YouTube is the largest video sharing website and the second biggest search engine on the Internet. It is also the UK’s second most popular social network after Facebook and above Twitter [Experian Hitwise July 2011], currently accounting for 1 in every 35 of all web visits.
So with such huge popularity, it is vitally important you have a presence. YouTube allows you to create a profile that not only gives you access to the standard social networking features, but also gives you the opportunity to develop an entire profile page or ‘YouTube Channel’, which is customisable to your branding.
To create your own YouTube Channel, follow these steps:
1. If you haven’t already signed up for a YouTube account, do so by clicking on the big blue ‘Create Account’ button on the Home page or via the link in the top right. If you are already have a Google account you can just sign in using this.
2. To add a Channel to your YouTube account, click on your username in the top right of the YouTube website to unveil your account options. Choose ‘Channel’ from the list and follow the on-page instructions.
You will be prompted to choose a username, so make sure you use your brand name or something relevant to your brand. Note that if you do not see this step and go straight to your channel, you will have already created a username. You may wish to delete this account and/or create a new one if it is not suitable (it is not possible to change your YouTube username).
3. Choose your privacy options on the next screen, then you will be directed to your new YouTube channel.
4. The first thing you should do is set the Title and add some tags to describe the theme of the video content that will be featured on your channel. Click on the ‘Settings’ tab in the light blue options panel to see these options.
5. Next is the fun part, styling your channel! Click on the ‘Themes and Colours’ tab from the channel options panel. You can choose one of the pre selected themes; however it is really easy to set custom colours using the advanced options. To create your custom theme, click on the ‘New Theme’ link as shown.
You should name your theme with your brand name for easy future reference. Within the options you can change the font and colours and see a live preview of your channel below them. Experiment with different colours that match your brand or current website to create something unique. Don’t forget to save the changes once you are happy with your theme.
6. You have the option to choose what sections and videos are shown on your channel page by selecting the various options under the ‘Modules’ and ‘Video and Playlists’ tabs on the channel editor page.
7. To finish off the look of your channel you should add a profile picture (preferably of your company logo) and add some details about the brand. To do this click on your username in the top right then ‘Settings’ from the drop down list. Choose the option named ‘Profile Setup’ in the left-hand menu then fill in your details. You will need to enter your brand name in the First/Last Name fields and don’t forget to add the URL of your own website.
That is the basic setup of your channel; the next step is populating it with content either from yourself or by adding other videos to your favourites list. Your new YouTube channel will start to look great in no time.
Having a nice looking channel is only half of the story; next you will need to get it seen by people. Provided you have setup your username as your brand name, your profile page should start to rank in the search engines for brand name searches, bringing a certain amount of visitors to your channel. But in order to drive high levels of traffic to your YouTube channel, you should set aside some time each week to build your audience:
- Upload or favourite at least one or two videos a week
- Tag and describe your videos appropriately
- Create playlists
- Promote subscribing to your channel. This can be done by including annotations over your video with the subscribe link
- Ask people to favourite your videos either in the description or utilise the annotations tool for this
- Choose appealing thumbnail images of your uploaded videos to entice searchers to click on your video
- Make friends: Use the search box to find related videos and users then click on the ‘Add as Friend’ link on their profile. You can currently only make ten friend requests per day to prevent spam
- Like, share and comment on other videos. They are likely to return the favour upon finding your videos
- Link to your YouTube channel from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
If you become an active and regular user of YouTube you will achieve a greater following and increased brand exposure which is likely to lead more sales or leads. YouTube has a huge user base and offers fantastic potential for your brand.