Back to Basics is a Think with Google Canada series where Google experts explore digital marketing best practices. Bettina Hahn, Product Marketing Manager for YouTube SMB at Google, shares tips and resources to help small businesses get started on YouTube.
More than 2 billion people watch YouTube videos each month,1 but the way Canadians consume video content has evolved over the past year. More people are streaming YouTube on their TV screens and co-watching with friends and family, or looking for more immersive and real-time experiences, such as live streams.
This shift has created new opportunities for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to find creative ways to reach customers, attract new audiences and grow their business in the streaming era.
According to research from Oxford Economics, 73% of small businesses with a YouTube channel agreed that YouTube has helped them to grow their customer base.2 The research also showed that 1 in 2 small businesses who use YouTube agree that it has helped them sustain their business during COVID-19.3
Here are five ways small businesses can kick-start their video strategy.
Brand and customize YouTube channels
Branding YouTube channels can help businesses attract new audiences, and signal to customers that the channel is part of the larger brand experience. Use the branding tab and follow size requirements to add a profile picture and a banner image across the top, and include links to company web pages and social accounts. Customize channel content by adding a video spotlight or channel trailers with a call-to-action, like encouraging people to subscribe. You can also add featured sections to organize and showcase content or products as well as video watermarks to help keep brand logos front-and-centre while people are watching.
Craft video content that meets business goals
Sixty-five percent of small businesses with YouTube channels say they are using them to showcase their products and services.4 While there are endless options and approaches to content, staying focused on business goals can help create a streamlined strategy. Think of the styles of videos that can best meet those goals and who or what should appear in them. How-to videos, like these leather crafting tutorials from Little King Goods, can attract new audiences and sales through links to purchase similar products. Videos that take customers behind-the-scenes, like Simard Suspensions’ “Behind the Wheel” series, can help establish expertise in new markets. For a more comprehensive overview of video styles and the production steps needed to achieve them, check out Grow with Google’s video creation workshop.
Create a filming and editing strategy
Small businesses may have different comfort levels when it comes to being on camera or behind one. Those with a budget can hire creators to help film and edit videos, through the YouTube Creative Directory, but there are many free or inexpensive ways to create videos, like using a phone. Think of ways to best capture your business offerings, and the setup and equipment needed to make it a reality. For example, great lighting can showcase products in appealing ways. And don’t forget the art of editing —creator NotoriousKIA offers these 12 steps to video editing, and there are plenty of ideas and resources in YouTube’s Creator Academy.
Build a following and attract new customers
Optimizing YouTube channels can help reach new and potential customers. Research shows 71% of small businesses with a YouTube channel agreed that the platform helps them reach new audiences around the world5 and 79% of small businesses with a YouTube channel agreed their YouTube presence helps customers find them.6
Have a clear call-to-action in your videos and on your channel, such as directing people to subscribe or visit in-store, add relevant keywords in the description field, and search tags within YouTube Studios. The channels section is a great place to showcase brand partnerships, or work with other businesses to cross-promote content. Create a strategy for gaining subscribers, so new content can quickly reach audiences, and keep subscribers engaged with a consistent publishing schedule and things like content themes, trailers and teasers.
Explore new video features and formats
Canadians are turning to live and simultaneous viewing to gain a sense of community, including live shopping experiences. Research shows 81% of Canadians have watched a live stream over the past 12 months.7 Whether launching a product, teaching a class or hosting a Q&A, businesses can live stream right from their webcam or computer, and those with more than a thousand subscribers can live stream from their mobile phones. This opens more doors to creative, real-time customer interactions and community building opportunities.
Tune into YouTube Small Biz Day on June 24, 2021 to learn how to grow your business on YouTube from inspiring panels and helpful workshops, and shop from more than 20 unique small businesses from the U.S. and Canada live on YouTube.