13 Actionable Strategies to Grow a YouTube Channel in 2020 (Besides Optimize My SEO)

13 Actionable Strategies to Grow a YouTube Channel in 2020 (Besides Optimize My SEO)

How can I grow my YouTube channel?

Why’s my YouTube not growing as fast as others?

I’m posting good content but I see other mediocre content perform better than mine!!

Is it good to upload videos to my channel daily?

How long does it take to get 1000 subscribers on YouTube?

Or should I just buy my first 1000 subscribers and hopefully grow from there?

Sounds like questions you ask yourself?

Well, growing a new YouTube channel can be so frustrating especially now that there are billions of videos posted daily. But it’s even better knowing that about 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.

This basically gives us the hope that we can as well grow our YouTube channels to the high thousands or even millions. Now that’s completely true with the right strategies and tools (which we’re going to be sharing with you in this pretty long guide).

With YouTube’s massive growth, it’s even estimated that by 2025, half of the viewers unders 32 will not subscribe to a Pay-Tv service or software.

That’s huge for this video streaming platform!

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to grow your YouTube channel the right way, quickly. We’ll be revealing strategies that have helped us grow our client’s channel to hundreds of thousands by producing effective content and following the exact strategy we’ll be sharing with you here.

Ready?

Let’s get started:

13 Actionable Ways to Grow a YouTube Channel Besides “Optimize My SEO”?

First off, we got this question from Quora.com but we’ll not only reveal strategies to grow your YouTube channel besides SEO. We’ll also reveal our best YouTube SEO practices right in this guide.

This way, you’ll have a complete, an up to date blueprint to grow a new (or struggling) YouTube channel.

So let’s get started:

1. Be An Active Commenter

Did you know commenting could be as powerful as having a celebrity share your YouTube link?

I think not, right?

Here’s what we mean

Have you noticed the new comments section?

I bet you have.

Well, it simply highlights or pins the best comment on any YouTube video. Think of it as free exposure to thousands of viewers on a YouTube video that’s related to your channel.

Since the new YouTube look, we’ve paid close attention to comments and drop comments on videos or channels with people that might be interested in our content.

And here’s the part I love about dropping comments.

You don’t need to get a “best comment” before you get free exposure. Simply dropping engaging comments can lead to hundreds or even thousands of likes from people around the globe.

Let me ask you; when was the last time you scrolled through and read the comments on a YouTube video while watching it?

Probably not long ago right?

Most viewers prefer to read what people (fans, audience, customers etc.) have to say in the comments while playing and listening to videos.

Thus, here’s a strategy:

Step 1: Make a list of 10 to 15 YouTube consistent channels with hundreds of thousands of subscribers (that are your target audience too).

Step 2: Subscribe to their channels and turn on post notifications.

Step 3: Actively drop engaging comments that get viewer-attention.

Think outside the box and make people relate so well to it. That’s what stands out!

2. Ensure You Have a Branded YouTube Profile

Branding is crucial in YouTube marketing. As a matter of fact, YouTube’s mission is to “give everyone a voice and to show them the world”.

YouTube gives you the opportunity to showcase your personality, passions, skills, ideas and more through your videos.

Branding is simply the tone, feel and characteristics that sets your channel apart from the other channels

If you are like me, you kind of tend to remember a channel just because of something that’s consistent in their videos.

Your branding should be simple, professional, clear and representative.

Fortunately, YouTube features like the ‘Customize your Channel’ provides us with all the necessary tools we need to ensure a branded and recall-able YouTube channel.

YouTube even advises, you “described your brand in five words”.

You can begin from maintaining consistent social media images, patterns and colors.

3. Research 3 hashtag keywords for every YouTube video you upload

Hashtags are really starting to take off on WhatsApp. It’s even grown more during the Convid-19 pandemic.

Have you noticed YouTube displays 2-3 hashtags to any viewer watching any of your videos on a mobile device.

If you add 6 hashtags in your video description, YouTube will pick the first 3 and display it to your viewers (and certainly used as a strong search criteria.

