Do you “Like to Watch”? Why YouTube has Become so Important

In the brilliant film “Being There” (1979), Peter Sellers plays a gardener called Chance who is mentally challenged, those who know him would probably call him simple. He doesn’t know how to read or write.  Chance has never left his employer’s house and his only contact with the outside world has been via television. He fully understands the world of his garden and doesn’t really relate to or understand the world he watches on TV.

The phrase he repeats frequently throughout the film is “I like to watch” – which, as you can imagine, sometimes gets misinterpreted!

However, I think ‘like to watch’ is now a phrase that can be applied to many millions all around the world!

YouTube is now just over 10 years old and in that time has grown from strength to strength. It was started by three former PayPal employees and, during the summer of 2006, it was one of the fastest-growing sites on the internet. In November 2006, it was bought by Google, which still owns it.

With so many different choices of social media networks to market your business, YouTube (and other similar video-sharing sites) can sometimes be forgotten. However, YouTube is the second largest social media site after Facebook so should be included as part of your overall social media plan.

Video provides an excellent opportunity to visually show off your brand, products or services, and to connect with existing and potential customers. Many people would prefer to watch a video now instead of trying to follow a large amount of written information. It is particularly good if you are trying to explain how to do something.

More consumers are now spending time online or streaming programmes instead of watching traditional TV.  The development and popularity of original programming for Sky and Netflix, such as Game of Thrones on Sky, Breaking Bad and now House of Cards on Netflix, is having a major impact. The popularity of watching anything online is growing exponentially.

 YouTube statistics

With video sharing increasing across all social media platforms, it makes YouTube’s statistics rather impressive:

  •  More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6.25 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth!
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time
  • YouTube mobile gets over 600 million views a day
  • YouTube is localised in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4 times since last year.

Source: YouTube Official Statistics


 Top 5 Reasons to Use YouTube

The result is that there are lots of reasons why you should use YouTube now as part of your social media marketing and these are my top five:

  1.  Creating original video content improves your search engine optimisation, i.e., how often your business is found on the web. Video is regularly shared via social media and email so Google and other search engines tend to favour sites that offer it.
  2.  Video content is a powerful branding tool as it allows for you to capture emotions and visual features that can leave a lasting impression or make it easier to understand your product or service.
  3. It has huge potential to get your message in front of a wide audience as video is a highly shareable format. How many cute cat videos have you seen?
  4. Video content can be quite easy and inexpensive to produce. Depending on how you want your brand to be perceived, you can produce original, engaging and useful video content on a relatively small budget. You can either use a professional videographer or do it yourself. Many videos that have gone viral on YouTube have been produced using a webcam or camera phone.
  5. Video plays better on mobile devices. As more people access social media and the web through mobile devices, all smartphones and other tablets have been optimised for playing video content.


Tips to increase your YouTube views:

Having taken the plunge and decide to use video to reach your potential market, then these 12 tips should help you reach your audience.

Add proper details

  1. Give your video an appealing title. It should be short, engaging and to the point.
  2. Describe your video thoroughly. Most people ignore this step but you should take it seriously to increase your views. You need to be as accurate as possible in the space you are given. Take the time to write 2-3 paragraphs that are an interesting and precise description of what people can expect when they see your video.
  3. Create thumbnails that attract someone. You will have a choice of three thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube. Pick the best one and don’t worry about it too much. Later you will have the option of customising your thumbnail.
  4. Use the best tags. Use all of the keywords in your title and description in the “tags” section to get more viewers interested. The more relevant tags you choose the more often your video will pop up when people search for it.


Share your video wisely

  1. Share your video through social media. Post your video on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social networking sites you’ve joined. Comments are very beneficial so try to have friends, fans or loyal customers leave a few. It encourages others to do the same.
  2. Share your video with friends. It can be hard to get the word out about your new video so encourage users to share the post. Share your new video with all your friends on social media, email and in person. By doing this you’ll start to gain traction!
  3. Use a blog or website to promote your video. If you have a blog or a website, you can use it to market your videos. If not, ask a friend with a blog or website if they can help you out by sharing it with their fans.


Increase the likelihood of views

  1. Use annotations and captions. You can easily add annotations and captions and you’ll see these on some of the most viewed videos. The idea is that you can prompt people to do things such as like, comment or engage with your video in subtle ways.
  2. Increasing interaction on videos. The more people who comment or click on the like button, the better your video will perform in the rankings. YouTube uses this information to show better results to their future visitors.
  3. Create timely content. People always look for content that is timely and relevant. So if it’s coming up to Easter, release something that ties in with that.
  4. Be consistent. As always with social media, consistency is key! Nobody is going to come back to a channel if they don’t know when the next video is going to appear. You need to put together a schedule to ensure that you’re producing content consistently. It’s best to know what you’re going to be covering in the next four or five videos.
  5. Attract subscribers. This can be difficult if you don’t have a plan. The most straightforward way to do this is to do it in your videos. Have a call to action in your video asking them to subscribe.

The biggest challenge for a lot of people is getting over the fear of being in front of the camera. It doesn’t have to be you though in the video, you can use stills or cartoons and record a voice over but it is worth trying something.

Recording videos are next on my list of things to do as I believe it will not only help differentiate my business from competitors but also help my Google ranking. I’ll let you know how I get on! Perhaps you’d like to watch!

This article is partly based on an article that I wrote for the Bury Free Press.

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