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How you can use YouTube as part of your ecommerce strategy

What videos should I upload?

In my previous articles I brought forward some examples of the different types of video that could be used by an eCommerce company and some of the benefits using video can bring to your ecommerce website. In this article I want to discuss some of the methods and processes you should be considering when developing and distributing your videos.

A quick search on Google on ‘how to best optimise your channel or videos for YouTube’ will pull back thousands of pages, many claiming to have the best methods to get your videos in YouTube’s search results.

Although there may be some substance to some of these methods, the real truth of the situation is that there isn’t a magic formula that can help you get your videos appearing at the top of the search list.

YouTube is an intelligent system that uses multiple different means to decide where videos rank , it’s not something that can really be manipulated. There may a few techniques that could have possible short term benefits but YouTube will eventually disregard these anyway so I’d be more inclined not to try these and instead stick to the guidelines that YouTube provide in the YouTube Creators Playbook, the YouTube Creators Academy and the Creators Discovery Handbook. These resources are definitely worth a look before you start to develop your YouTube marketing strategy and are full of valuable insights, tips and information. If I had to try and summarise these resources in a single sentence it would be something like;

“Create quality content that viewers will engage with and make sure that you include a relevant description and keywords.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a production company to produce your videos, but you should take every care possible to make sure that the videos you do produce are actually watchable. Think about some of the bad videos you may have come across yourself, certain elements such as wobbly and shaky cameras or terrible sound quality should be avoided at all costs.

You should also make sure you don’t try and dupe viewers into watching your videos by adding vague titles with irrelevant descriptions and keywords. Instead try and be as accurate as you possibly can. If you have too many viewers switching your video off early because the content wasn’t what they was expecting, it will have a negative effect on your videos search rankings.

How can I optimise my channel?

So you have decided on the videos you want to upload, now you’re going to need a YouTube channel to upload them to. Your businesses YouTube channel should be linked to your business’ Google+ page, if you haven’t got one of these yet you can create one.

When you’ve created a Google+ Page for your business, you’ll need to login to YouTube and click the profile icon in the top right corner. You’ll now see an option to create a channel for your Google+ page (see image).

You’ll now want to start customising your channel to represent your business. There are many things you can do to make your channel unique including adding your own channel art, social links & description. YouTube provide lots of helpful information for setting up your channel which you can access here.

When uploading your videos you will also want to make sure that these are optimised as much as possible so that they’ll reach your intended audience.

The first way in which you can optimise your videos is with its title. Titles help both your audience and YouTube make sense of your content. Be sure to include relevant keywords that describe the content of your video. You only have a limited amount of space for your title so keep it concise and interesting, you can add additional details in your description.

Similar to the title, your video’s description is another way you can help your audience and YouTube’s discovery system understand what your video is about. You have much more space here to add a description, however only the first few sentences will show up in the search results so consider this when writing your description. You should also try and include any relevant keywords as these are used by YouTube to decide what your video is about. You should also consider including links to your website, social network profiles, and even your YouTube channel as this can help to drive traffic back to you and your website.

The tags system is another method YouTube uses to decide the content of your video. When creating your tags you should consider including a set of standard tags that can be applied across all of your videos on your channel, these should be keywords to describe your business or industry.

For more help & information about how to successfully optimise your YouTube channel so that it reaches the widest audience possible check out this useful resource from YouTube.

How often should I post new videos?

There are no hard and fast rules to follow when it comes to an upload schedule for your YouTube channel, a large part of your schedule will be dictated by the type of business you have. There are however some guidelines which should help build your following on YouTube.

Like all social media channels, lack of content can have a detrimental effect but YouTube isn’t exactly like any other social network so the rules are a little different. On most social networks old content becomes irrelevant rather quickly, however with YouTube your videos can actually remain relevant for some time depending on their content. This means you don’t need to post content as regular as you would on other networks.

You should however still try and maintain some form of regularity with your video uploads, if you upload one video every month, try and keep it at a similar point of the month such as the first or last weeks of a month. Not only will this help your viewers know when to expect a new video to be uploaded, but it will also help you remember when you’re due to upload a new video so that you can build it into your routine.

What are annotations used for and how can I implement them?

Another useful feature of YouTube, and one that’s often overlooked is the use of Annotations. Using YouTube’s annotations you can overlay text and hyperlinks to your videos which can serve a number of purposes. You can select which region of the screen, and at which time during the video you want these annotations to be displayed.

YouTube annotations can be used in a number of ways, below is a small list of some of the more common uses;

  • Call to action (telling your customers to buy now, or subscribe to your channel)

  • Introducing other videos (At the end of a video it might be worthwhile linking to some of your other videos which are related)

  • Humorous interjections (Add a little light humour to your videos to express your personality)

Are there any other things I can do to improve my channel?

There are so many features and functions that YouTube provides that I couldn’t possibly list them all here, but if I was asked to create a shortlist of some of the features I consider essential then it would include the following;

Analytics: YouTube has an inbuilt analytics system that provides you with information about how both your channel and your individual videos are performing. You can monitor everything from the number of plays, the length of playback, referrals, playback locations and subscriber counts. If you take the time to monitor these insights, over time you will be able to use the data to decide what is working for your channel and optimise your future videos to perform better.

Organise content into playlists: Similarly to how most music software allows you to create playlists of your favourite songs, YouTube allows you to create playlists for your videos. You can use these playlists to categorise your videos which will help you introduce your viewers to other videos that they might not have found otherwise. Playlists can also help drive up engagement time and view counts which will also have a positive effect on how your channel performs in YouTube’s search algorithms.

Share socially: Don’t just upload your videos to YouTube and expect the rest of the world to find them, especially if you have already built up a following on other social network platforms. YouTube videos can be shared easily with most social networks and utilising these other networks can help boost your videos performance on YouTube. You can also use your videos to boost your following on other social networks by adding links in the videos description asking viewers to follow you.

Interact with audience: This is pretty much standard procedure across all social networks, and YouTube is no exception to this rule. The best way to build an audience is to interact with the ones that are interacting with you. Conversation can drive conversions so don’t allow potential customers to slip by, if someone asks you a question then give an answer, if someone has a suggestion then let them know you have taken it onboard. Interacting with your customers is a great way to build up a loyal following, and it’s those loyal followers who are most likely to watch your videos.

AdWords: AdWords is Google’s paid advertising platform and it crosses over to YouTube seamlessly. Using AdWords you improve your channels visibility to new customers by placing adverts across YouTube. There are many different ways in which this can be achieved including pre-roll video ads (the adverts that appear before a YouTube video), display ads (Static image based adverts that appear on YouTube pages), and search (where your videos will be listed at the top of the search list depending on the keywords used in the search term).

That’s just a hand-picked selection of some of the different ways in which you can give your YouTube channel a boost. If you’re looking to take the plunge into using video as a marketing platform for your business then the points covered in this article are a great starting point, but don’t forget that the YouTube Creator Playbook is a fantastic resource that covers these points, plus many more.

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