30 proven strategies for promoting your YouTube channel

9-strategies-for-promoting-your-youtube-channel-and-videos-on-social-media

Believe it or not, YouTube isn’t just for gamers or makeup gurus.

It’s actually an incredibly powerful marketing tool for brands and individuals across many different industries. In fact, 78. of marketers say that YouTube is the most effective video marketing platform, beating Facebook and Instagram. In a time where video content reigns supreme, that's an impressive stat that's hard to ignore!

Why YouTube?

Via Unsplash.

So, what makes YouTube such a marketing powerhouse? Firstly, it has incredible reach, especially amongst young people. Research shows that a whopping 81% of US internet users aged between 15 and 25 use the platform.

Not only does YouTube have over two billion monthly users, but viewers are highly engaged—with the average user spending 11.50 minutes on the platform every day.  What’s more, these viewers are actually open to buying from businesses—with 90% of shoppers having discovered new brands through the platform.

The video medium also tends to be far more engaging than static images, and allows content creators to speak more directly to their audience. This helps to build the all-important like, trust and know factor with potential customers .  YouTube is also incredibly versatile. Whether it’s instructional videos, an interview series or an informal Q+A, there are so many different formats you can use to entertain and educate your audience. 

30 ways to promote your YouTube content

If you’re not already creating videos for your brand on YouTube, now is the time to jump on board! However, creating your account and posting your first video is only one part of the equation. To  make sure your awesome content gets seen, it’s important to optimize and promote your content just like you would with any other marketing platform. The good news is, there are tried-and-tested strategies that will set your channel up for success!

Commit to these 30 strategies to grow your YouTube and watch your fanbase blossom !

01. Cross-promote on your other channels

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.

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The 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.

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).

03. Perfect your YouTube thumbnails

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.

Canva's Personal Vlog YouTube Thumbnail template is the perfect starting point for your own video art.

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.

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.

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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, even 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. Centre your contest around your content, and if it’s successful, why not repeat it each year? And on a smaller scale? Something as simple as liking your YouTube page to count as an entry can work wonders.

Consider using a template like Canva's Elegant Contest Ad template to announce your YouTube competition.

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. Canva has a series of easily customizable templates in different colors like the below series you can repurpose and use time and time again.

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Edit this design in Canva

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Edit this design in Canva

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Edit this design in Canva

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!

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 have gone viral on social media. Tasty (formerly 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. They're unique, not too long, and have easy to follow instructions. While many YouTube food accounts have tried to copy their style, they remain the first and original who blazed their own trail.

10. Optimize your YouTube titles

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.

YouTuber Sarah's Day often uses capitalized letters to grab the viewer's attention in her titles

11. Nail your video SEO

Speaking of optimization, keep in mind that YouTube is owned by Google. This means that YouTube is essentially a search engine of its own, which means that SEO (search engine optimization) is key.

You'll want to make sure your content is being found by the types of people who are searching for it, by including target keywords in your video titles and description. The same goes for your channel description.

For example, if you offer productivity tips on your channel, you'll want to make sure the keyword 'productivity tips' is littered everywhere throughout your channel. This means not only your lists, metadata, description, and the videos themselves, but also your transcripts, closed captions, and subtitles.

YouTuber Erin May Henry nails the SEO for her productivity content

Also, remember that your content searchable both inside and out of YouTube. So, by making sure yours are well-optimized, you'll also give potential customers or views to stumble upon your content when searching for other things on Google.

12. Connect your other social accounts

Here's a handy 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.

13. Create a series

In order to build a loyal and captivated YouTube audience, you need to do get them excited about your new content. There's no better way to do than by creating series!

This is when you drip-feed a sequence of themed videos to your audience—usually at the same time every week, month or fortnight. Just like a great TV series, this will have your audience eagerly anticipating your content. Or, they may choose to binge-watch a bunch of videos in your series all at once. Either way, they'll be hooked!

Digital media company Refinery29 hosts a range of series within its YouTube channel

You can set up a series in YouTube by heading to your playlists, and selecting the videos you want to make up your official series.

14. Cross-promote your podcast

While podcasts are known for being mainly audio, YouTube is actually the most popular destination for consuming this type of content.

In fact, data shows that 43% people listen to their podcasts on YouTube—even more than Apple or Spotify! Cross-posting your podcast episodes is an excellent way to direct your existing audience to your YouTube channel and vice versa. There's a couple of different ways you can do this. You could record your episodes as videos, and repurpose the audio onto your podcast channels.

