So you’ve officially launched your YouTube channel.
Congratulations! YouTube has over one billion users (that’s about 1 in 3 people on the internet!) so you’re in great company and have found an awesome place to grow your business.
However, you’re just getting started. Having an account is great, but how will you promote that account now that it’s live?
Chances are you’re already active on other forms of social media and that’s exactly where you should begin.
Commit to these 9 strategies and watch your YouTube account blossom.
01. Build excitement by cross-promoting teasers and videos
If you’ve got a following on Facebook, they are ready and waiting to become loyal fans of your YouTube—if you go about introducing it in the right way.
Let’s take a look at a company who mastered this “build up” tactic by actually launching their brand on Instagram.
The team behind Glossier played up their beauty brand with pictures of their inspiration boards and models donning everything from branded stickers to sweatshirts with simply the company name attached.
The first video wasn’t live for a solid a year after the launch of the brand — but they have experienced some pretty serious success since.
In terms of content creation, what are they doing right? The brand has become especially well-known and well-loved by their “Get Ready With Me (otherwise known as #GRWM)” series that’s then cross-promoted on all of their other social media channels. They also have the series grouped in a playlist on their YouTube account.
Biggest takeaways for you from the exciting Glossier brand launch?
- Tease your established fan base on other social media channels with hints about something new to come (your YouTube channel!).
- Once you’re live, create a special series (or a few) that they come to expect and look forward to.
- Utilize a special hashtag for the videos and organize them in YouTube Playlists.
02. Engage, engage, engage your followers
One of the best ways to ensure the cross-promotion of one social media channel on another is to always engage with your fans and companies you admire yourself. Never underestimate the value of this step. It seems so simple, but can easily be overlooked as a tedious task when there’s a lot to do.
Whether it be directly on YouTube or one of your other social media sites, make sure you’re responding to people’s likes and comments quickly. And don’t simply say: “Thank you!” and move on, try to actually start a conversation. Ask if there’s something they would like to see in your next video, or if they have any suggestions to offer for improvement.
@JetBlue is a great example of a company who is not only listening, but actively engaging with their customers on a daily basis. If you look at the “tweets and replies” section of their Twitter account you will find that even if it’s a negative tweet from someone, they do their best to address it and attempt to resolve the problem quickly.
The more your fans know you’re paying attention to them, the more likely they are to remain engaged and share your content with their friends. When they know you’re listening, they feel valued and respected and are much more likely to remain loyal to your company (across all channels).
A great tool to acknowledge your fan base is with a “follower benchmark” social media post like these:
Make sure to share these types of exciting numbers on channels other than your YouTube account as another subtle prompt for potential new followers to go check out your YouTube page.
03. Perfect Your Video Thumbnails
YouTube thumbnails must be less than 2 MB in size, and they also recommend the resolution be 1280 x 720. Video thumbnails might be small, but they are arguably one of the biggest things you can focus on (after making your video) to successfully promote your videos across other social media platforms.
Consider your YouTube thumbnail your business card for the page. It will show up not only on your homepage, but when people search for a specific video, and when a video is shared.
Luckily, you can create a totally custom and actionable YouTube thumbnail through Canva to drive more traffic to your page. Upload the specific dimensions you want and Canva will help you design the rest! Simply click on the “use custom dimensions” tab on your homepage to begin.
When designing your thumbnails, use this checklist to ensure they’re as effective as possible:
- Use simple, clear text that describes what your video is all about.
- Embed your logo in one of the bottom corners.
- When thinking about color, use complementary ones, or make them BRIGHT!
- As always, be consistent with your brand. Stick with the same font type, color scheme, and/or general layout so your videos are easily recognizable as your brand.
04. Post unique promotional content on your social media accounts
If you already have a strong fan base on Instagram, for example, make sure you have a clear vision that is different from your YouTube account. While your voice should remain consistent, why would a user want to follow on multiple channels if it’s the exact same content they’re already getting from you?
Try sharing a “behind-the-scenes” clip on Instagram to get those followers excited to watch your YouTube videos as well. Or if you’re sharing a blog post on Facebook one week about healthy eating, mention that you will have a YouTube video up soon that shows some great workout moves to go along with your new diet plan from the blog. Same voice, different content.
While actor @ansel might not be a YouTube sensation, he is revered by teenagers on the big screen. He shared this still from the extremely successful The Fault In Our Stars movie on his Instagram account and his fans thoroughly appreciated the cross-promotion for the movie.
05. Host cool contests
People love a good contest. Whether it’s hosted on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube itself, if done effectively, it can offer you a LOT of cross-promotion and hopefully a big crop of new fans on your YouTube page.
