Since its creation in 2005, YouTube has become more than just a place to watch funny videos. Instead, YouTube receives one billion unique visitors a month and has become the world’s second largest search engine, a place for users to explore their topics of interest and a springboard for internet fame. While the puppy and kitten videos can still be found, YouTube has become a place for how-to videos, behind-the-scenes looks, and niche point-of-view videos from users with varying expertise. It may seem easy to point, shoot, and voila!—a video is made—but let’s explore some of the strategy behind those videos.
DO OR DON’T
The comments on YouTube are infamous for being meaningless and often run by trolls, or those that troll the internet to make distasteful comments. Many brands shut off their comments to escape the negativity. You may opt to leave comments on to see what type of engagement occurs, and that is okay. However, do not leave comments on and ignore them; either engage with users or don’t.
CREATING HOW-TO CONTENT
Users often head to YouTube to seek out tutorials and how-to videos (e.g., sleeve rolling), which are incredibly valuable when establishing authenticity, creating a need to follow your brand, and helping your audience better understand the inner workings of the Army National Guard. Additionally, videos can offer users an inside look at specific MOSs, live event coverage, or a question-and-answer session.
This exclusive content can take the form of live events, a walkthrough of equipment or technical gear exclusive to the Army National Guard, or even insider brand news, such as Guard activation or natural disaster relief. Giving these audiences exclusive access to different types of content will make them feel included and “in the know.” Additionally, creating channel-specific content gives each individual a reason to follow you on more than one profile or channel, increasing the depth of their relationship.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Uploaded videos should be as high quality as possible. Blurry, dark, or shaky videos are not effective in engaging audiences, since they may have trouble determining what they’re watching. Furthermore, audiences view content on multiple devices—desktops, smartphones, tablets—and the quality is not always the same. At the state level, managing a YouTube account can be difficult without the assistance of public affairs. Consider adding videos based on your ability to produce high-quality videos.
YOUTUBE BEST PRACTICES
YouTube allows users to get a glimpse into your brand and, potentially, take a journey with you, whether through a how-to video or by simply learning more. Keep the following best practices in mind when using YouTube:
If comments are enabled, make sure you moderate them and stay engaged, as YouTube is more prone than other platforms to generate spam or “trolling” comments. Combat unnecessary comments by hiding or deleting them, and if necessary, block users who are creating chaos.
FAVORITING AND SUBSCRIBING TO OTHER CHANNELS
If you “favorite” a video, it also shows up on your profile page as a video you favorited, and it is shared with your friends and subscribers. Subscribing to someone’s channel means that you’ll see all of their latest uploads and favorites on a feed on your page. This is the equivalent of following someone on Twitter, so keep in mind who you’re subscribing to and the videos you “like” when representing your brand.
Lucky for you, YouTube accepts nearly every video format known. Uploading a video is simple; however, filling out the information about the video takes time. It is best to make sure that your description is search engine- and/or user-optimized. This means that your title and keywords are target-specific and that your videos are properly categorized. Every bit of relevant information that you add to your YouTube upload creates more opportunity for people to find your video, making it accessible for all types of users and search bots. After you’ve uploaded your video, the Basic Video Profile Load screen below will come up and request that you provide information, including your title, description, and tags.
If you have a Twitter or Google+ page linked to your YouTube account, you can share your newest video to those accounts by selecting their icon.