For example, if you publish a video on e-commerce marketing and add these hashtags:

  • #ecomm
  • #cars
  • #shopify
  • #entrepreneurship
  • #marketing

YouTube’s bot will pick the first 3 which are; #ecomm, #cars and #shopify to display. Therefore you might want to make sure the first 3 hashtags you insert in your videos are the more relatable to each video.

There are several ways you can get hashtags that’ll help your videos rank. You can use tools, applications, websites.

4. Use Google to find recommended headlines & titles.

This is a simple yet effective strategy to get the best headlines for your YouTube video.

As you may know, getting your headlines right is key in marketing. This is no different for YouTube videos that you publish.

And since headlines can be a bit tricky (which is why marketers even start using mismatched headlines for clickbait), you need to pay attention to it and we’ve found Google suggestions to be really helpful in giving suggestions people often search for online.

You can simply plug your topic or headline and see which “term” of key phrase is searched more often than others. This way, you’d be targeting specific keywords (or rather search phrases) that people exactly type in their search bar.

Why’s this so important?

A while back, I was putting together a guide on blogging and content marketing mistakes but we had a little challenge whether to go for the phrase “blogging mistakes” or “content marketing mistakes”.

But with a few Google searches, we found that people typed in more of “Blogging mistakes” than the latter. But on the other hand, “Content marketing mistakes” would be targeting the specific audience we wanted, rather than the popular “blogging mistakes”.

5. Thumbnails are still key

I bet you already know how important thumbnails are not just on YouTube but all other social media platforms today.

Your YouTube thumbnail must pass the message your video wants to send to viewers. And if you’re like me, you pretty much always look at the thumbnail of any video before even clicking to watch.

I mean, which videos amongst the following are you most likely to click and watch?

Even though the term we searched for was “Best SEO Secrets”, I bet you’d most likely click the third video.

Is that correct?

Well, that’s because the thumbnail alone is catching and kind of gives you a glimpse as to what you’ll learn in the video (300,000 pageviews!).

We use Canva.com and a few mobile applications to create beautiful images for our thumbnails.

How to change your YouTube video thumbnail on mobile?

Step #1: Download the YouTube channel app (called YouTube Studio) which is available on both iOS and Android stores

Step #2: Log in to your YouTube channel and select the video you wish to change its thumbnail.

Step #3: Click on the edit thumbnail then you can upload any image from your gallery.

6. Target both tapped & untapped keywords in your description

So this might sound a little different from what you’ve seen on the internet. Most times, experts say you should go for (or target) untapped keywords or untapped markets.

But here’s the thing;

We don’t always advise you to focus on untapped keywords.

And here’s why…

If you check any keyword research tool, like Google keyword planner, it’s going to be obvious that the untapped keywords or phrases are the ones with the lowest search frequencies. They’re not always having lots of searches monthly.

On the other hands, the “tapped” keywords have 1000s or even millions of searches monthly.

For example, how well would your video content perform if you rank for an untapped keyword, with 100-200 monthly searches?

Not so well right?

Well, here we advise marketers and businesses to try to find a balance between tapped and untapped keywords.

Yes, they’re more difficult to rank for; but with the proper promotions, you would definitely climb up quickly.

7. Make it SUPER EASY for your readers to subscribe

Here’s how to create a single YouTube subscribe link for your channel:

This way, you can share your links and make it a step easier for users to subscribe to your channel.

8. Embed your Videos between your Blog Posts (or on your websites)

Blog posts are really huge when it comes to traffic. For instance, with a single blog post, you can attract tens of thousands of visitors monthly.

As a matter of fact, this very guide I wrote for a client a while back has attracted about 20,000 visitors. Most of which are from Google!

Thus here’s the thing:

How about embedding your YouTube videos in between these articles?

That would not only increase your views and subscribers, but can also boost your website’s SEO. It’s no news that embedding video content on your website helps with your search engine rankings.

In fact, including a video on your web-page drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs – According to Brightcove.

