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I was fortunate enough to attend a three-day workshop earlier this year with YouTube, helping brands develop their approach to using the platform – setting objectives, optimising content, cross promotion etc.


And it certainly appears that for the majority of brands YouTube, and video in general, remains one piece of the social media puzzle they’ve not cracked. Some of the biggest brands in the UK, who have well-developed and sizeable audiences on other networks such as Facebook and Twitter, have untidy YouTube channels which host content that’s not fit for purpose. Regardless of how much or little resource is allocated to managing social media, there’s no excuse for a poorly organised, unprofessional presence.

So why does activity around video lag so much? Here are six thoughts:

  • As the biggest networks, Facebook and Twitter simply take up the majority of everyone’s focus – and these are still rooted in copy and imagery
  • Many marketers still perceive YouTube as a place to link through to, to watch a video, rather than a place to subscribe to a channel – a completely different mindset to Gen Y
  • The perception of “quality video content” is that it must be highly polished and beautifully edited, as per traditional “video” – which translates to considerable expense and time (whereas it should instead focus on being authentic)
  • Branded video was traditionally “the TV ad” and brands find it difficult to get out of this mindset and into one of true “content marketing”
  • Brands are usually setup to be able to create copy and imagery swiftly, but not video (if you want to quickly film a six second Vine video, where do you go?)
  • There are lots of tips and tricks for optimising video on social networks, which (although simple) require a little extra training or knowledge to implement

As a result many brands are stuck posting TV ads, or heavily branded videos, across their social networks which a) aren’t optimised for the platform b) aren’t the type of content people want to watch.

But all this doom and gloom doesn’t mean brands should give up. Rather they should just get the basics in place, focus on what really works and take it from there. Just by investing a small amount of time, everyone should…

  • Use built-in features such as playlists and shelves to organise your YouTube channel and make it nice and neat (and look good on mobile).
  • Review the title, description and tags on every video to make sure they tell the viewer exactly what it is, in language they’ll actually use.
  • Use a custom thumbnail image for each video – don’t just use the default option.
  • Create multiple edits to use as “trailers” across different social platforms.
  • Encourage viewers to subscribe to a channel, not just watch a single video (assuming your content is up to scratch)

There’s a whole array of other aspects on video that I’ll cover in future posts around things such as creating authentic content, programmatic scheduling and collaborations.

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