How you can make YouTube work best for you

In the world of online video, is un-questionably king. With more than 14 billion views weekly, the average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube.

In the world of online video, is un­questionably king. With more than 14 billion views weekly, the average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube.

And video isn't just for kids singing into their webcam. It's a tool for the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, too.

Businesses, organizations, higher education institutions and nonprofits are catching on to the phenomenon by creating personalized brand pages.

As a self-admitted social nerd, my heart breaks a little for the pages that need some TLC. So here are 10 tips to keep it fresh and relevant in a world where 24 plus hours of video are uploaded every minute.

1. Above all else, keep it short.


It's no secret that social media has fostered the short attention span. Whether it's a Web page or RSS feed, consumers expect something that will grab their attention - and hold it. Be concise. The best time frame is two minutes or less.

2. Focus on the alpha and omega.

A photo is worth a thousand words - so imagine the equivalent for video. Start and end with visually compelling footage. Whenever possible, avoid talking heads during interviews. Instead, look for ways to illustrate and accentuate your message with cover video. Shoot boldly. Be unconventional. Look for the beauty in the mundane, and seek to capture its elegance.

3. Tell YOUR story.

Let each video speak for itself. Assume it's the only video for your company or organization that someone sees. Make sure a link to more information (i.e. website, Twitter, etc.) is at the top of the description.

4. Get involved in your community.

Don't expect to gain friends and subscribers without putting in the effort. Take the time to favorite/like and or comment on videos others have made - especially as relevant to your organization. Engage with your audience by responding to questions and asking your own.

5. Come to a proper ­resolution.


Whenever possible, use high-quality video. Know your export settings, and maximize the YouTube size regulations to your benefit. Pay attention to the trans­coding because YouTube converts anything uploaded to Flash 7, 250 Kbps. Keep in mind that uploads are expanded to 480 by 360 pixels for viewing, thus degrading the actual resolution of anything less. YouTube believes in size over quality - but you don't have to.

6. Listen, listen, listen.

If you shoot with the skill of a lifetime of practice but have poor audio, you have nothing. Even the most gorgeous 16:9 piece in the world can be instantly ruined by poor audio quality. Invest in a good microphone; it will pay off in the end.

7. Tag, you're it!

Don't overlook the power of descriptive words. You­Tube's content is organized by the tags you link to each of your videos. As one of the top search engines on the Web, YouTube will help promote your video in Web-wide searches as long as you label it correctly. Be creative about tags to maximize potential for your video to appear in recommended players, etc.

8. Hit the bull's-eye.

Know your target audience. Take advantage of YouTube's free analytic tools. Consider who is watching, subscribing and sharing your videos. Then think of ways to cater to them. Should you feature a simple mini-bio/interview with your CEO or rather a fast-hitting, graphic-infused recap of your organizations message? Think about the desired outcome. Do you want to raise awareness, increase sponsorship/sales or go viral?

9. Show your style.


Customizing your channel is well worth the time it takes to set up. Add your logo, branding, color scheme and any relevant links to familiarize viewers with your company's look and feel. It may sound obvious, but use your page. Don't create a page if you aren't going to regularly upload content. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is nothing more annoying than seeing that a brand has a social presence that's only been updated once since creation.

10. Post, re-tweet and share!

Don't assume people will know - or think - to look you up on YouTube. Find ways to integrate YouTube into your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. If you have a company blog or website, grab the embed code for an easy way to keep your viewer where you ultimately want them - on your website!

And after all that, have fun. The key to making good videos is enjoying yourself. So never stop experimenting. Look for new and interesting ways to shoot common scenes. Chances are that if you're enjoying yourself, so will your viewers.

Gia Rassier is a communications specialist at Concordia College in Moorhead. She blogs about new media at . This blog was posted Dec. 16, 2010.

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