This is even more solid knowing that 93% of all online experiences start with a search query.

Here’s the math…

10,000 people read your content to read…

Half see your video and watch.

Dozens would subscribe if you have a great, engaging video.

Get the idea?

9. Always move your viewers to your next video

At the end of your videos, we all agree that most times YouTubers just ask for likes, comments and subscribers. That’s effective but to take it to a whole new level, you need to “sell” them on your next YouTube video.

It’s even better if your business creates sort of a series of specific YouTube videos.

Rather than just asking for engagements (which is in no doubt a great strategy), you should also sell viewers on your next video. In fact, YouTube tracks how long a user stays on the platform after watching your video.

Here’s what I mean…

If a user lands on your YouTube video and after watching, the user closes the YouTube tab. This will negatively affect your video performance because it shows YouTube that your videos may not be engaging.

On the other hand, if users click on another video after watching yours, you get a boost in your SERPs.

This strategy is really effective and I could remember a particular YouTuber who got me to watch about 5 of his videos one after the other.

It’s that effective!

Think about it…

How easy is it to convince a viewer who just watched a video about “10 email marketing mistakes to avoid” to go ahead and watch your previous video, “How I made $1,000 through email marketing”?

Pretty easy right?

If your channel covers more than one specific market; say digital marketing (includes email, ads, social, SEO etc).

Your videos about email marketing should “sell” the next video on email marketing. And vice versa!

This is even better with the YouTube playlist feature. Create playlists to keep people on YouTube.

Here’s how to:

10. Have an Active Instagram Account – it really helps with YouTube fan base growth

The overall aim of having a YouTube channel isn’t just to get subscribers right?

It’s either to promote a business, products, services or brand. Is that correct?

Yes?

So having an Instagram account really helps. Within the years, we’ve noticed that for most YouTubers, Instagram is their major community platform where they engage with their fans.

And here’s how they do that:

At the end of every video, they invite viewers to follow them on Instagram and drop the links in the description.

It’s so effective, even celebrities harness this strategy!

Now this is crucial because most of your viewers might not subscribe to your channel the first time they land on your channel (or video). And when you have a solid fan base on Instagram, you kind of have a platform of people always ready to watch your videos.

Whenever you put out a new video, you have an audience that would most likely be interested in your new video. You can do this by sharing short clips and sending your Instagram followers back to your YouTube channel.

And the call to action (CTA) would be to swipe up or click the link on your bio to watch the full video!

11. Offer giveaways, shoutouts and pin your most important comments

One of my good friends, Braydon Ross, grew to 5,000 subscribers in less than 2 months using giveaways!

That’s huge and I bet I mustn’t highlight how important and powerful giveaways are. In recent years, more and more businesses are doing giveaways and free shoutouts to viewers, subscribers; as they’ve realized how powerful these strategies are.

We’ve especially seen how most YouTubers and Vloggers do that to grow their channels.

Seen how TheAceFamily does giveaways and FREE shoutouts?

It’s so effective that people literally dream of getting just a shoutout from this channel.

Your business or brand could also do the same to grow to your first 1000 YouTube subscribers.

I recall a friend of mine who started a new YouTube channel and decided to use giveaways as his major growth strategy and within a month, his YouTube channel went viral.

How’d he do that?

He simply did a monthly giveaway (IPhone X) to the most active subscriber who watches, likes and comments on his videos.

Hundreds of people rushed into this giveaway which eventually grew the channel quickly. I mean, who doesn’t love Freebies!?

12. Build backlinks to your videos

Backlinks are so important that almost every online business is after them. They’re one of the major criteria that Google uses to rank content on search results.

When it comes to ranking your content, Googlebot uses backlinks as a key result determinant.

That’s no different for your YouTube videos. They also need backlinks as well.

Here’s why we love this strategy so well…

By building backlinks to your videos, you won’t only rank your videos on YouTube search, but also on Google.

Building backlinks can be overwhelming but when done right, it can be the pillar to your online business. So whenever you publish new videos, you want to reach out, write guest blogs or even link back to your videos from your own website.

