Television is probably a thing of the past. What we naively called the ‘Second Screen’ in 2011 is now the ‘only screen.’ In ever-increasing numbers, people are “cutting the cord” and turning to the internet for video-based entertainment. Netflix and Hulu Plus are doing just fine, but YouTube is the “free” option that has become the clear winner in this fight.
As of this month, according to REEL SEO, YouTube has taken the crown as “Largest Social Media Network.” What does that mean?
“YouTube.com had 167,848,349 unique visitors in June 2014, up slightly from 167,737,934 in May. Facebook.com had 166,497,314 unique visitors in June 2014, down slightly from 168,320,857 in May.”
Give or take a few hundred thousand, YouTube saw around 1 Million more unique visitors than Facebook did, this past June. Aside from the ever-present Death Of Facebook language, the general theme of most articles on the subject is that now is the best time to reconsider your YouTube strategy – or lack thereof. As always, we would warn against following the crowd. Popularity is almost never the most important factor in determining where your social media spend should go. YouTube’s 167 Million visitors don’t mean much to you if none of them fall under your target audience.
So how can you tell if YouTube is right for your brand?
The best YouTube channels deliver consistent content.
YouTube power users – the people that come back to the channel every day – want fresh content. Television stations don’t win new viewers with re-runs, and YouTube is no different. The best brands on YouTube run their channels exactly like a TV network. Videos in the same series come out on the same day every week. Each day has a different schedule: Music videos every Monday, Vlogs every Tuesday, Highlights of the week every Friday, and so on. While this amount of content is not a requirement to get in the door, you will need to be prepared for a huge time investment if you want to see millions of subscribers on your channel.
Successful content creators know what their audience is looking for.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Users come to YouTube to learn how to fix their cars. They come to YouTube to learn about the history of architecture in the Middle East. They come to settle bets, learn magic tricks, and catch up on news. Integration with Google Search means YouTube videos will pop up in response to even general searches on Google.com. The channels that gather the most fans are generating content tailored to please that audience. They’re giving lectures, showing off unique skills, and bringing value to their subscribers. Even at the most basic level, if a channel isn’t doing anything else, it’s at least entertaining.
If your idea of a YouTube video is having someone read marketing copy in front of a camera, you will be disappointed in your results.
Popular YouTube channels feature genuine people.
Reality TV lost its charm sometime around season two of Real World. Consumers looking for real humans on film turned to the internet. Some of the biggest stars to come out of YouTube, like author John Green (2.3 Million Subscribers), gamers Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley (7 Million Subscribers), and makeup designer Michelle Phan (6.7 Million Subscribers), got where they are without gimmicks, acts, or celebrity guests. Brands like Old Spice definitely make the case that high production values and huge budgets can pay off on social media, but something as simple as a musician sharing a real human moment can be just as powerful. You don’t need to force Minecraft or Russian Dash Cams into your video clips to be successful – you just need someone willing to get in front of the camera.