So what have we learned from The YouTube Creator Playbook over the past three months? I'll tell you what I got most out of it. Being a success on YouTube requires more than making great content and simply uploading it to the site. In fact, even those people who stumbled into YouTube viral success had some sort of help, perhaps they didn't initiate it and do the work, but most of your big "overnight" sensations come from a video getting passed along through a circle of friends, someone big in the media notices it, and it booms from there. But we know that most people will not have that kind of success track. Most of the time, you have to earn it.
In the final section of The YouTube Creator Playbook, social media finally makes its grand entrance. Actually, it's been there all along, hinted at, suggested...but this is where Facebook, Twitter, and the upstart Google Plus start coming in handy for more than, "Had a hamburger at McDonald's today, wrote a check for child support, I hate Tuesdays." This is your personal interaction with all your friends, and your friends' friends, and so on. They can help crank up your videos' views tremendously. Social media is the instant Rolodex of the 21st Century. You can share your videos instantly to everyone you know, and there is absolutely no reason not to use it if you want to be successful.
The Playbook overview:
Strategy: Leverage other social media to build viewership on your channel and engage with your audience in new ways.
Why It Works: Social media is a great way to turn your fans into a social army that will help you broadcast your content out to their friends
How To Do It: Engage with your audience and promoting your YouTube content on social media platforms.
Sharing Your Videos With Facebook
Of course you should have a dedicated Facebook page for your channel along with your personal page. That way you can have your everyday, varied personal life separate from your hobby/professional life. But you'll be uploading the videos to both pages. Keep an eye out for comments and get in on the discussion. People like it when the creator of something they like, or even dislike, takes time to comment. And nothing gets people watching a video more than something that is heavily discussed.
What we've learned time and again from the Playbook is that no matter where the video is, find ways to get in on the discussion. Blogs, social media, on YouTube, wherever...take time to comment. Even if the video is big this doesn't take much out of your time, and it's fun to watch people talk about something you created. Facebook and YouTube even allow you to "like" comments, continuing the never-ending feedback structure of the sites.
As always, you can start the conversation much like you do on YouTube by simply asking a question that will get people to make comments. Ultimately the purpose is to get people to watch your video, become a subscriber, become a fan, of your content, so keep the discussion lively but on topic, directing people's attention to your videos.
The Playbook says a couple of times to use Facebook as a means to provide extra content. In other words, make it worthwhile for fans to visit your Facebook page and built trust by providing things they can't find anywhere else. With that, you can upload photos from the shoot, alternate takes, stories, anything ancillary to the final product. What's more, you can even release those things each day, providing new content every day and giving people a reason to visit frequently. An active Facebook page is meaningful, because one that doesn't get updated gives people the impression that you are dead. Or at the very least, can't bother yourself with updates.
Reviewing the Playbook: Facebook
Creators and Partners should have a Facebook presence for their YouTube channel. It is a great tool to interact with your fans in different ways and build audience. Your activity and the activity of your fans on Facebook get multiplied out to their groups of friends, so it is a great way to rely on your fans to help introduce your show to new viewers.
Facebook Best Practices
- Post new uploads to your Facebook page. Post updates regularly (at least once a day).
- Find ways to repurpose and share videos from your archive in interesting ways.
- Interact with your fans when you post content to your page.
- Ask specific questions about the content you post. Asking a question to build comments on the post that will help you reach a new audience. Every action your fans take on your page gets broadcast out to their friends, helping you reach new viewers. Encouraging comments will also help you learn about the interest of your core audience. Your Facebook fans represent some of your most dedicated viewers.
- Vary your updates to be both video-centric and conversational. Your Facebook fans don't just want to click links, they want to get something extra, more personal on Facebook.
- Provide extra or secondary content on your Facebook page. Post behind-the-scenes photos, or interact with your audience in new ways on Facebook.
- Your Facebook strategy should be unique to that platform and part of the objective should be building your audience around your YouTube content. Create a unique viewing experience for your Facebook fans by how you post and how you interact, but center your actions on driving views, increasing subscribers, and gaining more Facebook fans.
- Turn Facebook viewers and subscribers by consistently directing them to your YouTube content and channel.
Sharing Your Video With Twitter
Twitter recently changed their design so that videos could be displayed on the site. And so, no longer do you have a mere link to the video, people can actually watch the video right there on the Twitter page. Twitter is yet another huge social media outlet with its own unique functions. It sort of demands to be updated as much as possible, since the 140-character "blog post" limit invites users to keep things current and updating frequently keeps you in your followers' feeds.
