In which I argue that for too long You Tube has been thought of as the ‘bolt on’ communications channel, that place where you chuck your films without a care and perhaps link via your ‘more popular’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
So what then, are we to make of the first quarter 2014 Ofcom Communications Market Report which shows that the most popular UK social media site is not Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin but yes, you guessed it, You Tube.
Yes, You Tube; that oft neglected corner of content that so many organisations large and small consider second fiddle to the Facebook and Twitter behemoths. That place where youngsters watch banal 30-second films but which, come on admit it, you find yourself navigating around more and more.
To me, as a self-confessed film content fan, this was perhaps the most startling statistic to come from the Ofcom report, which covered the first quarter of 2014, and certainly awakens a need for all comms professionals to start taking You Tube more seriously.
The findings run parallel to the fact that in the UK, You Tube is now the second largest search engine after Google.
So, let’s just quickly take a look at those facts again. You Tube is the most popular social media site in the UK, and the second largest search engine.
Then the massive elephant in the room has to be, ‘why oh why aren’t we doing more on You Tube to reach, engage and form relationships with our audiences?’
I recently had a meeting with a member of the Council’s sexual health and teenage pregnancy team, who are looking into developing a social media presence.
“We need Facebook and Twitter”, they said; but when faced with the above we started talking much more about You Tube as perhaps the best channel to engage with their target audience.
It wasn’t long before we started throwing creative ideas around and came up with a film idea that certainly has the potential to go viral, if and when it happens (watch this space).
So, acknowledging that You Tube could (should?) be a priority channel to communicate, what are some key tips to making it work?
Firstly, carry out an audit of who’s out there. Identify the key advocates, channel hosts or video bloggers and start talking to them, sharing their content and becoming a part of their conversation.
Collaboration is the keyword here; it’s a great way of attracting new audiences and also helps you to potentially work with other video creators to cross-promote content between channels.
You must work to get subscribers to your channel; it’s not all about viewers. Producing videos that fit a particular niche can be a good way of attracting these new subscribers.
In terms of content, You Tube shouldn’t just be seen as the host for those multi-thousand pound productions. Get out there with a smartphone, find a ‘moment that matters,’, film it and hit ‘upload’ – this can now be done almost as seamlessly as composing a content-heavy Facebook post.
Who out there has had a chance to start playing around with You Tube’s new live event offering? This could be ground-breaking in terms of offering your audiences a new way to find out what’s going on with their Council – in real time.
Think live interviews at the scenes of major projects, press launches syndicated live to your online media colleagues or, dare I say it, your own hosted live streaming of key Council meetings. And importantly, all for free.
If you do want to pay, You Tube’s TrueView video ads can also be deployed at certain times (although don’t make this a shortcut to replace meaningful content).
TrueView works by charging you when viewers actually choose to watch your ad and not when an impression is served.
We recently ran a campaign that utilised TrueView and resulted in a 1200% increase in views (9,711) of a film that had managed 760 organic views.
So on You Tube, essentially the same rules apply; find your relevant communities and key advocates and start talking with them – collaborate. Plan your content in-line with your audience’s tastes and then start creating content making sure it captures those ‘moments that matter’ making it as shareable and engaging as possible.
As always, access to Google’s mightily impressive analytics via You Tube is another essential step to evaluate your efforts, learn and evolve.
So, if You Tube is playing second fiddle in your social media comms, then now may be a good time to start tuning in to understand the benefits of what could be the most effective social media channel you currently have at your disposal.