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How to use YouTube for business

YouTube is one of the most popular social media sites in the world. But how can businesses use the site as part of their social media strategy? Learn how here

Founded in 2005, YouTube is a social media site that allows users to upload, share and comment on video content.

We’re going to focus on using YouTube for business specifically. If you’re looking for more general information on using social media and managing it effectively in a small business, head over to this page to find out why small businesses need social media management.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. How does YouTube work?
  2. Why use YouTube for business?
  3. How to use YouTube for business marketing

You can skip to the section that you want to read about the most, or scroll down to read the whole article.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to compare quotes now for social media management, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

1. How does YouTube work?

YouTube is a social media site specifically designed for uploading and sharing video content. People use it to watch videos and visual content from brands as well as other users, and it’s this user-generated content that YouTube is particularly well-known for.

While the average user may see YouTube as a means of accessing entertainment and visual content, the site represents another platform for businesses to incorporate into their social media strategy.

You can use it to reach your target audience, gain traffic to your site, or offer people a behind-the-scenes look at your operation, to list just a few possible uses.

How to open a YouTube account for business

  1. Sign into YouTube via your Google account
  2. Go to your user icon in the top right hand corner
  3. Find ‘settings’
  4. Select create a new channel
  5. Use the ‘business or other name’ option
  6. Input your business’ name and details
  7. Click ‘create’

Note that you’ll need a Google account to use YouTube (Google bought YouTube in 2006). Remember that this Gmail account should be specific to your business.

You’ll need to create a channel to be able to post and share videos on the site publicly.

Once you’ve created a channel for your business, be sure to follow the tips in the ‘customise channel’ section to ensure your business’ YouTube account is as complete as possible. This includes:

  • Artwork – don't forget: your channel icon and banner are both opportunities to promote your business. Displaying your logo and images of your products can keep viewers curious and help you make a name for yourself
  • Description – use this section to offer more information about your start-up, such as what you do and why
  • Links – these fields provide the opportunity for you to include links to your business’ website and other social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Activity – remember that YouTube is a social media site, so you should be an active member of the community your business is trying to reach. Ensure you list featured channels and like videos that are in line with your company’s brand and ethos

Also, a YouTube business account (or Brand Account as it’s known on YouTube) lets you add owners and managers, giving you the option of letting multiple team members have access to it. So what’s the difference between the two?

  • Owners have full access to the channel
  • Managers can use the channel for admin purposes on behalf of the owners

YouTube Glossary

YouTube has its own world of jargon and phrases. Here we offer a quick guide to some of the most common ones you’re likely to come across.

Channel trailer – this is a short video you create and upload to the site to promote your channel. Think of it like a TV advert or film trailer, only for your business’ channel instead!

YouTubers – this refers to people who use the site, as well for those who appear in or make the videos too.

Like – click on the thumbs up icon beneath videos to like content that you watch

Share – click the arrow icon to share videos with your network or on other sites

Subscribe – click this to receive notifications immediately to stay up-to-date on new content from other channels. Be sure to subscribe to channels that match your business’ interests and are in line with your target audience.

For many small businesses, you’ll likely need to create your video content yourself, especially in the beginning.

As the quality of the videos you produce depends a lot on the equipment you’re using, ensure that your devices are up-to-date and have the right camera and video settings for filming content.

Check out our guides to the best business mobile phones and best laptops for small business for inspiration.

2. Why use YouTube for business?

YouTube has more than one billion users, which is nearly one-third of the internet.

YouTube is a global phenomenon, allowing people to watch and share video content wherever they are.

With more and more people opting for non-traditional forms of entertainment, it seems like YouTube is set to go from strength to strength as a platform for on-demand video content that people want to watch. So what does this mean for businesses?

What are the pros and cons of YouTube for business?

There are a lot of reasons to include YouTube as part of your start-up’s social media strategy, but is it the best fit for your business? Here we assess the pros and cons of YouTube for business to help you decide.

How much does a YouTube business account cost?

YouTube business accounts are free, just like creating a personal channel.

However, there may be some associated costs, such as ensuring you have the right equipment to film videos if you opt to create the content yourself, or the cost of hiring a professional videographer if you want a specialist to do it for you.

Who are YouTube's users?While there’s no a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to understanding who visits YouTube and why, there are some clear trends. Understanding these, it can help you to create content that will appeal the most to your target audience.

  • Mobile – users are consuming content on-the-go: according to YouTube, 70% of time spent watching videos on the site comes from mobile devices
  • Millennial – while YouTube attracts users of all age groups, a large proportion of this age bracket visit the site. Millennials are defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • Global – available in 80 languages and offering 91 local versions, YouTube can help you connect with people wherever they may be

What content do people search for?Some of the most popular categories on YouTube are:

  • Beauty
  • Comedy
  • Gaming
  • Music
  • Sports

3. How to use YouTube for business marketing

At this stage, you’ve discovered how and why your business should use YouTube. But how do you incorporate it into your marketing plan? In this section, we’ll delve into what your business needs to know to use this social media site for video marketing.