Here’s a simple hack we use:

Step #1: After creating and publishing a great YouTube video, we get it ready for backlinks.

Step #2: We search Pinterest and Google to find blog posts that are related to our videos and we’re sure our videos will add value to anyone reading.

Step #3: We then craft reach outs asking them to check our new video and embed it in their blog post if it’s worth it.

Works really well especially as it doesn’t take anything to add people’s videos to your website. As a matter of fact, you’d be getting an SEO advantage just by doing that!

13.Target keywords that already have a Video Carousel in the SERPs.

Have you ever noticed videos ranking first on some of your searches on Google?

I bet you have!

Here’s our strategy(learned from Brian Dean, SEO expert from backlinko.com)…

When doing your keywords research, go for keywords or phrases that already seem to have videos ranking up on Google.

This is quite easier to rank for and appear on Google’s number #1 for your target keyword as a number of videos have already proven to rank well.

This would give you a huge boost to your YouTube channel as well.

What’s next?

How have you tried to grow your YouTube channel and how have the results been so far?

Not so good?

Let us know what strategies you’ve tried and what you aim to try in the comments!

Facebook Contest Apps: How to Create a Facebook Contest

Facebook Contest Apps: How to Create a Facebook Contest

Facebook contests and promotions… they seem to be everywhere. This can be anything from a sweepstakes, referral promotion, a fan page event or even a landing page in itself — no matter what type of social contest or promotion you are seeing, it’s just further proof that this kind of marketing works.

I love Facebook advertising. It’s never been easier to target my demographic audience and I don’t need to worry about annoying issues such as quality scores, keywords, landing page content. Instead I can simply create my landing pages or contest promotions and get them out there. Another huge benefit is that when people start sharing your social contests, they start doing the work for you!

In this post I break down some of the best Facebook contest apps and services that you should be considering right now. Best of all, they each offer their own free trial that allows you to sign up and test each of the tools, features and services they offer.

The Foundation of a Successful Facebook Contest

Before we start to look at the different solutions out there for creating, managing and tracking Facebook contests, let’s first get the basics out of the way. It’s much easier to create a successful contest promotion when you know the key points of what works, and some things you should stay away from.

Facebook Contest App within Facebook

Before going live with your first Facebook contest.

  1. Give Away a Prize that Relates with Your Target Audience
    Who wants to win a free Apple iPad? Everyone does! The problem with this is that it will gain a lot of attention, but only a small fraction will be interested in your real backend offer. If you were selling candles online, the best way to target your audience would be to give away a candle gift set. Apply this same principle to your business and next promotion.
  2. Promote Your Contest Before Going Live
    No one wants to go to a party that no one is at. The same applies for activity on the internet. Liven up your social contests and promotions by first sending them to any internal lists you might already have for your blog, brand or business. This will increase your engagement and sign ups.
  3. Collecting an Email Address is Your Best ROI
    Some sites are running Facebook contests and promotions that only ask for shares and likes. While this is a good method, it won’t provide you with a long term business model. Instead you should be collecting email addresses with every entry. This way you can follow up not only during the contest… but for months and years after!
  4. More People are Using Mobile, So Should You
    Running a contest that isn’t mobile optimized is a big mistake. We are all using our mobile devices more than ever and there is a good chance that people are going to be using them when they see your Facebook promotions as well. Don’t miss out on this huge audience by not having a mobile ready site.
  5. Email All of Your Participants After the Contest
    Many people are going to enter your contest and soon forget about your brand, the prize and even entering in the first place. When your contest ends it’s up to you to keep the conversation going. Since you are going to collect emails through your promotion,

Now that we got the basic foundation for a successful Facebook contest out of the way, let’s move on to the best sites to help you setup your promotion.

Recommended Facebook Contest Apps

Wishpond has quickly established themselves as the leader in not only Facebook contests, but many different social media and lead generation based tools. From landing pages, newsletter popups and split testing, WishPond is an all-in-one solution for thousands of online marketers and brands.

