5 Tips For Using YouTube

I’ve used multiple avenues for sharing videos, some names you may not even recognize. Remember It’s not around anymore. Google even had it’s own video sharing service before they bought YouTube and merged their videos into it.

YouTube has really come into its own and evolved into a true social media platform…so much so that Facebook wants that share of the pie too (a post for another day).

Here are a few tidbits about YouTube that you’ll want to take advantage of:

1. Subscribers. Having subscribers is big. YouTube does this great thing and notifies your subscribers when you post new videos. The subscribers ultimately choose how often and when they want these notifications, but the more you get, the more likely your new videos will be seen. If they are getting seen by these fans that are bought into your channel, your views go up. Hopefully, your loyalist will share your videos via other social media channels. Doing that leads to more views and you got it…more subscribers.

Here’s a little trick that I started using recently with YouTube channels I work with. I’ll show you my church for an example.

If you have a link on your website, email blast, Facebook or Twitter post, add this: ?sub_confirmation=1 at the end of your address. It will look like this:

Go ahead and click it to see what happens and become a subscriber to my church’s YouTube channel.

2. Custom Thumbnails. I admit, this is something I’m still experimenting with to determine its usefulness, but it sure does make your channel look nice and when you embed a video gives a professional appearance.

Again check out my church – Notice how most videos have a custom thumbnail versus the random image that YouTube pulls out.

YouTube reports that engaging thumbnails (however you choose to define that depends on your audience) increases click through rates. What I can confirm through my experience is that it shows you are actively producing videos and putting a little extra thought into their presentation across multiple channels.

Here are a couple important factors that YouTube points out when creating thumbnails for your videos:

  • Have a resolution of 1280×720 (with minimum width of 640 pixels)
  • Be uploaded in image formats such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp or my personal favorite .png.
  • Remain under the 2MB limit
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio as it’s the most used in YouTube players and previews

3. Take advantage of the YouTube channel tips. On the right-hand side of your home page (while logged in), YouTube shows channel tips. Basically, it’s a list of suggestions that YouTube is giving you to show you how to better engage your audience.

It has good suggestions. Read through them and do as many of them as possible.

4. Live streaming is available. Some people actually are able to stream live events for free using it. You’ll need to have your account verified, in good standing then go to your account features to enable it. Once it’s enabled, you’ll have a new option in your video manager for live events.

5. Copyright infringement is serious business. YouTube takes copyright violations seriously. Even ones that aren’t your fault (long story). Violate it, you get to go to copyright school and watch this fun video. I’d suggest watching it now so you don’t have to do it later. I say this from experience, and I’m a little annoying to others about copyrights and it still happened to me.

Last but not least…YouTube is constantly changing. YouTube has recently introduced an ad-free subscription service. There’s even a YouTube for Kids app that’s had over millions of downloads already. The gist is that it will enable families to have a simpler and safer video viewing experience.

So if you’re already producing videos, jump into YouTube. It’s not just cat videos anymore.