#KnowYourGrowth Social Media 101: YouTube
The #KnowYourGrowth: Summer of Social Media workshop was a 4-part workshop series that provided a deep dive into today’s biggest social media platforms: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok. As a follow-up to that series, we’ve created these Social Media 101 guides for each platform to help you grow your brand and expand online.
What is YouTube?
YouTube is one of the original streaming platforms. It’s a place where anyone can upload just about anything and potentially reach a global audience. It’s a place where 5 billion videos are watched each day and 500 hours of content are uploaded every minute. Whether you’re looking for tutorials on car repairs or hours-long gameplay videos or reactions to the latest movie releases, it’s all on YouTube. Basically, YouTube walked so other streaming platforms like Netflix could run.
YouTube Key Best Practices
Create a community
Get to know your audience, and we don’t just mean the analytics. Think about who you want to make content for and what they’re interested in.
Find your niche and create content focused around that specifically
Don’t try to create too many different types of content on one channel. Viewers will subscribe to your channel after they see a video they like. If you publish something wildly different after that, they may drop off.
Look at what other channels similar to yours are doing
Check out what’s working for other channels producing content like yours. Look at their thumbnails, titles, and cadence then try to apply some of those principles to your channel.
Focus on titles and thumbnails (more on that later)
Patreon Growth Tips for YouTube
Add a link to your channel artwork
When you’re customizing your YouTube channel, make sure to add links to your social media profiles by adding them in your “about” settings. Once added, viewers will be able to go to your profile and see the links in your YouTube banner across all pages of your profile. This is one of the first things people see when exploring your profile so it’s an easy way to make sure they have access to your Patreon and other platforms.
Mention Patreon in your videos
Verbally calling out your Patreon in your videos is a great way to grow your audience. To avoid sounding “salesy,” try to casually work it into your video script and keep it natural. For example, if your content focuses on movie reviews, you can naturally mention that you and your Patreon community watched a certain movie and had a discussion about a specific topic, then discuss your conclusions or thoughts.
Include Patreon in your Video Descriptions
In the description of each of your videos, it’s important to always include a link to your Patreon after your initial video summary. A lot of times, while viewers are watching your videos, they’ll scroll down to this section to get a quick overview of what the video is about. By calling out your Patreon, you’re reinforcing your message. When a viewer enjoys your video, hears your mention of Patreon, and then sees the link in your description, they’ll be more likely to check out your Patreon.
Let’s Talk About Channel Presentation
- Keep your titles short and direct, with the most important info first. Know that anything more than about 50 characters will be cut off on many versions of the site.
- Include #hashtags for maximum engagement, but keywords and user tags aren’t really important here.
- Keep an eye on the analytics and in particular, your click through rate. If the click through rate is poor, update your title to something more appealing.
The video description helps YouTube’s algorithm categorize the content of your video. The first 1-2 sentences are the most important and should include target keywords for search purposes.
- Outline key discussion points
- Include social media and other relevant links
- Keep your description to around 150 words
Use relevant keywords or phrases that viewers might search for when they are looking for your content.
- Each tag can be up to 30 characters.
- You can have a total of 500 characters in the tag section.
- Always double check your spelling.
The first 15 seconds can make or break your video’s performance. During that time, a user will decide if the video is interesting enough for them to stay. So it’s important to grab your viewer’s attention and let them know what’s coming, right from the beginning.
- For example, in this video, Patreon CEO, Jack Conte gives you an eye-catching intro, then jumps straight into what the video will be about, echoing the attention-grabbing title.
Although it isn’t possible to recommend an ideal length, the YouTube algorithm definitely looks at viewer engagement over time. It’s better if your viewers watch the majority of the video, so don’t make longer videos just for the sake of it. Your videos should be exactly as long as you can keep viewers engaged.
This is the first thing people see and can ultimately be the deciding factor in whether viewers click on your video or not. It’s important to make your thumbnails eye-catching and visually appealing to your audience. Along with the title, the thumbnail is the most important tool you have to engage a potential viewer.
Thumbnail design specs:
- Resolution: 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels)
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Size: under 2MB
- Accepted image formats: JPG, GIF, or PNG
Captions and Subtitles
Closed Captioning gives an opportunity for people who can’t hear audio to experience your videos and opens up your content to a wider audience. Adding captions in other languages also allows your videos to reach global audiences.