Matt D'Avella posts his podcast recordings on his YouTube channel, The Ground Up Shpw

Or, you could take the audio and accompany it with a still image with subtitles of your interview. Either way, you're skyrocketing the reach of your episodes and making your content work smarter, not harder!

15. Create playlists of your content

Playlists are an awesome way to get viewers hooked on your YouTube  These are videos grouped by topics, appearing in a list format. They're excellent for when you produce content on a few different topics, and want to make it easy for users to navigate your channel. The best thing about playlists is that the videos automatically play in order, one video after the other.

Much like a great Netflix show, this encourages viewers to binge-watch your content—which can help turn them into raving fans.

16. Create mini video teasers

When promoting your YouTube videos, you want to tease your audience. That is, you give them just enough information to pique their interest, but not so much that there's no need for them to watch the full video.

Creating mini video teasers is a great way to achieve this. These are graphics that take a short snippet of your episode (normally less than 30 seconds) and accompanying them with the subtitles of your audio. You can also do this by using just the audio from your episode and pairing it with a still image. Then, you can post these on your social media channels with a call-to-action to head to your YouTube channel.

You can make mini video teasers in Canva, by using a template like the Pink and Blue Bordered Beauty Guru Video Facebook post. Just make sure you have the correct dimension size for the platform you're posting on—whether that's Twitter, IGTV or Facebook. You can do this with the click of a button with Canva Pro's 'Magic Resize' button.

17. Beautify your banner art

Your YouTube banner is often one of the first things someone sees when they stumble upon your channel. So, it's important to make it count!

This is the horizontal graphic that sits above your channel name and videos. Your banner should, of course, be eye-catching, aesthetically-pleasing and showcase your brand personality. However, it should also be informative—giving viewers a glimpse into the type of content you post. So, as well as your name and logo, consider using a short, snappy tagline that sums up what you do and what your videos cover.

Top YouTuber David Dobrik uses an eye-catching banner to announce his posting schedule

Tell your viewers exactly what your channel is all about, with a stunning banner like Canva's Green and Pink Stripes Artists & Illustrators Influencer Maximalism YouTube Channel Art template

18. Post it on your blog

While video is king at the moment, don't underestimate the power of the written word. Posting about your video on the blog section of your website is an excellent way to amplify the reach of your content.

You can do this by getting your video transcribed (ie. the audio turned into written text) and publishing it verbatim, or just by writing a short summary of what the video is about. Then, you can  embed the video inside the blog post, and direct your readers to watch the full video.

This strategy is a win-win, because data shows that blog posts that include video drive 50% more web traffic. So, you'll likely be attracting more people to your website too, where they'll be more likely to purchase from you.

19. Make friends with the algorithm

Just like social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, YouTube has an algorithm. This is in-built machine learning that helps them show the most relevant videos to viewers. So, to ensure your content is getting shown to the right viewers, it's important to understand what YouTube likes and doesn't like. Of course, just like any other algorithm, this changes all the time. But, things like high-quality content that adds value and well-optimized descriptions never go out of style!

20. Translate your videos

Billions of people from more than 100 countries around the world watch YouTube. So, in order to grow your audience, it's important to make it accessible to a global audience. Translating your video content is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to do this!

YouTube offers a range of ways to add subtitles to your videos, including adding your own from an external tool, using their automatic, machine-generated or translations (although the accuracy varies!) or community contributions. Adding subtitles is also a great way to make your content more accessible to hard-of-hearing or deaf viewers, non-native speakers, and viewers in loud environments. That means more eyes and ears on your content!

21. Create seasonal content

Many people on YouTube are searching for content for specific occasions—whether that's costume makeup ideas for Halloween, cooking ideas for Thanksgiving or Christmas gift shopping suggestions. So, incorporating seasonal videos into your YouTube strategy is an excellent way to get your content found.

Sure, these videos might not perform quite as well year-round as your more evergreen content, but it's a great way to attract new viewers. Be sure to check out holiday and special event calendars so you can tailor your content for anything coming up. Also factor in things like back to school term dates and the different seasons, as these can also make great inspiration for content.

22. Pin it

To really amplify the reach of your seasonal video content, try combining it with Pinterest. After all, it's a platform where seasonal content reigns supreme! Pinterest has introduced video functionality fairly recently, so for many content creators it remains an untapped goldmine for building your YouTube audience.

Consider embedding a snippet of your YouTube video into a Pinterest pin like Canva's Purple and Cream Nature Pinterest Video template and pinning it with a call-to-action to watch the whole video (as well as link to your YouTube video)

23. Embed it into your email marketing

Many marketers feel like they need an 'excuse' to email their mailing list. A new YouTube video is the perfect opportunity!

