Why is it important to have a YouTube channel

11 Smart Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel

As a survey by the IfD Allensbach showed, around 2.9 million Internet users in Germany regularly published videos on YouTube as early as 2015. The video network is more in demand than ever, as videos are gaining popularity among users. All over the world: YouTube itself states that a whopping 80% of all YouTube views come from outside the US. So companies should look into video content and YouTube. Even if you've heard it a thousand times (the “Skip Ad” button is probably following you in your dreams): 2016 is the year of videos. Hardly anyone asks whether it makes sense to advertise the YouTube channel, but rather how to do it most effectively.

But what to do if the beautiful new video is not seen? With the 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, this sheer volume can become a problem for businesses trying to get noticed.

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Promoting your YouTube channel is an art - one that can make the difference between boos and applause for your video content. In this guide, we'll show you how to promote your YouTube channel so that your videos are sure to grab attention.

How to make your YouTube channel better known

1. Meaningful titles

What is the first thing to look out for when deciding whether to watch a YouTube video or not? Probably on the video title. When I dedicate my precious time to a video, I choose one that clearly shows me what to expect. That means your video titles need to be

  • be short and to the point.
  • be meaningful and contain keywords.

If the title of your video is too long to cut off, or if the title doesn't tell what the video is about, hardly anyone will take the time to click it. To make your video easier to find, the title should always contain the relevant keywords that match the content. Just as the headlines of a newspaper are supposed to grab the attention of the reader, a video title should inspire viewers for the video.

bonus: Learn from our step-by-step guide how to create a social media strategy and optimize your social media presence with Hootsuite.

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2. YouTube thumbnails that match the video

The preview image of a video, together with the video title, is a central component if you want to promote your YouTube channel. A perfect title alone is useless, with a strange or nonsensical preview image, the probability that the target group clicks on or shares the video is rather low. So if you post a video of a cat playing guitar, the thumbnail should also show a cat playing guitar - and not some weird, blurry image that shows you when you set the camera.

For a successful preview image, YouTube advises that the image should

  • be as large as possible, as it also serves as a preview image for the embedded player;
  • have a resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels (the minimum width is 640 pixels);
  • uploaded in graphic formats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP or .PNG;
  • be smaller than the maximum file size of 2MB;
  • preferably in 16: 9 format, as this is the most used format for YouTube players and previews.

Meaningful content makes it a lot easier to promote a YouTube channel. And the thumbnails go a long way in determining whether your content is seen as meaningful or not.

3. An optimally used channel

Create a meaningful and compelling profile with a detailed description of what your channel is about.

You should make sure that the profile is brand-compliant and that the following criteria match your other social media channels:

  • Color selection
  • backgrounds
  • Logos
  • Social media icons (for your other social media channels)
  • Special banners or layout specifications

In a blog post, Kissmetrics writes: "If you make your channel brand-compliant, you ensure a uniform brand experience for your subscribers and viewers on YouTube, which they also experience on your other social media channels." Your video advertising supports the brand in the long term. Over time, you and your brand will become unmistakable.

4. Video SEO (search engine optimization)

Another important point to ensure that your channel and videos are found is search engine optimization (SEO). YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web, so proper SEO will make sure your videos get found by as many people as possible.

Search Engine Watch names the following criteria, which the YouTube algorithm uses to select and sort the results of a search:

  • Information from the page title (Title Tag)
  • Audience retention
  • Keywords in the description
  • Tags
  • Length of the video
  • Number of new subscriptions after watching this video
  • Comments
  • Like / dislike information

First, think about what you want people to find when they search for your brand. And work backwards from there when promoting your YouTube channel. Search Engine Watch has a few tips for you:

  • Create detailed descriptions. "The more YouTube knows about your video, the better and more reliably the platform can assign the video to your keyword and improve its ranking."
  • Find the perfect “video keywords”.
  • Generate more video views via online communities (e.g. Quora, LinkedIn, etc.).
  • Encourage your viewers to subscribe or link to the video.
  • Create playlists with lots of keywords. “A playlist with numerous keywords provides YouTube with detailed information about the topic of a video. And as we already noticed in the description, more text that matches the content also means more views. "

5. Be active within the community

While SEO will improve the visibility of your YouTube channel, nothing beats real and authentic engagement. Like all other social networks, YouTube is a community. Within this community there are groups and sub-groups for every conceivable topic, your product or service will also find a place here.

Find like-minded people who are active in the YouTube community in your industry and subscribe to their channels. Take the time to fully watch and provide feedback on the videos that really interest you. Make meaningful comments (don't even think of writing “First!” Under any video!) And give a like if you like a video. Most importantly, share any video that might be of interest to your own social media community.

If you support other YouTube users in promoting their channels instead of just promoting your own, you will create a reputation for yourself as a communicative, interested and active member of a dynamic community. In return, your own channel will become more present in the minds of the other YouTube members. To put it bluntly: you catch mice with bacon.

6. Sweepstakes and Contests

Sweepstakes are an excellent way to interact with your community and attract more subscribers. Everyone likes to win a prize. I've also shared a video or two with my friends or within my social network to take part in a competition.

Post a video with a call-to-action on YouTube that announces the competition, briefly describes and explains the conditions of participation. Encourage your community to share this video in addition to participating. A few ideas for a YouTube competition:

  • Ask your viewers to comment on your video to enter the competition.
  • Encourage non-subscribers to subscribe to your channel so they can participate.
  • Run a video contest that requires users to upload a homemade video about your product or service.
  • Organize a competition for which the users have to upload their own videos on a certain topic and then the community votes on the winners (for example by means of "Like" information).

