YouTube has become one of the most frequented online distribution channels for videos of every shape and form. From home-made jobs that have become an overnight internet sensation (think Fat Boy performing Beyoncé), to professionally compiled viral productions by global multinationals. Pretty much anything goes. And as with any social media platform, whatever is considered valuable, entertaining or shocking will be shared.
For those who have an interest in reading about YouTube’s milestones, click here to view their company timeline (now THAT’s how a Facebook Timeline should be structured!)
While practically everyone has watched a YouTube video, not everyone has had cause to upload one. This blog post is specifically aimed at companies that wish to use YouTube as an effective marketing platform, and is a basic guide covering essential elements for setting up a well-constructed channel which will help users to find your content.
1. Setting up a YouTube account.
If you do not have a google account, you will need to create one. Why? Because Google own YouTube. Once you are registered, you will have access to Google’s vast treasure chest of content and applications, such as Google Calendar, Google Analytics, Google+, and much more.
Getting started is just a click away, and it’s really easy!
At the first level, you will be prompted to enter your personal details to create your YouTube account. Pay particular attention to the username you choose (the bit before the @gmail.com), as this is what will appear, and how users will find you. Make sure your company name is incorporated here. The username must be just one word, with no spaces or special characters. Upper and lower case letters are allowed.
When you have completed all of your information, you will be prompted to sign in. To get it all activated, you may be required to click on a verification email sent to the primary address registered on the account. This is to make sure that you are not “He who shall not be named”, i.e. a spammer!
And voila! You are good to go. Welcome to the world of Google, and specifically YouTube….
2. Customising your profile
As with other social media platforms, you can customise your YouTube profile. This not only looks more professional, but enables users to find you and your video content easily. It’s good to do this from the get-go (anything built on a solid foundation can only grow upwards, right?). This is an oft-neglected aspect of YouTube with businesses, probably due to a lack of awareness. So consider yourself treated to some important nuggets of wisdom here!
To access this area, click on the “edit” button next to the “profile” section of your account. The mandatory fields to complete include your name, website, channel description and location as a local business. It’s not essential to fill in all the other “bumpf” about interests etc. But in this instance, more is better.
Beneath your username on the top right of the screen, you will access a drop-down menu:
- My Channel
- Video Manager
- Switch Account
- Sign Out
Let’s look at each bit individually
This gives you an overview of your channel, and is split into three sections: Featured, Feed and Videos.
On the Featured tab, you will find an overview of your featured videos, your play-listed videos and your general channel information. If you do not organise your videos into playlists and featured videos, YouTube will automatically list the videos uploaded, with the last video at the top of the page.
The Feed tab gives you a running summary of activity in respect of videos uploaded, including the thumbnail of the video, the length of the video, the name of the clip, a brief description, and the number of views as well as any comments.
The Video tab gives you an overview of all videos uploaded by the channel, ordered by latest video uploaded first.
By clicking on “edit” next to the “about” tab near the top right of all of these pages, you can update and tweak your channel information at any time.
On the top strip of the page, you will see the company logo, how many subscribers you have on your channel, and the total number of views of your videos. You can also edit the settings of the channel (click on the “settings” tab).
Here you can change the appearance of your channel, the information and description, and the layout of your featured tab.
Appearance: This includes using a specific background colour, or you can insert a groovy background image. We have some very useful data for you should you wish to create an image – give us a shout and we will gladly guide you.
Info & Settings: Here you get to alter the description of your business/ channel, and the tags or keywords that people will use to find you.
Featured: Select “enable featured tab”, and choose the “blogger” layout.
We now get to the part of your channel that you will use most often. This is where you go to share your magic.
According to YouTube here is a list of well-known file formats supported by YouTube:
- WebM files – Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codecs
- .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – Typically supporting h264, mpeg4 video codecs, and AAC audio codec
- .AVI – Many cameras output this format – typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM
- .MPEGPS – Typically supporting MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio
.FLV – Adobe-FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio
Here are some files that are NOT supported:
- Project files: No project files of any kind are acceptable. MSWMM and WLMP:
- Audio files: (MP3, WAV, etc.) and Image files (JPG, PNG, etc.)
But fear not, YouTube do give useful links for converting files to the correct format. Click here to read more.
By clicking on Video Manager, you can upload, delete, and organise your videos into favourites and useful playlists.
The right hand panel provides easy to navigate sections for all uploads, playlists, copyright notices from YouTube (should any of your uploads potentially have music or other content which is copyrighted), history of actions, search history, videos you have tagged to watch at a later time, favourites and likes.
Let’s have a look at uploading a video.
Click on the upload tab, and select the location from where you want to upload your content. The video will start uploading immediately. While this is happening, you will need to capture a title of the video (make sure to include tags in the title that users will capture to find you, and your company name), a description of the clip, and other tags used to assist in the search/ find process. You will also need to choose whether your video is public, available only to your subscribers or to specific individuals you have chosen. YouTube will save as you go, but there is also another SAVE button near the bottom of the page should you need to do this manually.
When the video is uploaded you will be given a link url to find the video. This is what you can use to share your content via email, Facebook, Twitter, on your website…yada…yada…yada.
But YouTube has also made this easy for you to share. If you click on the “share” button, you will be given options to share via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a whole range of other platforms.
Should you wish to embed the actual video in a web page or blog, you will need to click on the “share” button, and then “embed”. You will find some code that your web developer or blog manager can use. In the options below the embed tab, you can choose your video screen size, as well as whether the old code should be used (I always select “use the old code”).
This is where you will find all of the channels that you have subscribed to. It is a really good idea to use a sharing button on all of your platforms (specifically website and blog) to enable users to subscribe to your channel. They will then be notified immediately should you upload a video. Give us a shout if you would like to action this. We have some nifty code to assist you.
This is really important folks. If your community wish to engage with you, you will find their communications here. When you put yourself into the social space, you need to be prepared to respond quickly. Visit your inbox every day to make sure that you pick up any comments timeously.
Your inbox is organised into: inbox, personal messages, content shared with you, comments made, contact notifications, video responses, sent items and your address book.
The settings tab takes you to an overview of your account. Here you get to change your logo or profile picture (we recommend using a logo for business branding), your password, and your channel information.
You also get to view your account status. Should any black marks be made against your name (e.g. piracy, copyright issues, inflammatory or inappropriate content), this will reflect here.
Under “sharing”, you can connect your other social media accounts – specifically Orkut, Twitter and Facebook.
You also get to choose exactly what you share. You may not want your community to know every time you like, comment or favourite a video, or what channels you subscribe to.
Your privacy settings enable you to choose who communicates with you, and how users find you.
Under e-mail, you specify which address is your primary one for any email notifications from users, or YouTube. You also get to choose what you would like emailed to your address by way of comments from users, or notifications from YouTube.
The Playback section allows you to choose the quality of your videos, if captions are to appear, and if annotations are to be shown on the videos.
And finally, let’s not forget one of the most useful tools on any social media platform. The Analytics. What good is a system is you are unable to see how effective it is?
By clicking on Analytics, you get to view your overall channel performance (how many views and subscribers), the level of engagement, Top 10 videos, user demographics, and your traffic sources.
And that brings to a close our intro post on how to get your YouTube account set up. Go and make magic!
Happy weekend to y’all,