Pause that clip for a minute – are you using YouTube to its full potential? You can press play again in a minute but for now, ask yourself, “How many subscribers do I have on my YouTube channel?”
If your answer is “not many” then you are probably not using YouTube to its full potential. This is not surprising, in fact, too many businesses use YouTube as online storage for their videos. To them, it is essentially a place to keep their videos, and it makes them easily shareable to other social media platforms and their websites.
If this story sounds familiar then you will probably learn a lot from this article, because YouTube is actually a really powerful platform. It can not only help you generate additional revenue for your business, but can also drive traffic, generate leads and increase sales.
To make the most of YouTube, you are going to have to commit to using it as more than online storage, in the following ways.
1. YOUTUBE PLAYLISTS
As you start to upload more videos, you will start to identify some common themes and some of your longer videos can be shortened to make them more accessible to viewers.
Organizing your content into playlists will help keep users engaged for two reasons:
- They will be able to easily find content related to the video they are watching
- YouTube will automatically play another one of your videos once they one they are watching finishes.
In other words, playlists are a great way to show more of your brand.
Playlists allow you to create videos in a specific sequence, which can be great for things like story telling or tutorials where it is important to provide the content in a specific order.
YouTube have secretly increased the playlists limit from 200 videos and there is no limit to the number of separate playlists you can create.
You can also keep playlists private, if you wish. This can be particularly useful for sharing certain content with users who have purchased some videos, like a training course.
2. MAKE INTERACTIVE QUIZZES
Have you noticed the floating boxes that are present on many YouTube videos? They’re called annotations and can be used to send traffic to other content or videos.
Using annotations gives you the option to ask questions to viewers, and based on their answers direct them to a different video – or even another part of your video.
For example, in the following video you can change the chords play by clicking on the buttons below – which are just annotations (click on the image to watch the actual video)
This technique could also be very useful to create video-quizzes and polls.
You may have noticed in your Facebook feed that most people seem to love quizzes – What color is your personality? Which Game of Thrones character are you? How do you waste more time online.
Due to this, video quizzes are a great way to keep users active and engaged with your channel because you can keep them interested as you move them through different sections of your content.
The method is quite simple:
- Start with a video that asks a question
- Include two or more annotations (one for each answer)
- Link the annotations to additional videos (or other pages)
You will need to do a little bit of forward planning as you’ll need to have the quiz structure created with a range of different videos ready (one for each link).
The following video (part of a playlist) is an excellent example of how this could be applied to create user engagement (click on the image to access the quiz)
You could also use this technique to create polls, which could be very useful to gather insights from users. For example, you could show some of your products and ask viewers to click on their favorite.
Some years ago YouTube tested a similar option to run surveys, where the answers from viewers would be registered and available through your channel analytics. Unfortunately this feature is no longer available, and now the only way to track results is using the annotations report.
3. BOOST YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC
Lots of people use the video description section to include links to other websites. How many viewers do do think actually read the video description? I can’t imagine it would be many, plus the amount of users clicking on these links isn’t high.
For this reason annotations are a much better alternative to drive traffic, simply because they are more visible to the user and thus there are more chances the link will be seen and clicked on.
A couple of issues with this you should be aware of are:
- Using lots of annotations on videos will annoy and distract viewers
- Annotations only work on the desktop version of YouTube. So people watching your video on mobile devices or even on players embedded on other sites won’t be able to see them. Due to this you could lose a large amount of traffic (remembering that 50% of users access via mobile!)
It’s okay though, because there is an even better way to provide links in an engaging way.
Allow me to introduce YouTube Cards!
YouTube cards are not as intrusive as annotations and provide additional content in an engaging way. They can include a featured image, title, call-to-action etc. Most importantly, they work on mobile devices!
You can see an example of a Card (with a featured Call-to-action) in the following image.
YouTube cards have only recently been released, but early reports suggest they provide higher engagement with better CTR (probably thanks to their call-to-action and featured image options) and since they work on mobile they could double your overall traffic.
So regardless whether you use the easy link in the description, in video annotations or the newest cards, YouTube is a terrific way to boost your overall traffic.
4. LIVE STREAM EVENTS
As YouTube is a social media platform, engaging with viewers will certainly help your brand and get you more exposure.
Hhe only way most people engage with viewers on YouTube is by monitoring comments on each video and interacting with them.
A much better way to do this is to engage users in a live event!
With apps like Meerkat and Periscope taking over the world of live streaming videos, it is the perfect time to talk about a feature that has been available for a few years and that only a few have been using.
Live streaming a video on YouTube provides some great benefits, many of which are not offered by mobile live streaming platforms like Meerkat or Periscope.
- Users enjoy exclusive content because it is a live broadcast and information is shared right here, right now
- It is possible to interact with viewers in real time (and they may have access to chat)
- You can include a stream delay of 30 or 60 seconds, which could help to pause the stream if something goes wrong
- The stream is recorded and saved directly to YouTube
- The live stream can be broadcasted on other channels and platforms via embedded video, which allows you to broadcast on your website or other channels including Facebook and Twitter!
Video streaming is without a doubt one of the best ways to engage with your audience and YouTube is the perfect tool for this!
As you can see, YouTube is much more than a place to store videos, and even if Facebook is getting in the video spotlight at the moment, YouTube still has some great applications to help you promote your business online.
Don’t forget that YouTube is still the second most used Search Engine for finding content online, so create great videos, have a good SEO strategy and users will find you!
Do you have an active YouTube channel? Have you participated (as an organizer or as a viewer) in any live stream video on YouTube? What do you think of the new YouTube cards? Let’s discuss in the comments section below!