Most good email marketing providers will allow you to embed your YouTube right into your email, so that they can watch it straight from the email (and it will still count towards your total views) Of course, most people would prefer to watch the video in their browser, so be sure to make it easy for them to do so, too. Be sure to create an eye-catching video thumbnail to draw in your subscribers, as well as a short description of what the video is about.

24. Hold joint webinars

Another great way to collaborate with other content creators and expand your reach is with JV (joint venture) webinars. This is when you go on another person's platform (in this case, their YouTube account) to teach about a certain topic and vice versa.  You can also choose to teach a webinar or workshop together on a topic you've both knowledgeable account.

It's an excellent and mutually-beneficial strategy that gives you access to a similar audience in your space. Not only do you get to give your audience valuable content, but you'll likely gain yourself some new viewers, too!

24. Participate in challenges

Taking part in YouTube and social media challenges it an awesome way to boost the timeliness and virality of your content. In fact, research shows that on average, challenge videos get more views on regular videos. Why? Because they're usually fun, hilarious and encourage a sense of community. If you're a business, they can also be a great way to showcase your less serious and more relatable side.

'My Boyfriend Does My Makeup' is a popular challenge on YouTube. Via VloggingPro

From food challenges like 'Hungry Hippos' to the 'Asking My Boyfriend To Do My Makeup' beauty videos, there are thousands of different challenges on YouTube, and new ones are popping up all the time. So, keep an eye out for new ones you can stick your teeth into.

25. Include strong calls to action

Want to know the best way to get people to subscribe to your videos. Ask them! There's a good reason pretty much every successful YouTuber still has this line in their video: "Make sure you like and subscribe to my channel to get notified about new videos." Often, if you don't directly give your viewers this instruction, they'll forget! Consider putting this call to action not only at the end of the video (where many people have already dropped off, no matter how great your content is), but also at the start. It should also be included within the description and in the graphic slides of your video.

Consider using a template like Canva's Pink Nostalgia Artists and Illustrators Collection YouTube Outro to remind viewers to subscribe.

26. Premiere your videos

In showbiz, movie premieres have typically been used to build anticipation around a film. You can use the same strategy for your YouTube videos! The in-built 'premiere' feature allows you to schedule a video in advance of it actually going up.

Not only is it a great way to generate excitement and hype around your video, it also allows you to watch your video at the same time as your audience and be around to engage with their comments. Plus, it can help keep you accountable with your posting schedule and ensure you post when you say you're going to. The 'premiere' feature is particularly helpful if you're releasing a series of videos in the same topic, as you can use the previous video to announce the next one.

27. Go live

While it's known mainly for pre-recorded videos, YouTube is actually the biggest platform for live streaming! Going live on YouTube is another great way to increase the reach and engagement of your content. Sure, it gives you less control over your content, but there's just something so much more exciting and raw about a video unfolding in real time. Plus, your followers will get notifications that you're going live!

So, what do you use the live streaming feature for on YouTube? It generally works best for Q+A style format, or live, podcast-style interviews.

Joe Rogan often livestreams his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, on YouTube

29. Promote your content on TikTok

It's no secret that the popularity of TikTok has exploded recently, especially with younger people. While it's unlikely that the bite-sized video platform will ever completely replace YouTube (the two have fairly different purposes, after all!), it can certainly be used to supplement your strategy.

Some content creators choose to splice their TikTok videos into shorter, 15-second videos (the maximum limit on TikTok) and overlay a call-to-action to watch the full video on YouTube. You can also link your YouTube account to TikTok to give your viewers easier access. It's a great way to gain access to a younger and highly engaged audience!

30. Ask your audience what they want

One of the best ways to ensure you're posting high-quality content for your audience is to actually ask them what they want to watch! You can do this by simply requesting in your videos that your audience let them know in the comments whether they want to watch more similar content, or if they have other topics they'd like you to cover.

You can also hold 'polls' in the community tab on your channel. Not only does this help ensure you're creating valuable and entertaining videos, but it's also a great way to engage with your YouTube fanbase.

Including Canva's Yellow and Black Talkshow Comedy Youtube Video Outro template  is the perfect way to ask your audience for feedback. Just personalize it with your own branding and you're good to go.

Ready to grow your YouTube channel?

How you get the word out about your YouTube videos is almost equally as important as the quality of the content itself! But by following the simple strategies in this article, you'll learn to promote your YouTube channel like a pro and grow your fanbase (and your wider brand!)

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