How (and Why) to Start a YouTube Channel for Your Business
Every day, YouTube users in the United States watch over 8000 years of content and yet only 9% of small businesses have bothered to start their own channels. As YouTube usage continues to soar, don't let your business be one of the ones that are left behind.
In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at setting up a fully optimized YouTube channel for your business and creating great content that engages your current customers and attracts new ones as well. A comprehensive content strategy on YouTube will help you build your brand’s identity, showcase your products, and connect with your audience in fresh and exciting ways.
Let’s get started!
Setting Up a YouTube Channel for Your Business
Once you have that taken care of, you’ll be ready to get your YouTube channel started. I’ve put together an example store on Google+ that I’ll be using to guide you through the steps.
Here we go.
1. Login to the Google+ account associated with your business and head over to the YouTube Channel Switcher.
2. You should see your personal account as well as the option to create a new account for your Google+ business page. Click on your business page.
3. A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm that you’d like to create a channel for your business. Click ‘OK’.
4. Another pop-up will appear notifying you that your YouTube channel and Google+ page will now be connected. Click ‘OK’ again.
5. Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a YouTube business channel.
Customizing Your YouTube Channel
Okay, so now that you’ve set up a YouTube channel for your business, let’s take some time to get it looking its absolute best.
Here are a few easy things that you can do to give your channel a more professional look and make sure that your customers know how to find you online.
By default, your Channel Icon will be linked to your Google+ profile photo. Although your image only needs to show up as a 98 x 98 pixel icon, it’s recommended that your picture should be a JPG, BMP, PNG, or non-animated GIF and at least 800 x 800 pixels.
Adding channel art is a great way to show off your brand’s personality and create a more visually engaging YouTube profile. Your Channel Art should be under 4MB and at least 2048 x 1152 pixels (although YouTube recommends going with 2560 x 1440 pixels for best results on all devices).
Details and Description
To unlock all of the customization options for your channel, you’ll need to click the gear icon in the section beneath your Channel Art.
A pop-up titled ‘Channel settings’ will then appear. Look for the ‘Customize the layout of your channel’ option and enable it. Click ‘Save’. You’ll now be given a wider range of options sorted into five tabs: Home, Videos, Playlists, Channels, and About.
Head over to the About tab to edit your store’s details.
Under description, give a brief outline of your store, products, and mission. Be sure to also include your contact email as well. For your social media links, include all of your business’ social media profiles (you can get your links to appear over your Channel Art by adjusting the drop down menu).
On the right hand side, you’ll find a section titled ‘Featured Channels’ where you can feature other YouTube channels that are owned by your brand or managed by your employees. While this section may not be useful to you yet, once you expand your YouTube presence it will definitely come in handy.
Attracting More Customers with Great Content
Is your channel ready to go? Awesome! It’s time to start thinking about your videos.
Video should be an integral part of every business’ content marketing strategy - it’s a fantastic way to provide your customers with high-quality, informative, and entertaining content that keeps them coming back again and again. So, with that in mind, let’s explore how you can use video to build an audience for your brand.
Here are some of the different types of content your business could be using.
More and more, people are turning to YouTube to learn new things. In fact, searches for “how-to” videos are growing by 70% year over year which means that there is an expanding opportunity for businesses to capture new audiences by providing educational content around their products.
Videos that teach new skills are great for building trust with your audience and nudging them further down the conversion funnel. I recently came across a solid example, courtesy of HP.
As I was struggling to install a new ink cartridge, I turned to YouTube with a simple query: “How to change ink cartridge HP deskjet”. The first result was a video created by HP that walked me through the process from start to finish.Printers are notoriously difficult to use, so HP has really taken some great initiative here by uploading videos that resolve their customers’ pain points and answer frequently asked questions. If you take a quick look at their HP Printer Support channel on YouTube, you’ll find a wide array of videos that cover everything from clearing a carriage jam error to setting up a printer on a protected network.
Educational content doesn’t have to be limited to teaching people how to fix your products either. You can also create video tutorials that show customers how they could be using your products to solve everyday problems.
Luxy Hair, an ecommerce hair extension store that built their brand on YouTube, has a huge selection of tutorials on their channel that use their products for hairstyling tips, braiding demos, and more.
This video, showing quick and easy hairstyles for rushed mornings, is one of their most viewed pieces of content with over 14 million hits. Luxy Hair has made educational videos a central part of their YouTube strategy and they’ve managed to grow a community of over 2.5 million subscribers as a result.
Their content is designed to not only show new prospects how they could be using Luxy Hair’s products, but to also help current customers get more enjoyment out of their extensions. These videos seamlessly blend content and advertising, making them perfect for building trust with new visitors and reaching larger audiences.
