Leveraging the Power of Video
In this series, we’ve covered some of the most recognisable names in social media today, breaking down their platforms into easily implemented techniques for building a personal brand and growing your professional network. One of the most easily overlooked, but massively underrated platforms across the landscape of social media is YouTube, the largest video-sharing site on the web. As the rise of SnapChat and Instagram can attest, entertainment-oriented platforms can have a huge impact on your branding success, and there’s no better place to leverage the power of video for branding and networking than YouTube.
Platform Overview: YouTube
YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing site, with over 1.3 billion users watching nearly 5 billion videos every day. In terms of penetration, it could be considered the most popular social media site on the web today, even bigger than Facebook despite the difference in users. 68% of the US online population alone have used YouTube at some point, and its reach extends around the globe. Video is one of the most personal forms of branding and networking, and one of the most useful. The massive user base which YouTube provides, coupled with its intuitive and easy-to use design, makes it a formidable tool in your branding and networking arsenal.
Via Public Domain Stock Photos | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Five Key Features: YouTube
Live streaming is one of the best ways to reach your audience on a personal level. Live events make your viewers and followers feel like they are right there with you, and YouTube offers two different options for sharing your experiences in real-time: Hangouts on Air and Live Streaming. Hangouts on Air is a partnership feature with Google +, while Live Streaming is YouTube specific. Hangouts can be hosted by anyone at any time, however with streaming there is a catch, you need 1,000 subscribers before you can stream. Despite the growth of Facebook Live, Youtube is still the leader when it comes to video.
You can add purpose to your videos themselves with the Cards feature. Cards are short added clips that viewers can click to do whatever the card is designed to do. There are six options for video cards: Links (link to your website, a crowdfunding site, or a merchandiser), Donations (fans can donate to a charitable organisation directly), Fan Funding (fans can pay you directly for approved videos), Channel (link to another channel), Poll (take a vote), and Video/Playlist (link to another video or a playlist).
YouTube gives you several text-based options to maximise your networking and branding potential. Longform descriptions, titles, metadata tags, and categories can all be optimised to get your message to the people you want it to reach. You can also enable or disable comments on your videos and engage directly with your audience.
YouTube also has an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand video editor built right into the site under the enhancements option. No outside software required. You can mix and match video clips and images into a single video file, add text and other effects to your videos, add a soundtrack from the music library, and trim your video by cutting outtakes and unnecessary fluff. For those who want to harness this powerful medium, but aren’t experienced videographers, the on-site editor makes it easy.
There are lots of customisation tools that let you tailor the image you project on YouTube. You can use branded banners for your channel, create sections to change the layout, and change your channel icon and art to reflect your personal brand or your professional expertise. You can also create a trailer for your channel and add custom thumbnails to your videos. YouTube has a huge number of options to make your channel uniquely yours.
Who watches YouTube? Everyone watches YouTube.
The user demographics for the site transcend age, income, racial, geographical, language, and gender lines. 70% of visits to YouTube come from outside the US. YouTube is slightly more popular with men than women, with professionals making upwards of $75K per year, and with educated people, particularly millennials. These differences are almost negligible, though, and you can harness the platform to reach almost any target group you can think of.
Power User Tricks & Tips: YouTube
When you upload a video to Youtube, it will automatically generate a transcript for your video. This is helpful for when you’re watching tutorials or learning new skills. More importantly, you can easily edit the transcript of your video, you can use this give more information and share your personality or other posts.
Have some friends who also use Youtube? Together you can curate, create and share video playlists. Using this tool, you could put together a playlist of videos which are complementary, highlighting the best you both have to share.
Sound Effects & Music
When uploading videos you might notice the sound effects tab, Youtube has a library of high-quality and royalty free sound effects for you to add to your videos. The same goes for music, Youtube provides both options royalty free so you can make your video look and sound great.
Networking Opportunities: YouTube
With professionals from nearly every industry utilising YouTube as a branding, networking, and marketing tool, the platform is a goldmine for influential contacts and shareable, actionable information to use in your personal and professional branding. Video is a massively important tool for letting your network get to know you remotely and for establishing yourself as an authority in your field. There is no better place on the web to maximise the branding and networking potential of the medium than YouTube. Engagement is easy to manage, achieve, analyse, and easy to maintain. The site itself is intuitive, making it a breeze to add to your branding strategy.
YouTube is a powerful tool for building your personal brand, and it uses one of the most valuable mediums for connecting to your audience: video. People trust professionals that foster a personal connection, and there’s nothing more personal than a face-to-face interaction, even if it’s through a digital lens. Video sharing helps to create those connections, and lets potential employers, clients, and industry contacts get to know you. Using YouTube to leverage that powerful personal connection is a winning strategy for personal branding and professional networking.