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How to Use YouTube for Social Media Engagement

The Grand Poobah of online video is undoubtedly YouTube, a social media giant. The latest statistics on its website state that more than 800 million unique users visit YouTube every month and watch more than 4 billion hours of video. Users upload 72 hours of video to YouTube every minute.

In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views, or around 140 views for every person on Earth. And on and on it goes.

This list describes several winning features that make YouTube useful for SME:

  • It's free. You can't beat free for hosting video files online, especially when files can be large and cumbersome.

  • It attracts numbers. The sheer volume of members and viewers makes YouTube a natural choice for video hosting and engagement.

  • It benefits from search engine optimization (SEO). The added benefit of how YouTube videos show up in Google searches makes your videos hosted there potentially much more accessible.

  • It has tools that are easy to use. Editing and embedding video can seem complicated until you use basic tools such as the ones offered on YouTube.

  • It has a number of community features. YouTube incorporates engagement features into its site and video player, including the ability for anyone to Like, comment on, embed, e-mail, and share videos (as long as they're signed into their Google account). The site also offers a video commenting option.

  • It offers advertising options. YouTube offers a number of paid advertising options to give your videos a boost and exposure to more people for potential engagement.

YouTube isn't the only free video-hosting site on the block. Vimeo, for example, offers a free membership level and provides good-quality video playback and an elegant video player. If you're looking for the highest number of eyeballs on your video message — and potentially the highest number of interactions and shares for your video — YouTube is undeniably the right tool.

YouTube is considered the second-largest search engine in the world. (Google is first.) It doesn't hurt that Google owns YouTube. Your videos on YouTube may therefore have a better chance of visibility than if they're hosted on other video sites.

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