Hundreds of hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month — that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth. With so much content, you may be wondering how your videos can break through the noise and accumulate views. The answer is your community.
Building a community on YouTube requires you to turn your fans into an engaged and loyal audience. In turn, these evangelists can help promote your content across the social web. But before you can direct your social army, you first need to get your videos onto their screens.
The best approach to any marketing campaign is a holistic one. So to help boost your Channel’s recognition and discoverability, we’ve compiled a list of must-have YouTube tools and tactics.
A powerful introduction can determine whether or not viewers become fans. YouTube is helping you accomplish this through Fan Finder, a tool that lets you create a video telling viewers about your Channel. This is then then run as an ad before other videos across the site at no cost to you.
As an example, take a look at the Fan Finder ad for Rooster Teeth featured above. It uses upbeat music, engaging clips, and strong messaging to communicate what the Channel is about. The Rooster Teeth brand is present throughout and reinforced strongly at the end with a large logo and a clear call-to-action.
To get started, visit the Fan Finder website. There you’ll be able to select up to five videos from your uploads to use as a Channel ad. Keep in mind that only new videos uploaded as “unlisted” will be eligible; it’s okay to leave it as public if you’re repurposing an existing video. Of course, if you rather build out your ad campaign more, there are other types of YouTube advertising available.
We also recommend taking a look at YouTube’s latest feature which gives you the option of adding a three-second intro video to your uploaded content. It can be added to all of your videos, or just the ones you’ve uploaded after a certain date. Not only is this a creative way to add a bit of distinction to your videos, but it’ll help you to more easily build a consistent brand your fans will recognize. Plus, you can always remove or change the intro later.
Cross-promotion is an important element of your marketing campaign, especially if you manage multiple YouTube Channels. Using the platform’s cross-promotion tools, you can mix and match the best from all of your Channels in one place. This can be done in one of two ways: by adding cross-promotion sections or multi-channel sections to your main Channel.
The latter lets you feature other channels that you own or love, effectively turning yours into a single destination for viewers to access and subscribe to all of your content. For example, you can use it to highlight your customer service or tutorial channel on your main one. Multi-channel sections are also really beneficial for entertainment brands.
HBO, for instance, does a great job of highlighting content created by its various programs. Not only does its main YouTube Channel include a prominently-featured carousel of HBO-related Channels, it also has playlists for coming-soon previews as well as for some of its most popular programming, like Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley. You can see how other brands are using playlists in a previous article.
Cross-promotion sections let you feature any playlist from another Channel as a section on your own. Your YouTube Community includes your most active fans and followers, but it also includes other YouTube creators. Take advantage of similar demographics and collaboration opportunities, and use cross-promotion sections to showcase that content.
And don’t forget about annotations, especially if you’re collaborating with other YouTube Channels. This is the best way for viewers of those videos to learn about your original content and Channel. By using strong calls-to-action, you can also increase the overall engagement of your video by asking viewers to subscribe or comment.
Annotations allow you to layer text and links over your videos, enriching your viewers’ experience by adding information and interactivity. There are five different types of annotations to choose from: speech bubble, spotlight, note, title, and label. Test out different annotations to see which resonate best with viewers.
You can see a great use of annotations in the video above created by Old Spice. Pay attention to the 0:30-0:41 mark.
Regardless of which tool or tactic you choose to employ, remember to be active on your Channel during any type of marketing campaign. This includes uploading new content and interacting with viewers in the comments. Also, you might consider featuring your best videos or playlists when you expect a lot of new viewers visiting your Channel. And last but not least, people find video content off of YouTube as well — make sure that you’re promoting your content and Channel across social platforms.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.