YouTube has been a widely used platform for years and years now and has become a crucial part of the average business owner's marketing plan. YouTube can be an incredibly valuable tool for small business owners - if you know how to use it well and encourage engagement. There’s a lot to learn, whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand your channel.
To create a YouTube channel, you need to do so through Google+, since it is a Google-owned platform. This is where you can update your avatar and your channel art. Canva and Picmonkey are great online tools you can use easily and freely to create these. You’ll also need to work through Google+ to change your channel’s name and your account information.
Once you have all of this setup, here comes the slightly more terrifying part:
Talking in front of the camera
One of the hardest parts about starting a channel, or developing an existing one, is getting comfortable in front of the camera. You’ll need to accept when you delve into this journey that you are going to be nervous (and it will likely be obvious), you probably won’t like how you look or sound when you play it back, you won’t have many subscribers or viewers at the start, and despite all this, you’ll have to upload it anyway.
Even business owners I’ve spoken with who’ve struggled to find success on YouTube, have never regretted trying. You can give yourself a thousand reasons not to start your channel, but you can never improve or begin to thrive if you don’t make a start somewhere. Start with the basics, and start today. Don’t focus too much on your little mistakes; the way your outfit looks in the footage, how often you stutter. Instead, focus on your idea and how you portray it to your handful of viewers. Build up your ideas and publish them online.
Remind yourself post-publish that there will always be areas to improve. And if you think your first video is bad, view it as a method of comparison for your next, higher-quality video. The more you practice, the more video making will feel like second nature. You might receive some hate or nothing at all, but you should utilize that as motivation to keep improving. And at all times, look toward your adventure on this new platform excitedly.
Unlike a lot of people seem to think, it doesn’t take the latest, most expensive gadgets to start a successful YouTube channel. Even business owners with a low budget can successfully create content that’s worth watching. The most important pieces of equipment you need for high-quality footage is lighting, a microphone, and something to actually record with.
What device you choose to record your content is, of course, the most important equipment decision. I think it’s worth the investment to indulge in a more expensive camera that’s good for beginners and will do some of the work for you (The Canon rebel T4 is a good option). However, I know a lot of successful creators on YouTube who started up by filming with their webcams or iPhones and built towards purchasing a proper video camera. If you have a newer model of phone, your camera quality will likely be good enough to start. Like I explained earlier, viewers will subscribe for the quality of your ideas, not your equipment.
Furthermore, to save money on lighting, try to film while there’s still visible natural light. Film near a window if you can, getting as much natural light on your face as possible, as well as any other areas you want to be seen clearly. Natural daylight will give your videos a bright, natural look, which is always preferred. It gives your viewers a more authentic experience, and it’s easy on the eyes. If you don’t have a good area to film, use white artificial lighting to point at you from behind the camera. Avoid overhead lighting and backlighting at all costs.
The last piece of equipment you may want to invest in is a good quality microphone. Audio quality is the one aspect of your content that will drive away or hook a viewer. Your audience can handle an occasionally shaky camera. But if your audio is bad, they’re gone. There are plenty of affordable microphones on Amazon, but keep in mind that a lot of video cameras pick up audio really well. If you’re doing something simple and a little more interactive that doesn’t rely on brilliant quality like a 5-minute webinar, headphones with a mic will work perfectly well.
Tip (More of a warning): The filming setup will probably be a crazy mess most of the time, but your viewers can’t see that so try not to worry!
Finding the right editing software that works well for you is crucial. Microsoft’s Movie Maker holds all the basics that you need, but you’ll eventually want to advance into more intricate editing. That’s where Adobe’s Premier Pro and Final Cut (originally created for Apple) come in. Unless you’re a student (in which case your university library probably provides access to these programs), these tools are a little on the pricey side. It’s worth downloading a free trial of both so you can decide which programs really work for you and your videos. Another program, however, is one called Wondershare Filmora. The price of this program is a singular one-off payment of $49.99. This application is a great starter editor, as I personally think Premier Pro and Final Cut take a lot of getting used to. If you haven’t edited videos consistently before, it might be an idea to research eCourses to help you out.
Using YouTube live is quite similar to Periscope (a Twitter-owned live streaming service). Periscope is more simplistic in terms of how to actually access the live streaming feature, but both have similar formats. YouTube is great for hosting live webinars, where you can encourage viewers to ask you questions, then answer them live on screen. Live streaming makes for a more intimate and interactive relationship with your viewers. It also helps you to interact with a smaller number of subscribers who have set aside the time to catch your video at the right time.
Applying to Your Business
Now that I’ve given you the down-low on how to get set up and begin creating content, I’m now going to let you know how this applies to your business. YouTube can be so beneficial for your business, and there are so many ways you can encourage engagement from your viewers and expand your company through it. YouTube allows you, just like Instagram or Twitter, to represent your brand in a clear and consistent way. Your branding on YouTube (your channel art, avatar, thumbnails etc.) need to match the branding on your website and should reflect what your business is all about. If your company is about coaching business owners, make sure you're represented as a professional through your branding, and your content focuses on business expansion. It wouldn’t make sense to have a cooking channel, would it?
You can use your content to find and book new clients. Make sure you use your description boxes below the video to its advantage. Note down all the other areas of the internet where viewers can find you. Tell them in greater detail what it is you do and how you can help them out with you business. Clients who have found you through your YouTube channel will feel like they’ve had personal interactions with you through watching your videos and will be much more likely to book a consultation with you than if they’d just found your website. Use your content to establish yourself as an expert, so people will remember your name for future reference.
YouTube is a fantastic way to interact with your clients more personally and authentically. You show your face and a small part of your personal life. Your clients will feel like they’re having a real life conversation with you. If you’re a business owner who often communicates through writing, it will be interesting and appeal to your customers when they see your producing video content. Share your content across your other platforms and let people know what’s happening with your channel through blog posts and newsletters.
YouTube can also be a way to earn a little extra cash (or possibly big income in the long run). If you set up Google Adsense and work with sponsors or affiliates, you can earn extra money from content you’d create either way.
I hope this post helped you to use YouTube more effectively! Do you use YouTube for your business? What has your experience been like?