When it comes to creating compelling video content, few things are more effective than great storytelling. Inspiring videos that fit into your business’ identity are perfect for communicating your brand’s image and ideals to a wider audience.
These types of aspirational videos should be geared towards building a lifestyle around your brand and showing customers that when they purchase your products, they aren’t just buying a thing - they’re buying an experience.
GoPro has become a leader in this arena with a diverse arsenal of YouTube content that builds an identity of adventure, exploration, and adrenaline around their line of action cameras.
Building a YouTube strategy around fun videos that cater to your audience’s interests is one of the best ways to capture viewers’ attention and focus it onto your products.
Vat19, an ecommerce gift shop that specializes in offbeat products, has built an impressive online empire with their engaging, highly targeted content. Their YouTube strategy focuses on building absurdist comedy sketches around their wide selection of novelty gifts to introduce new products to their audience. They’re currently sitting at over 2 million YouTube subscribers which means that this approach is definitely paying off.
One of their most popular videos features a 5 lb. gummy bear being destroyed in a series of slapstick experiments. The video looks and feels much more like a late night comedy show than a traditional video ad, making the CTA at the end encouraging viewers to buy the gummy bear that much more appealing.
While their sense of humor may not be for everyone, their videos are undoubtedly effective - their gummy bear video has been viewed over 25 million times. Vat19’s approach really shows what it takes to attract attention (and new customers) on YouTube with entertaining and unique content.
Optimizing Your Videos for Search
Staying on top of your YouTube SEO is critical if you want to get your videos noticed. Every minute, 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, so you need to be doing everything you can to stand out from the crowd.
Every element of your videos - from the title to the description to keywords - can have a huge impact on how prominently they get featured in search results. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your ranking on Youtube and get in front of viewers when they need to see you most.
Before you start optimizing your videos, you should narrow down which keywords you’ll be focusing on.
Brainstorm which keywords someone might search to come across your video and run them through a keyword planning tool like Keyword Tool for YouTube to make sure that they’re popular search terms. This can also be a solid source of inspiration for future videos - it’s a good idea to experiment with keywords and build future content around popular search terms in your industry.
One of the most important things that YouTube takes into consideration when determining the quality of your video is its engagement.
Encourage your viewers to leave a comment, subscribe, share, favourite, or hit the ‘Thumbs Up’ button after they’ve finished watching to increase your chance of showing up higher in search results. If you want to boost your engagement levels, try running a contest. Giveaways and contests are an excellent way to increase viewer participation and connect with your audience.
When YouTube is determining your rank, it will also take your video’s view count into consideration. To kickstart your views, make sure that you’re distributing your new videos through your email list and all of your business’ social media channels.
The actual format of your video also plays a role in your overall search ranking. Although Youtube can’t watch your videos to determine their content, there are a few other things that it looks at to make an educated guess.
Tips and Tricks
After covering everything above, you should be on your way to building an audience and maximizing your business’ potential on YouTube.
However, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, I’ve put together some nifty YouTube hacks that you can use to increase your subscribers and generate more traffic for your website.
Add a Watermark
A watermark is perfect for driving new viewers back to your channel and encouraging them to subscribe. These customizable images will be overlaid on every one of your uploads and link back to your channel, making it easy for new viewers to find more of your videos.
To add a watermark to your videos, take a look at your channel page and click on ‘Video Manager’. This should take you to the Creator Studio where you’ll be able to access some more in-depth settings for your account.
Once you get to the Creator Studio, click on ‘Channel’ in the sidebar.
A dropdown will appear under ‘Channel’. Click on ‘Branding’ and then ‘Add a Watermark’. You’ll now be able to upload an image that will show up in the corner of every one of your videos.
Enable an Automatic Subscription Prompt
It’s important to not only be driving people to your YouTube channel, but to also be encouraging them to subscribe while they’re there.
Whenever you provide a link to your channel, add “?sub_confirmation=1” to the end of your channel’s URL and a pop-under will automatically appear on your channel prompting visitors to subscribe.
Link Merch Cards to Your Website
As long as your account is verified, in good standing, and following YouTube’s community guidelines, you’ll be able to add Merch Cards to your videos. If you have a Shopify store, you can use Merch Cards to link your viewers directly to your store to buy the items featured in your videos.
If you want to add Merch Cards to your videos, just head to your Video Manager and click on ‘Edit’ for the video that you’d like to add a card to. At the top of your screen, several tabs will appear. Click ‘Cards’ and then ‘Link Cards’ and then add in the information for your products.
Learn how you can further monetize your YouTube channel in our Creator's Guide to Making Money on YouTube.
If you’ve followed all of these steps closely, you should be growing your business on YouTube in no time!
Have any more questions about setting up your YouTube channel? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to help you out.