In terms of pricing, Wishpond is quite competitive in this space as well. Their plans start out at $45 per month and go up depending on your volume and needed features — if you sign up for a year in advance you will also save up to 35% off. Wishpond also offers a free 14 day trial for you to have full access to all features and tools available on their site.

Wishpond Facebook Contest App

Heyo has made the concept of creating Facebook contests and promotions much easier through their drag and drop system. In the past it was a big paid to setup Facebook promotions as you would sometimes need to get messy with coding, have to install applications and then format them to match the look and feel of your fan page. These problems are all put to rest thanks to solutions like Heyo.

Plans start at $30 per month, but you can join for a free 7 day trial (no credit card required) to put their system to the test!

Heyo Facebook Contest Apps

ShortStack

ShortStack has become a favorite tool for many successful and well known online marketers. Through their platform you can easily create campaigns that focus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also create campaigns to promote outside of social networks as well. The end goal for ShortStack is to allow their users to easily create campaigns that can be measured on a lead generation and ROI basis. As they say on their site… “You dream it up, and we’ll help you build it“.

ShortStack plans start at $29 per month. Once you create your free account, you will be setup for their initial free trial period to test and tweak your first campaigns.

ShortStack Facebook Contest Apps

AgoraPulse allows their users to create contests and promotions, but their service actually does much more. Through their site you can manage both Facebook and Twitter, while also focusing on applications, analytics and CRM. You can also do feed management, monitoring and user qualification of your Twitter promotions as well. There are also a few useful tools on their site that a free to use and pull stats on your current social campaigns without the need to signup.

AgoraPulse plans start at $29 per month, which includes full access to unlimited apps. Accounts that are billed annually also save up to 35%. Before joining, you can sign up for a free 15 day trial at no cost.

AgoraPulse Facebook Contest Apps

The Business of Facebook Contest Apps

Now that you have an idea of the different Facebook contest apps and services out there right now, it’s time for you to visit each of them and see which caters best to your budget, marketing efforts and end goal. The good thing is that each comes with a free trial, so you can sign up and view all of their features without needing to start with an upfront payment.

So here is your action plan to get started:

  1. Sign up for the free trial of the services mentioned above
    (I recommend starting with Wishpond)
  2. Think of a great prize for your target audience
  3. Create your first Facebook contest
  4. Build a mailing list and test your results 

Keep me updated on which of the recommended services above you like best.

A Rough Guide to Social Media Marketing

A Rough Guide to Social Media Marketing

Not so many years ago, the use of social media was seen as a new and exciting approach to marketing. These days, it has come to be regarded as a key pillar in any business’s digital marketing strategy. Good social media marketing strategies can boost your online presence in various ways; social metrics and shares can positively affect your SEO, direct relevant traffic to your website, help you manage your online reputation and connect you directly with your customers and potential customers.

Below are some essential steps to get any social media marketing campaign off the ground.

Defining Your Goals

Defining your goals is an essential first step to building any social media marketing plan. Although it would be easy to say every company’s goals are ultimately to increase revenue and achieve a good ROI, you have to be more specific when sitting down to define individual goals. It’s rarely as simple as just wanting to sell more and make more money. You need to think how your business will benefit best from social media.

What are Your Goals?

With that in mind, do you want to drive traffic to your homepage, get more likes or followers, get your content shared or retweeted, raise your overall brand awareness, explain your products more efficiently and dispel myths about your industry or your product. Perhaps you just want to use social media as a platform to show your personality and that of your business or establish you as a thought leader in your field through intelligent and insightful commentary.

All of these are legitimate and distinct goals and need to be considered. Try to pick two primary goals and then have a secondary goal that you’d like to achieve as well.

Identifying Your Brand ‘Archetype’

The psychologist Carl Jung describes archetypes as “images and thoughts which have universal meanings and that transcend cultures, showing up as dreams, literature, art or even in religion”. Of course, it’s unlikely Jung new much about brand marketing and social media didn’t exist in his day, but his concept of archetypes has become a powerful one for marketers. Brands, as it turns out, can take on defining characteristics in just the same way as people.