Vans Custom Culture is a master at hosting successful contests on their social media channels. With over 80,000 likes on their Facebook page, they are proving that their passion for helping students embrace their creativity is, in turn, doing great things for their company as a whole.
The premise of their yearly contest is opening up a registration to schools across the U.S. to be one of the first 1,500 to enter. If they succeed in making that cut, the school then receives four pairs of Vans to design however they want. Photos of the final products are then uploaded to the Vans website and voted on. In this year’s 2016 contest, the winning school receives $50,000 for their art program.
Now if your company isn’t as big as Vans, they are a great inspiration. Whatever your YouTube channel is about, it exists because you’re passionate about it. Center your contest around your content, and if it’s successful, why not repeat it each year? And on the small scale? Something as simple as liking your YouTube page to count as an entry can work wonders.
Here are a few ideas you can set up as Facebook posts:
06. Never underestimate analytics
If your YouTube channel is relatively new or hasn’t been active in a long time, your analytics will probably be inaccurate for awhile. Try looking at your Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, or any other social platform where you’re most active.
Take special care to determine these questions, and then dig in even deeper:
- What day(s) of the week are your fans most active?
- What time of day are your fans most engaged?
- What types of content get the most traction?
Knowing your analytics like the back of your hand is a pivotal aspect in successfully promoting your YouTube channel on social media. You can post all the videos you want, but posting with intention will always pay off.
07. Be consistent
While starting a YouTube channel is great, before you even open an account you should commit to being consistent. While you don’t have to be completely rigid all the time (whether it’s a busy holiday season or you’re featuring something new and exciting and want to post more often), your fans and potential fans will come to expect new videos on the schedule you set.
A great way to hold yourself accountable to consistency on your YouTube channel, and then cross-promoting it, is to create appropriate hashtags related to the day of the week and the topic of the video. So maybe it’s “#tacotuesday” if you’re doing food videos, or “#fashionfriday” if you’re covering lifestyle and fashion trends.
Another way to stay consistent is with your brand messaging across all your channels. So if you’re promoting your newest YouTube video on your Twitter account, maybe you always use the same Canva template to announce it but switch up the background color and title of the video.
08. Trust collaboration
When thinking about strategies to promote your YouTube channel across social media, getting involved with another company, especially one in the same arena, is probably the last thing on your mind. But there’s a popular saying that “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
Make a point to reach out to people on social media in a similar space as your own to discuss the possibility of collaboration on your YouTube channels. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. Create an email template that you can shoot out to lots of different companies you would love to work with (of course editing slightly each time to make them personal) and hit “send!”
Partnerships like these are mutually beneficial and very cost effective. While you’re sharing content with your audience, you’ll also double your exposure by sharing on the partner channel, so make it count!
09. Be unconventional!
Finally, be unconventional. No matter what field you’re in, chances are there is an industry standard YouTube video. Do the opposite! You don’t want to blend in with your competition and you definitely don’t want to be boring.
Think about the YouTube videos you’ve seen that went viral on social media. BuzzFeed Food is a wonderful example. If you’re on Facebook, and you HAVEN’T seen one of their catchy homemade food videos, you’re missing out. These YouTube videos shared on their Facebook pages (and other social channels) regularly go viral. And the highest viewed of them all? “Cake Eggs.”
With over six million views on YouTube and 11 million views on Facebook and counting, it’s everything that distinguishes a great, shareable YouTube food video from one that just doesn’t do as well.
It’s unique, not too long, and has easy to read and follow instructions. It successfully targeted several different demographics of viewers: People who thought it was weird/funny and would make a friend laugh, people who genuinely wanted to try and make the recipe and shared with a friend, and probably people who just really enjoy cake and know most other people do too!
The title and description of your videos are also very important. Think about these things when considering what to title your next YouTube video in order to best optimize it for sharing on social media:
- Be concise, but unique (and funny if appropriate).
- Use keywords that resonate with your brand.
- Incorporate a trending hashtag or one you’ve used successfully on another platform.
Here’s another trick: Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts with your YouTube account so all the videos you publish automatically gets promoted on your social media accounts. To do that, just hop on to your YouTube settings and select Connected Accounts. Click on the accounts you want to link to, enter in your login info, and authorize YouTube to automatically publish videos.
Over to you
And there you have it! Easy right? OK, maybe not easy, but just take it one step at a time. Social media is always changing, so you have to be adaptable, too. It’s alright if your first attempt at a contest fails miserably, or you forget to respond to a few comments on a video as quick as you hoped to.
Stay passionate, post consistently, and cross-promote like you’re the best cross-promoter that ever walked this planet! You will gain traction on your YouTube and your fan base, across all your social media accounts, will grow right along with you.