This post has been updated on April 30, 2020.
Often referred to as „the world’s second-largest search engine”, YouTube started back in 2005. The first video ever posted was from San Diego Zoo and it was really short yet boring (by today’s standards). Back then the mere fact that somebody could make a film of themselves and upload it on the world wide web was exciting enough.
Fast forward fourteen years later, there are three hundred hours of video content uploaded every minute and there are over fifty million creators of content to date. Five billion videos are watched each day and there are over five hundred million mobile views in twenty-four hours. For more astounding numbers on just how big and popular YouTube is, go here.
Since it sees so much traffic by internet users, YouTube holds immense potential when it comes to online marketing. We are all (sometimes painfully) familiar with the ads that play before any content we want to watch – for those of us who don’t pay to have the un-advertised version.
6 Best practices on how to get a large YouTube audience
If you have something you made yourself (like an online course, for example) and want to market it, you may not have a large enough budget to buy commercial space on popular channels. What you can do, however, is to become a content creator, set up your own channel and get marketing. Here are some tips on how to increase your audience.
Build your videos around one single keyword
One keyword that is most relevant to the theme of your course. If you are not sure about what to choose, you can use Keyword Tool for YouTube. This way you will find out what are the most searched terms and get to specifically target your niche audience.
It is best to find this keyword before you start making the video so that you can include it naturally in the content – the platform will pick that up once closed captions are added.
It’s also important to optimize your titles and descriptions as well as them it rather short – the most popular videos are under five minutes in length, so short and engaging is best.
Interact with your viewers
YouTube is essentially a social media channel so engaging with the audience is very important. Simply posting video content without starting up conversations, encouraging comments, feedback, and virtual interaction is not going to get you very far, regardless of how good your video and your course are.
YouTube rewards channels that generate great engagement, including overall time spent on the channel, watch time, likes and dislikes, and most importantly, comments. This is why you should try and respond to all the feedback and questions you receive as well as encourage users to communicate with you and among them.
Promote your videos on other channels
One of the greatest things about social media is that you can cross-promote content on various channels with different audiences. Promoting your YouTube videos in your other virtual social venues is the easiest way to reach more people.
There is Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest — only to name a few online locations waiting for your presence. And if there’s a channel (such as Facebook) on which you want to post content directly, you can always make a teaser for the full-length video on YouTube so that you get the highest engagement possible on all channels.
Leverage YouTube cards
I have already mentioned the fact that YouTube rewards channels that manage to keep viewers on their pages for extended periods of time. These longer than average watch times show that people are truly engaged with your content. (You can see exactly how long people are staying on your videos by using the available YouTube analytics).
What YouTube cards can do is help you add additional recommended videos at the exact point where users are currently leaving your channel. Even though they may abandon one particular video, users will be taken to your other content and remain on your channel, thus increasing its ranking.
Push for subscriptions
One of the ways you can be sure that viewers are engaged with your channel is when they subscribe to see any new videos that are posted. Since your content will be mainly promoting your course, it’s good news for enrollments.
However, it takes people a while to hit that subscribe button, so you have to insist on it. Ask them to subscribe in every video and make sure that those who have already signed on are still engaged and happy with what’s available on your channel.
There is also the option to pay for subscribers, but I don’t recommend it as it won’t really help the authenticity and real engagement of your channel.
Even if the main purpose of your channel is to reach a wide audience for your online course, you still need a lot of people to watch and share the video content. To achieve this, you should post new content at least once a week.
It doesn’t mean you have to invest very much or find a design firm to do it – the technology in your own pocket is more than sufficient and if you have already developed an online course, you surely have a few tricks up your sleeve about how to make things engaging and fun.
One thing you should mind though is consistency – try posting at approximately the same time each week and keep your subscribers in the loop about what’s to come.
With YouTube being as popular as it is and with all the technology that is available and easy to use, it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to meet new crowds and let them meet you.