The Price of BrandingSee how much brands are actually spending to create a logo that relates with their audience.

Identifying whether your brand is a hero, magician, explorer or any of the other nine archetypes, allows you to not only understand your brand but also the audience you are trying to connect with on an emotional level. Let’s look at it another way. Ask yourself what emotions your brand is aiming to generate in people? If you haven’t thought about it, then you should. Think about the last time you looked through Facebook. Which shared newspaper articles and videos did you click on? Was it the funny ones or the emotional appeals for stolen pets or missing loved ones? Or perhaps you clicked on the ones that were trending, wanting to make sure you were up to date with what everyone was talking about. There are several other emotional levels as well, like colors! Now think about your brand. Which emotions do you want it to generate when people see your social media marketing?

Defining Your Target Audience

A great way to do this is to think about your ideal customer – not a conceptual ideal customer either, but an actual identifiable individual. If you are already trading, think of someone who lives and breathes your brand (such as Apple). They buy all your new items and tell all their friends about you. Now think about them as a person. Where do they go, and what do they do? Are they an adventurous traveller or a home-lover, family person or a true individual, forging their own way in the world? What are their hobbies? Where do they shop? What smartphone do they have? Where do they access the internet and what is their favourite social network? Understanding what motivates your potential customers is the key to any successful social media marketing campaign and building kudos around your brand.

Landing Pages Target the Right Audience

Picking Your Platforms

Defining your target audience will assist in picking your target platform. Yes, it is great to have a presence on them all but you will, and should, have a favourite. Google plus is a great network for improving your SEO and is an absolute must if you are producing regular blog content, as plugging it on Google Plus can often see it appear high up in the search engine results pages. Twitter is great for reaching an enormous audience, if you are willing to accept that most people are there to promote themselves and not to buy from you. Pinterest is ideal if you have a very visual brand, and Facebook is great for B2C brands and for those with a lot to say.

Social Networks

Whatever the nature of your business though, Facebook and Twitter are just too big to ignore. Try starting with these and picking another two or three to go with them.

Planning Your Content

It will save you a lot of time and effort if you loosely plan what you are going to share and where. It is important to know whether the majority of your fans follow you on all social platforms. If they don’t, you can repeat content across networks. Don’t annoy people, though. If they follow you on several platforms, and you are repeatedly posting the same things on all networks at the same time, you could end up alienating your biggest fans. Mix your content up and share different things on different platforms. If in-depth content goes down better on LinkedIn than it does on Facebook, then make a note of this and only share your meatier content through this platform.

Writing Great Content

It is also worth bearing in mind that you have a short window of time in which to grab your fans and hold their attention. Successful brands don’t come across as advertisers these days – instead can be seen more as publishers, providing users with material that they want to see and not material that they think they should see. This is an important difference and is what separates inbound advertising from good content marketing and brand building. You need to engage your users on an emotional level in order to touch them on a logical level and get your brand message across.

Measuring Success

This goes back to the first point about defining your goals. Think about the old adage of target setting. Your plan must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This is a very old approach to target setting, but it still rings true. If you can’t measure the success of each and every post you place on social media, how will you know which should be repeated?

Building Your Success Recipe

Measuring success can involve metrics like views, retweets, hashtags, blog comments and placements, CTR, bounce rate, duration watched. Google Analytics is a must if you are to measure traffic to your site in any way but social media is a different story. There are now a host of social media monitoring tools available such as Hootsuite, so shop around for the ones that most suit your needs.

About the Author: John Lanyon is Creative Director at Hurricane Media, a video production and content marketing agency based in Bristol. An award winning film maker, John directed the lauded short documentary ‘Who’s Lenny’ which won Best Short Film at the Royal Television Society Awards in 2012. In his years at Hurricane he has helped create video marketing campaigns for leading local and global brands and is an authority on online video marketing and social media. You can follow Hurricane on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.