Getting started with… YouTube


YouTube has been around for sometime but is often forgotten by social media managers who look to the more obvious channels like Twitter and Facebook. It’s a great shame as – with the right strategy – YouTube really can help promote your business.

More than three BILLION(!) hours of video are watched on YouTube each month so there’s a great audience there waiting for your content. It’s also owned by Google so having a YouTube presence can earn you SEO credentials too.

Maybe you’ve often thought that this site isn’t for you? Let’s see if our top 10 YouTube tips can help change your mind…

#1: Set up a channel

Let’s start with the basics. Head to and set up a ‘channel’ – also known as a profile. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to own your own domain within YouTube, there are extensive options for branding but the best places to start are by heading to ‘settings’ and adding profile picture (also known as an avatar) and a background. Use company imagery so that it’s evident your organisation has a presence here.

#2: Complete your profile

Once you have your ‘channel’ set up, add information about your company on there as well as details of the types of videos you will be posting. This helps ‘subscribers’ (more on those later) make a decision on whether to engage with your brand on YouTube.

And keep that relationship between Google and YouTube at the front of your mind – ensure that the language and words you use within your ‘profile’ are in sync with language you’re using on other social platforms and your own website. This will help with SEO rankings.

#3: Don’t have an empty channel

Now, don’t worry. Once your channel is established you don’t need to immediately worry about creating videos. You can create an interesting and relevant channel through creating a feed of other user videos.

72 hours of content are added onto YouTube ever minute so you won’t be short on content! Just search around the site for interesting examples of best practice in your industry, great videos and campaigns by your clients or peers and then ‘favourite’ them so that they appear on your own channel. It’s a great way of keeping active on the site and celebrating the work of other users on there.

#4: Add your own content

Point #3 is a great way of seeing examples of what’s good and what’s not on YouTube and by doing this you’ll start to form ideas about your own content you can add to the site.

Just remember some golden rules about your own videos:

  • They have to be relevant and show an interesting side to your business – be that the people, the service or product
  • They should be short – no one is going to sit and watch a YouTube video if it’s 20 minutes long. Ideally you want to tease and lure in your audience with concise 90 second to 3 minute videos
  • Be conscious of copyright – there is no harm in sharing other user videos legitimately (see point #3) but don’t upload videos produced by other people unless you have permission to do so!

#5: Deciding on video content

Once you’ve understood the key points above, the best place to start when adding your own videos is by looking in your archives, is there anything you can add from your company’s own back catalogue?

Then it’s time to start thinking about a strategy for relevant uploads moving forward. Try and use your YouTube channel to showcase new thinking, products and services. Maybe a 90-second video blog from the company owner about new products? This can be as simple as a short piece to an iPhone camera!

#6: Organise your channel

From the word go get your channel’s organisation right. If you’re uploading videos ensure that they’re categorized, add playlists and help your customers and other users navigate their way around your content.

Also use features such as YouTube ‘tags’, this allows you to attach keywords to your videos – and again helps with SEO.

#7: Get subscribers

Once you’ve got a channel set up and lots of interesting content on there it’s time to start engaging. On YouTube you can attract ‘subscribers’ who opt into information about your channel and are notified on new videos that you add, another great way of creating a group of online brand advocates.

There are a number of ways in which to attract them:

  • Subscribe yourself: Look for interesting, informative and likeminded channels o subscribe to. The more you engage with other users in this way the more you’ll attract reciprocal engagement.
  • Add a YouTube button: let your audiences on other areas of the internet know that you’re on YouTube. A simple icon on your website, a ‘YouTube’ app box on Facebook should help direct people to your channel
  • Use good descriptions: When adding videos add interesting and ‘searchable’ terms so that your videos come up in general user searches. If you’re a florist and you’re uploading ‘how to’ videos on florist arrangements, take a look at the keywords other florists are using in their videos. You’ll soon start appearing in the same searches.

#8: Take feedback on board

On YouTube, users can comment on other people’s videos – whether they’re a subscriber or not. This is another interesting area as it’s somewhere you can get direct feedback from customers. Keep an eye on this section and take the feedback on board (it can be a cheap and effective method of market research) but also keep an eye on negative comments too.

#9: Comment yourself

Remember that YouTube is a SOCIAL media channel! It isn’t just a video archive so as with point 8, ensure that you too comment on other’s videos. It’s a great way of getting your profile seen by other users, attracting subscribers and encouraging people to watch your own videos.

#10: Analyse the results

In the same way as with other social media platforms, ensure that YouTube is delivering a return for your business; be that traffic to your website, enquiries or simply an increase in brand awareness of people watching your videos.

There’s a handy free tool on YouTube which helps gather statistics to help you analyse your efforts – this feature gives you individual video views, channel views and geographical data of viewers.


Using a wide mix of the right social media channels helps broaden your organisation’s social footprint, creating more presence for you across the web. Successful brands have a well established social footprint through engaging on a mix of channels as part of a coherent campaign. YouTube can contribute to your social media footprint and with the right language and use of brand and industry keywords can help maintain a presence online which is search engine optimised. Check each of our ‘Getting Started With…’ guides for further details.

About the Author

  • Leanne Forshaw Jones

    Leanne Forshaw Jones is a PR consultant with more than a decade's experience in delivering integrated campaigns which blend traditional and emerging medias. Leanne advises clients including Urban Splash, Manchester Grammar School, Manchester Arndale, Breville, Ballymore Group, Space0 and more on their communication strategies and has delivered seminars to national and regional groups on integrating their digital and offline presence and maximising the opportunities that new media brings.


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