The interaction with and within the community can be easily increased via competitions. And they are great for making your YouTube channel better known not only to your existing subscribers, but also to those who are not (yet) following it.

7. Close cooperations

Cooperations with other YouTubers also contribute to the growth of your community. Your own videos create more reach over the other user's channel, and your community gets to know someone new. Your cooperation partner will probably even come from your industry, and with the cooperation you will improve the YouTube experience of your community. A real win-win.

As VlogNation explains: “Cooperations on YouTube increase your reach immediately. It doesn't matter whether you produce a video together, post guest appearances or guest vlogs, or just give each other recognition. Both partners can actually only benefit from a collaboration. ”VlogNation also names a few good examples of what collaboration with other users could look like:

  • Guest appearances
  • A joint video about the cooperation
  • Guest vlogs
  • Mutual mentions

Working with other users is an opportunity to constantly gain new experiences, promote your YouTube channel, and build or grow your community - all at the same time.

8. Communicate with your community

For the experienced social video users among you, this may already be a matter of course. Still, I would like to reiterate that YouTube marketers can make their channel better known simply by interacting with their community. If any of your subscribers asks a question or raises a concern, act quickly and thoroughly. Don't let anyone who took the time to provide feedback or ask a question stand in the rain (unless they're an obvious troll).

Another way to communicate with your community and build a sense of community is through question-and-answer videos. Use a call-to-action video or your other social media channels to encourage customers and members of your community to ask the questions that interest them most. And then turn it into a video that answers those questions. With it you can not only generate new and exciting content, but also give your community the feeling of being part of your YouTube channel. At least such a video shows that the opinions and concerns of customers and community members are important enough to you to take care of them. A happy community is an active community and is much more likely to share your channel and videos with others.

9. Create playlists

Playlists are great for making it easier for users to find and share your videos. “In addition, viewers watch several videos in one video session via playlists. The videos merge seamlessly within a playlist. With a video that is not in a playlist, the viewer always has to decide whether to click away or watch another of your videos, ”writes the Social Times.

So put together a series of videos that on the one hand fit the brand message and on the other hand are interesting for the entire industry. Motivate your community to share not just your video but the entire playlist. Replay Science describes the benefits of a YouTube playlist as follows:

  • Better ranking in search results. (One of the criteria for ranking is the duration of the video views. And playlists encourage users to watch several videos at a time.)
  • More chances of being listed in the search results (playlists appear in the search results of YouTube, Google and the corresponding video categories.)
  • More and more different keywords. ("Since playlists are considered to be something of their own, you have the option of including keywords here that you would not use for the individual videos.")
  • Increase the number of views of less popular videos. (When you mix popular and less popular videos in the playlist.)

So if you're having trouble marketing your YouTube channel, put together a compelling playlist and just watch the engagement and number of views for your channel skyrocket.

10. Include call-to-action

Having great content is all well and good. But if you don't encourage viewers to take active action, you are definitely missing out on a chance to get your YouTube channel better known. In the call-to-action, you can ask viewers to do practically anything: from sharing the video to asking questions - the possibilities are endless. And a call-to-action video can do wonders for your marketing efforts.

In addition to asking you to subscribe to the YouTube channel, share or like your content, there are a few suggestions on Vidyard for a call-to-action on your YouTube video:

  • Asking questions (the invitation to interact with your brand or a hashtag)
  • Participate (if you are running a competition or handing out giveaways)
  • Voting (for situations with audience choice, this gives the audience the feeling of being involved)
  • Free trial (if you work on a subscription basis)
  • Register for a webinar (if your company offers webinars)
  • Fill out a form
  • Watch another video

Communicating clearly with people how they can stay connected to your content is a very effective way to promote your YouTube channel.

11. Promote the YouTube channel on various social networks

A social network is not a lonely island, and YouTube is no exception. So link your YouTube channel on your other social media networks and on your website. Build the channel into your email signature and blog (if you have one). Share your own videos and other interesting YouTube content through your various social media accounts. This is a great way to build or grow your community outside of YouTube.

So me and @IAMJHUD sang some public domain last night! https://t.co/7S0tiDkSV9

- James Corden (@JKCorden) April 5, 2016

YouTube offers you the following options for promoting your content across networks:

  • Publish Your videos and your channel on radio or television, on websites, in forums, newsletters or on other social media platforms. Link your YouTube channel as often as possible, on websites, blogs or online magazines.
  • Take advantage of the YouTube APIs and create YouTube buttons that you can integrate on your website. These buttons show that you are present on YouTube and link directly to your YouTube channel.
  • In principle, allow that Embedso that others can share your videos too. Use the “Embed Video” URL available for each video and embed it on your website. Also send these links to blogs interested in your content.
  • Your video is a Product test? The video tags should contain as much of the following information as possible: UPC, EAN, ISBN, MPN, model name and brand. As an example: For the “ReadyNAS Duo” you should add “UPC: 0606449056822, MPN: RND2150-100NAS, Brand: NetGear” as tags.

YouTube is an incredibly powerful and valuable social network. If you heed our tips, you will, on the one hand, make your YouTube channel better known and thus support your company. And you will grow your social media community and ensure more engagement from your users.

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This article was originally written by Dara Fontein and was published on our global blog under the title “11 Smart Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel”.

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By Kurt Mattich

Kurt Mattich is a dedicated Marketing Coordinator at Hootsuite and oversees content creation, events and webinars for the DACH region and the UK. In addition to social media, he is enthusiastic about yoga and all outdoor activities.