Is your YouTube Channel Attracting the Right People?
After attending #SMMW23, I am rethinking my YouTube strategy. YouTube is not for me; it is for my viewers. All the content on your YouTube channel must be for your viewers and educational, entertaining, or whatever your viewers want. It cannot be about you, the business owner. If your channel is all about promoting YOU – it is time to rethink YouTube!
YouTube used to show videos to people from keywords – matching your video to what someone types into the search box. That is not true anymore and has not been for many years. However, people still treat their YouTube channel as if it is true. They keyword stuff the descriptions and over-tag the videos; tags no longer need to be used. Youtube has taken away all the indicators that people “gamed.”
Rethinking Youtube – Viewer Signals are Essential
What are viewer signals? YouTube now uses this to decide who to show your video to. It is how your videos get discovered. Here are some of the viewer signals that they use:
- Watch time – how long does a person watch your video? The longer they watch, the better the indicator.
- How many videos were watched – are people watching one of your videos then watching another? This indicates they are really into your content. “Daisy-chaining” your videos is a great strategy.
- Sharing – Are people sharing your videos with other users or other platforms? If your video is worth sharing, that is a positive signal.
- Reactions – are people reacting to your videos with likes?
- Comments – This is further down the list because YouTube knows commenting can be fake. But if people ask questions about the video topic in the comments, and you’re answering them, that is a positive signal.
Youtube knows what people like to watch, and they try to match them up to other videos they would like. YouTube wants people to stay on the platform for a long time.
New or Underutilized YouTube Features
What is the Community Tab? This is a newer feature that YouTube has added so that you can build a community around your channel. This is where you can engage your audience. Think of it as an article portion of YouTube. The posts have comments and reactions enabled. The type of posts that are allowed are:
- Text-based posts – These are value-added posts. You can use emojis in these posts, and they can also have links. When adding links consider keeping people on the platform by linking to other videos or channels. Also, consider asking your audience questions, and get them involved.
- Images – These posts can be images only or images with text. Similar to any other social platform posts.
- Image-based polls – Poll your audience about things important to them. Use this to get a pulse on your audience.
- Text-based polls – Use these to get your audience’s opinion on a topic important to them.
- Videos – You can embed videos in this area, and putting a whole video here is not encouraged. If you use videos, link a teaser for the entire video.
Use the Community tab to get to understand your audience better. These posts get displayed to your subscribers and random people that YouTube feels would be a good match for the post.
Using the Chapter feature makes the video more user-friendly for viewers, who can jump to the video section about their questions. When using Chapters, there are two different schools of thought about labeling them.
- Peak curiosity with your labels. This means not using the exact words and making them curious to see what is in that chapter. For example, a video giving three tips to the chapters could be Tip 1, Tip 2, and Tip 3.
- Be specific with your labels. These chapter labels get pulled into search results on major search engines. If you use keywords in the chapter titles, your videos can be displayed in search results.
In Google, Chapters equate to Key Moments. See the image below. This is a screenshot from a search result showing three videos for the search term that all have chapters, and the expanded one shows the Key Moments with the labels displayed.
These are similar to Stories on other platforms, expiring after seven days. Mobile-only videos (vertical) allow you to connect with your audience and are great for behind-the-scenes, casual conversations, and on-the-go videos.
Stories can use a Video Sticker for a CTA and a Mention Sticker.
Stories are a beta feature currently available to channels with over 10,000 subscribers.
You can create the first comment on one of your videos and pin it to the top. How can you use pinned comments?
- Linking to something mentioned in the video, like a pdf, another video, a masterclass, a webinar, etc.
- Ask a question of your viewers. Get them to answer the question in the comments.
- Link to another YouTube video. This will keep your viewers on Youtube and increase your viewer signals.
- Add the time codes to chapters. They are in the video description, but adding them to a pinned comment is more convenient for the viewer.
- Links to affiliate products mentioned in the video.
YouTube Summary with ChatGPT
YouTube creates auto-captions for all videos. However, they are not capitalized or punctuated correctly. Copy the auto-captions, go into ChatGPT, and ask it to punctuate your text correctly. Then paste the corrected text back into YouTube for captions. Take that exact text and ask ChatGPT to create a summary for the video. This is a huge timesaver.
YouTube Shorts are now averaging 50 billion daily views. Are you capturing any of those views? Shorts need to be in your YouTube strategy. These are vertical videos under 60 seconds in length. This is YouTube’s answer to TikTok. Watch a lot of Shorts to get ideas on how to use the platform. Then come up with some ideas for using Shorts on your channel.
YouTube Thumbnails (TN)
I have always added thumbnails that had the video title and other information. This is wrong!
Think of your TN as part of your video, not something added later. Your video title is overlaid on the video when it is not playing, so it does not need to be in the TN. The Thumbnail needs attention-grabbing text, an image, and bright colors. Use drop shadows and outlines on your text to make things stand out. Your TN needs to entice someone to start watching your video.
Here is the mike-drop! Your video starts where your TN leaves off. Do not start your video by asking someone to subscribe or telling someone who you are. They will look at your profile to learn more about you. If your content serves them well, they will subscribe. You have to earn that subscription.
Your TN gets their attention, your title tells them the topic, and your video needs to start immediately, providing value.
Remember the viewer signals? If a viewer clicks off within the first few seconds, that is a bad signal. People do not want to be asked to subscribe. That serves YOU, and you need to serve THEM.
Look at your YouTube channel from your audience’s point of view. Is it serving them? What can you do to serve them better?
This was a key takeaway from Social Media Marketing World.