  • Post content consistently – like with any other social media platform, you’ll need to upload content on a regular basis to build a following and keep people interested. It’s useful to create a content schedule – what content will you post, and when?
  • Include calls-to-action (CTAs) – while your target audience may be browsing YouTube for fun or to learn something new, your business should know exactly what you want people to do after watching one of your videos. Examples of CTAs include subscribing to your channel, signing up to receive your email newsletter, or sharing via social networks.
  • Create a community – it’s easy to think that your job is done as soon as you upload a video, and that you just need to sit back and wait for the views to come in. But to really build an engaged customer base on YouTube, your business should interact with other users – sharing content, liking videos and replying to comments are essential.
  • Know the purpose – With so many social media platforms out there, it can be easy to jump from one to another in an effort to keep up with the latest trends. However, it’s key to know why you’re using YouTube in the first place. Consider what results you want to see – whether that’s more traffic to your website or greater promotion of your business, for example.
  • Target keywords – every time you upload a video, its name, description and tags all offer opportunities to target the keywords associated with your business. Just like writing a blog post or composing a social media message, you’ll want to use language that matches what your target audience are searching for online.
  • Be specific – this means creating video content with your target audience in mind, at all times. Understanding who your customers are, where they’re coming from, and why they’re watching your video will all help you to refine your YouTube marketing strategy. You can find all this out using YouTube analytics – see below for more information.
  • Collaborate with other YouTubers – consider working with other companies or influencers on YouTube that complement your business. Not only is it an opportunity for you to extend your network, it’s also a way to reach more people and diversify your content offering too.
  • Create a playlist – once you’ve built up a catalogue of videos, you could consider grouping them together into playlists, so that users can see similar content from your business in one place.

While these are tips for YouTube specifically, you should also consider how YouTube fits into your wider social media strategy too. What is YouTube analytics?In your channel homepage, there’s a tab called ‘Views’. By clicking on this, you’ll be taken to the analytics area, where you can see how your videos are performing based on a number of key measurement categories.

While there are many ways to measure video performance, here we highlight some of the main categories you should be aware of within YouTube analytics.Note that the ‘overview’ report in analytics will show data for the past 28 days. The date range can be altered to show different time periods.

  • Annotations – these are links in the video that people can click on to be taken to other pages you want them to find. Learn which annotations people click on and the result of this action
  • Audience retention – find out how long people watch your videos before leaving the page
  • Cards – the image and link to another video that you can include at the end of a video can be monitored here to find out which cards users are interacting with the most
  • Comments – assess the stats around the number of comments and how often your videos receive them, and manage replies to comments
  • Demographics – discover who is watching your videos, including data on age and geographical location
  • Devices – this section lets you see which devices people are watching your content on, such as mobile or desktop
  • Likes/dislikes – see the number of likes and dislikes per video
  • Playback locations – with this report, you can discover which websites your videos are watched on, whether that’s on YouTube itself, another page you’ve linked to, or pages where your videos are embedded
  • Sharing – see which social media networks your videos have been shared on, and how many times
  • Subscribers – find out which videos are most (and least) likely to get people to subscribe to your channel
  • Traffic sources – this report lets you discover how people are finding your videos, such as by searching for it, or being referred from your website, social media sites or other pages
  • Videos in playlist – view which of your videos have been added to playlists
  • Views – collects data on how many times your videos are viewed
  • Watchtime – discover how long people watch your videos for

Check out our articles on social media management to learn more about monitoring and tracking content.What are the next steps?By reading this article, you’ve learned more about what YouTube is and why it’s an important platform for businesses to use. We’ve also assessed the pros and cons of using YouTube, plus we looked at how to use YouTube as part of your business’ marketing plan.So where do you go from here? A next step could be to speak with experts – and can help with this too. Simply complete the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for social media management suppliers now – it’s easy, free and quick.

Pros Cons
  • Free – YouTube allows you to easily and quickly create a channel, upload content and connect with users, all at no cost to your business.
  • Instant – people are watching and engaging with content on the site all the time, and sometimes videos can become internet sensations very quickly. The possibility of going viral – and making your small business a well-known name – is there with every upload.
  • Trusted – YouTube is a recognised brand and people understand how it works, so they already expect to watch video content from the site.
  • SEO – YouTube is a part of Google, and it’s also a search engine. This provides the opportunity to include keywords in the description and name of your videos to rank for keywords. These are the phrases and words people use to find your business in search engines; the higher you rank in the results, the more likely people are to click on your business’ content.
  • Variety – One of the site's main advantages is the freedom available to users. Whether you're looking to make a 30 second ad or a one hour webinar, you can – and you can upload it to YouTube in just about any style or format you like.
  • Advertising – since YouTube is a free site, videos are likely to appear with ads – and you can’t control which ads are displayed on your video. Also, YouTube decides which related content to show users, meaning you have little control over which ads and videos are displayed with your company’s content.
  • Comments – unless you opt to restrict it, users will be able to leave comments and reviews directly beneath your video. Your business won’t be able to manage what they say and how they say it, meaning your video comments section could end up filled with negative reviews or online arguments.
  • Time – creating videos and uploading them to YouTube can be a lengthy process, so you’ll have to allocate sufficient time for it. This might detract from other key tasks you (or your team members) need to complete, so you’ll have to assess if the potential rewards are worth your time.
  • Quantity – with millions of videos on YouTube, it can be challenging to get your business to stand out from the crowd. Without using targeted advertising and optimising your content for search engines, it can be difficult for people to find content organically.
  • Competition – following on from the above, as there are so many videos out there, people can become distracted easily. If the content isn’t engaging, users can just click on to the next video or skip an ad completely.

If you think you'd like to streamline your socials but don't know where to start, we can put you in touch with some social media management companies, so you can get all the social perks to your small business without the faff of managing it yourself.

Simply fill in the form at the top of the page to be put in touch with suppliers.

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