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We all know and love YouTube for its enormous collection of videos ranging from hilarious to poignant to downright astounding. Undiscovered talent, vloggers, and hosts of other talented people and groups have built cult-like followings on YouTube and have millions of subscribers. Their viewers return day after day to watch the latest videos and share their thoughts in the comment sections.

These individuals are not the only ones who have capitalized on YouTube’s power as a marketing platform. “YouTube is used by 55% of B2B marketers, and 55% of B2C social media marketers who participated” according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. If you thought YouTube wasn’t for your small business, this study shows it is a responsive platform to different businesses and industries.

Want to take the plunge into the world of YouTube? Here are key tips for seamlessly integrating a YouTube channel into your social media marketing strategy and driving views and subscribers.

Build it into your overall social media marketing strategy

Align YouTube goals with your overall social media marketing strategy. YouTube should make up a piece of your marketing strategy pie and be consistent with your other platforms’ messages, content, and posting frequency. Determine which platforms make the most sense for your target audience, and post original and repurposed content regularly. Set goals for your YouTube channel and analyze the metrics to see what types of content and topics your audience gravitates toward most. Allocating proportionate time to YouTube will pay dividends in the long run, as it is another way to promote your brand across channels, and reinforce your brand’s presence in its industry.

This is also the place to identify unique characteristics of your brand. Do you have a tagline, a particular cadence, or a preferred photo filter that is used in every post, picture or video on other channels? If so, apply it to your YouTube presence, too. Recognizable traits bring viewers back regardless of platform because people want familiarity when it comes to their favorite brands and businesses. Repetition builds loyal customers and reinforces the tenets of your business.

Make it pleasing (aesthetically and otherwise)

This may seem incredibly obvious, but no one is going to watch a video if they aren’t intrigued by the associated images. Put thought into the landing still image viewers see in their search results. “The most engaging YouTube videos are global, funny, and heartwarming,” according to Margaret Dawson of Rival IQ. Think about how the image and video content will resonate with your audience. A good gut check is to ask, “Would I click on this video link?” If you wouldn’t open it, brainstorm what would pique a viewer’s interest.

After the viewer opens the link, you have very little time to keep them watching.

“Eight seconds is the average length of time that a viewer lasts before they decide whether they’re going to be interested in a video enough to make it through a good duration of it, ” states Amy Schmittaeur, Founder & Face of SavvySexySocial.com.

Eight seconds is nothing! When creating a video, keep this in mind. The opening of the video isn’t a warm up before you get to the good stuff. Your content needs to be front and center. Your viewer must be hooked almost instantaneously, either with a question to be answered later, a meaningful quote, a clear statement of your video’s subject, or a bold statement that will be clarified further in the video. Your intro has to pack a punch to get viewers to stick around and absorb your quality content.

Optimize your keywords for search engine results

You’ve spent time and effort putting together great content; don’t let it get lost by not optimizing your video headlines, title tags, and alt image descriptions. Your keywords should be present in your content, so that when searched, your videos show up on the first page of a results page. Be sure to include your keywords in your videos’ titles. It’s easy to go off course and create a punny headline that does not include your keywords, but if they’re not in your headline, then they won’t show up in search results. If people can’t find your videos, they can’t watch them; it’s as simple as that. The same goes for image tags and descriptions. Make the most of these hidden gems to boost your SEO rankings and claim your place as an industry leader.

Encourage engagement

Believe it or not, but YouTube was created to be a forum for community building and social interaction. Transform your YouTube channel from a passive receptacle for videos into an interactive space for engagement. Be responsive to comments, likes, dislikes, and other sharing that happens on your page.  Creating a safe space for dialogue amongst your subscribers garners return visits and traffic to your page.

Now you’re equipped to launch a successful YouTube channel and enhance your marketing efforts. Let us know how your channel fares and comment below!

About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.

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