Antitrust) and Facebook (Privacy), new social platforms, including Pinterest further fragment the social landscape, and advertisers grow increasingly skittish about paying for online ads without more tangible support for their effectiveness.

This begs the question of whether these social networks will remain viable.  Nearly half of Americans don’t believe Facebook will be here in the long-run.

What’s in the future of social networks?

My best guess is the social networks will continue long into the future.  It may not be the holy trinity (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) that survive, but newer social networks, like Pinterest, or some social network that hasn’t even appeared on the horizon yet, but I think social networks are here to stay.

Much of this certainty comes from a book written by Robert Putnam called “Bowling Alone”.  In the book, Putnam makes a strong case for the importance of community or deep, repetitious social interactions.  He traces the history of human interaction in the US over the last half century or so.  He argues that, as each type of community dwindles, a new form of community arises to take its place — PTA meeting give way to phone chains, book clubs morph into online forums.  Of course, he wrote before the first social network was conceived, but you can easily see the importance of community coming through in these platforms.

I also don’t see the current leaders — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ surviving forever.  Likely, they’ll go the way of MySpace, where users will stop interacting for no apparent reason.  Sure, you can point to issues that might give rise to this mass exodus (like Facebook’s constant tinkering with their user interface or Google+’s lack of engagement as it grew), but likely we’ll never know the true cause of their decline.  Nor will we, in hindsight, see the tipping point heralding the decline.  We’ll just wake up one morning and no one is saying much of anything on their wall, stream, …

Part of the pressure behind the likely demise of these social networks is their persistent struggles with monetizing their platforms.  You can’t make users pay for the experience and paid advertising isn’t showing the kind of ROI firms want.  Maybe charging firms for their fanpages will provide needed revenue, since this is where firms really see their payoff.  Personally, I’d hate to see this change because I think it prices small businesses out of the market.

How does the future of social networks impact your business?

Well, certainly I’m not advocating you eliminate your social media marketing efforts.  I think social networks will stay fundamentally the same over the next year or so.  Just don’t put all you eggs in one basket.  Spread your social media marketing efforts across multiple social networks.  I’d also seriously consider adding a blog to your website or, if you already have one, expanding it.  While Google continuously tinkers with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), blogs are here to stay and setting one up has never been easier.  In the long run, a blog that provides valuable content that’s updated frequently is your BEST and most stable social media marketing tool.  That’s why almost 90% of firms in a recent study by Awareness plan to increase their blogging efforts.

I would also increase my sensing efforts.  Step up your exploration of new social networks and begin experimenting in these venues.  Learn where you customers are and how people respond on these alternate social networks.  Likely, the future of social networking will involve more specialized social networks.  Look at recent changes in traditional media where mass market products, like newspapers and broadcast TV are giving way to more specialized programming, such as specialized magazines and cable TV.  I expect similar changes in social networks with specialized networks designed for certain demographic groups and catering to special interests.

Finally, I’d reduce my focus on how to optimize specific social networks — especially since success strategies change frequently as owners change their user interface (witness the recent plummet of many company websites after the Penguin update to Google’s search algorithm).  I would take that effort and expend it on understanding how consumers behave in online social settings.  Invest in a little original research — and I can name a few very competent researchers who could provide such insights.  Hire a skilled consultant to analyze data from your existing online efforts to improve your understanding of how YOUR customers interact with you.  The days of hiring some 20-something assuming they KNOW social networks and hoping (praying) for the best are gone.  You need analytical folks driving your social media strategy, not some clever copywriter churning out drivel.

Closing thoughts

I think social networks are on the precipice of dramatic change.  And, I’d like to help you navigate the process.  So, if you find this post valuable, you might consider subscribing to my email newsletter.  In it, I share my insights on how to make you business successful through social media marketing and other proven marketing strategies.  And, I won’t spam you by truing to sell you coaching programs or other things you don’t want.

And, s always, I welcome your comments and feedback.  Just post them below.

Have a great day.  Get out there an be all that you can be.

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