Between focusing on creating consistently outstanding video content, the endless drive to get viewers to become loyal subscribers, and other factors, maintaining a successful YouTube channel isn’t always as painless as we’d like it to be. That said, there are a few helpful techniques that take little time and effort to implement that can make a huge impact. Sociality Squared picked out nine quick and easy practices that are sure to improve your YouTube channel for longtime fans and newcomers alike:
- Embrace the Comments –
Everyone knows that YouTube comments can be a scary place, but if you interact with your community in a positive and constructive way, you might be surprised how people will react in return. Answering questions and responding to problems or major criticisms in your channel’s tone of voice will help to build relationships and trust within the YouTube community. Try to deliver speedy replies to inquiries whenever possible, and feel free to delete toxic remarks to help make your video comment pages a better place for your genuine fans.
- Apply Channel Tags –
While YouTube automatically assigns each video that you upload a series of associated channel tags, it a great idea to enter your own to help give your videos a bit of extra visibility within the average user’s search results. Some of the custom YouTube channel tags that you should consider applying to videos include the main topic of the video, its title, and search terms that you believe that people would use to find your content. Keep in mind that there is a 500 character limit for all of your channel tags, so use them wisely. It might sound odd, but consider including a few misspelled words as channel tags, because we’re all human, and if someone flubs up a search, but finds what they wanted via your video, it’s a win-win for everyone!
For example, if we were to select the channel tags for this trailer for Disneynature’s Bears, we might use “Disneynature”, “Disney Nature”, “Bears”, “Alaska”, “Grizzly Bears”, “Brown Bear Cubs”, “Earth Day”, “Nature Movie”, etc.
- Selecting the Top Thumbnails –
For better or worse, everyone’s clicked on a video just because it featured an interesting thumbnail at some point. Take advantage of people’s curiosity by selecting eye-catching thumbnails for your videos taken from high quality images, and make sure they are easily distinguishable from other videos in its genre. As a golden rule, YouTube’s thumbnails must be under 2MB, have a resolution of 1280×720, and a minimum width of 640 pixels. Some tactics to help your videos stand out from the crowd include placing the video’s title in the thumbnail, using an exciting still from the video that does an excellent job of representing its content, and keeping a consistent visual theme throughout all of the video thumbnails on your channel. Don’t forget that if you are using image editing software to fine-tune your thumbnails, zoom out to get a sense of how the image will appear when it is uploaded.
- Set a Featured Video –
YouTube automatically selects the “Most Recent Video in Featured Set” option, so that the last video that you’ve uploaded becomes your featured video. Since your featured video is the first thing that viewers see when they arrive at your YouTube channel, make a terrific first impression by either setting an introductory video, or the greatest video in your collection as your featured video. This way, viewers will learn what your channel is all about, or will be compelled to check out your other content because you’ve knocked their socks off at first sight. Choosing a special featured video is an excellent technique for YouTube channels that don’t upload videos on a regular basis, but if you release daily or weekly content, allowing the newest content to be your featured video works just as well.
- Complete the About Page –
This one’s a no-brainer: YouTube provided a page for you to share who you are, what viewers should expect from your channel, with plenty of opportunities to insert links to your social media and affiliated websites, as well as some interesting stats about your history on YouTube, so use it! Spend a few minutes to fill out your About Page; your future fans will appreciate the additional ways to stay in the loop with everything that you do. If you need some inspiration to create an excellent About Page for your YouTube channel, look no further than the Muppet’s prime example:
- Customize the Channel –
Have you decked out YouTube with your personal brand? Outside of your video content, how else will people instantly recognize your channel? Make it easy for people to find and learn more about you by uploading cover art, a custom background, a slick color scheme, social media buttons, your logo, personalized descriptions of each video, links to your other web properties, and additional identifying features. Since your YouTube channel can easily be an integral part of your online platform, it is important to take the time to customize it and make it yours.
- YouTube Cards –
If your videos were made to promote a specific action, such as raising money or selling products, YouTube Cards are a streamlined tool that allows videos to directly link to online marketplaces, fundraising sites, playlists, and other related content to promote interaction from viewers. Click here to learn all about the classic YouTube annotation’s inevitable replacement via Sociality Squared’s Guide to YouTube Cards.
- Playlists –
If you have uploaded a number of videos centered around a certain theme on your channel (music videos, commercials, etc.), there’s no reason to allow fans of a single topic to sift through all of your uploaded content to see the next video in the series. Not only does building dedicated playlists make it easier for viewers to navigate your YouTube channel, they are extremely simple to create, making playlists an excellent tool for anyone who publishes content on a regular basis, uploads a variety of videos, and for special kinds of content such as a multi-part video sequence intended to be seen in a certain order.
- Take Advantage of Annotations –
While YouTube Cards may depose annotations someday, well-placed annotations are still an effective and easy way to interact with your viewers. Some of the best uses for annotations include linking to the following video in a series, including a subscription link near the end of a video, suggesting other videos that viewers may enjoy, and sharing links to other relevant content that fans would appreciate. Don’t place too many annotations on the screen at once, clutter the viewing area with obnoxiously positioned notes, or select colors that may blend with the visuals (e.g. setting a green annotation over footage of a rainforest).
If you’ve taken the time to implement all nine tips, your YouTube channel is now customized to showcase your personal brand, simpler for long-time supporters to navigate, and much easier for newcomers to discover. Now that you’ve gotten these easy improvements out of the way, take some time to sit back and enjoy the new and improved YouTube channel that you’ve set up. Don’t take too long though–your audience is already hungry for more top-notch videos from their favorite channel!