Here's a look at Twitter's new video set-up:
Much like the discussion we had with the Playbook's Blog Outreach, you can hit up popular Twitter users with links to your video. Again, you have to play a game here if you don't know that user personally or haven't established at least some sort of relationship with them. Don't get spammy with your YouTube links. Once you have established that someone might be receptive to one of your videos, give them a tweet that they might in turn re-tweet to their followers.
Twitter also functions like a search engine, so that's what hashtags (this symbol: #) are for. Hashtags for your show, if used in great numbers by you and your followers, tend to "trend" better on Twitter and thus, it's best to make sure anytime you or your show is mentioned, the hashtag is used so that you can build search engine attention.
As always, update your Twitter feed frequently and interact with fans/followers as much as possible.
Reviewing the Playbook: Twitter
Twitter Best Practices
Twitter is another great tool to interact with your fans in a conversational way. Twitter is also great for identifying your peers, adding to the conversations that are relevant to you and your audience's interest, and spotting what is trending on the Web.
- Twitter updates should be a mix of personal updates as well as promoting your content.
- Share links to your newest videos on Twitter. You can use URL shorteners to track Click-Through-Rates (CTRs).
- @reply power-users on Twitter with links to videos they would be interested in and may re-tweet to their followers. Twitter outreach to relevant users should accompany your blog outreach.
- Create unique #hashtags for your show and always use them in your tweets and encourage your followers to do the same.
- Update your Twitter feed 1-3 times a day to stay visible in your followers' feeds.
Sharing Your Video With Google Plus
Google Plus had a good year and capitalized a bit on some Facebook stumbles late this summer. Google Plus is a bit of a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook and it allows you to create "circles" of friends, so you can choose who gets to see what you post. In a way, you can make certain fans your special, inner circle, while making other, casual fans a part of a larger circle. It's a functionality that you don't get with Facebook and Twitter. No matter how you decide to use Google Plus, you should follow basically the same tips you use with the other sites.
Besides the "circle" function, which allows you to decide who receives what information, there is Google Hangouts, which allows you to watch a video with others. I think this is a tremendous way to get premieres of your video rolling. You can schedule a time and actually be present and comment during the video, and it gives you face time with your friends/fans. You can make your video an event with the Hangouts feature, and that's really cool.
So imagine this. You can have a viewing party of your video on Hangouts, update your Facebook and Twitter pages with the video during the viewing party, comment and respond to fans on all three social networks, have face time, and create a blizzard of activity all in one night. That's a social networking dream, and it only requires a few clicks and a very small part of the day.
Here's a summary video of The Muppets using Google Hangouts for promotion during the week of the new movie's release:
Reviewing the Playbook: Google Plus
Creators and Partners should have a personal Google+ profile to engage with their followers and YouTube fans. Google+ allows you to interact with your YouTube audience in different ways than you would on YouTube. Using Google+, you can interact with different "circles" or your followers in ways that are specific to their interests or needs.
- Create different circles for the various types of audiences you want to communicate with on your Google+ profile.
- Post new YouTube uploads to your Google+ profile.
- Target your updates (including video uploads) to specific circles. Provide different information or messaging to your different circles of friends and followers.
- Find ways to repurpose and share videos from your archive in interesting ways.
- Create circles for other YouTube creators so you can interact and communicate with other creators on YouTube. Use circles of other creators to find more channels to collaborate with and build promotional opportunities.
- Interact with friends and followers when you post a video. Ask specific questions about the videos or information you post.
- Vary your updates and posts to be both video-centric and also conversational.
- Post behind-the-scenes photos, or provide sneak-peaks of videos or other content.
- Encourage your followers to +1 and share your posts or videos with friends if they like it.
- Create Hangouts with your fans to interact with them in a small group. Google+ Hangouts can be a great way to ask your fans questions and for you to speak to you directly. You can also watch your videos together in real-time in a Hangout. Google+ Hangouts can be a great way to reward your super-fans providing them a personal experience with you.
Our Coverage Of The YouTube Creator Playbook Comes To A Close
While we have discussed every section of The YouTube Creator Playbook, and specific articles covering it will come to an end, this won't be the last time we visit it. It's here, it's on the Internet. It has a ton of valuable information. Most of it, I'd say about 95% of it, is absolutely solid advice. The other 5% that is not is something that can be fixed with clarity or easy policy changes. It's likely the Playbook will continue to be updated moving forward, as was the case recently when Analytics replaced Insight.
You can sum up the Playbook with a few words: Always be active with your video, share it, encourage discussion. The issue of "relevancy" comes up a lot, especially in where or with whom you decide to share the video, how you name it, how you try to get it found in search engines with keywords and tags. Ultimately, be smart and don't expect anyone to do the work for you, unless you have the kind of money to hire someone to do that.
We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the Playbook!