YouTube has become a must to increase a company’s reach and brand awareness. We talked with Tara Hunt to get her best tips on building a YouTube Marketing strategy.

Cisco Visual Networking Index shows that by 2021, IP video traffic will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic. In parallel, with 1.8 million logged-in monthly users, YouTube has become a must to increase the company’s reach and brand awareness. But uploading new videos to the company’s YouTube channel is not enough to engage with the target audience. Tara Hunt, CEO and founder of Truly Social inc. shares her tips for building a great YouTube Marketing strategy:

Hi Tara, you’ve created the YouTube channel Truly Social, can you tell us a bit more about the story behind this project?

I had been wanting to start a web series for a long time before I actually started Truly Social. All the way back in 2010, I had a colleague tell me that my blogging rants would translate perfectly to video (I had been blogging since 2004). So, I went out and bought a camera. I had no idea what I was doing.

Over the years, I worked with multiple YouTube creators on projects and they made it look easy, but I hadn’t found my voice, I was all over the place. It wasn’t until 2015 – a whole 5 years after I bought that camera – that I sat down and started to do it regularly. I had done a video while experimenting the year before and called it “how to be truly social”, and something about it stuck in my head. I decided to focus on that subject and the rest just flowed.

profile photo of tara hunt

How do you select the topics you cover in your channel? What kind of information do you want to provide to your subscribers?

To be honest, the topics often come from situations with clients or colleagues! I had a client a few years back whose brand manager kept telling me the content wasn’t “on brand”, so I created the “Brand managers are the enemy of social” video. Yes, it’s a bit passive aggressive, but I figure that there must be others out there having the same arguments! And guess what? I get messages ALL OF THE TIME thanking me for helping my community win arguments. 😉

I think Truly Social is different from other “how-to” and educational marketing channels out there because it’s more about giving people who are passionate about social media a voice. I’m not doing it to become an influencer or have a viral hit. That’s what the aim of my content is… to be the purist voice in a cacophony of hustlers. There are too many gurus and ninjas online. I just want to use social to do a better job of helping brands connect with their customers.

According to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, content creators are uploading over 400 hours of content to the platform per minute worldwide – what makes YouTube so engaging?

Video is a wonderfully intimate media. You see a person’s face and expressions and hear the sincerity in their voice. It’s where you can totally express yourself. Video captures authenticity AND inauthenticity beautifully. It’s why stiff corporate videos are the worst. You can actually see the discomfort and fakeness.

YouTube creators hit a nerve with the audience because they were brave enough to make themselves 100% vulnerable in front of a camera. The audience responded in kind. I think we’ve changed our expectations of content because of this.

What are your top three tips for developing a successful YouTube Marketing strategy?

My tips are: Care, Consistency + Community
1. Care
  • Care about your content – be passionate about the subject matter you’re delivering. The most popular YouTubers are just subject matter geeks who LOVE what they’re talking about.
  • Care about your audience – are you respecting their time?
2. Consistency
  • Commit to putting up content on a regular basis.
  • Be present in the community on a regular basis.
3. Community

Don’t think about growing an audience, think about adding value to your community. Social is two-way (or even multi-way!). Don’t talk at people, interact with them. Plus, I wouldn’t think of it as a “YouTube Marketing Strategy”. YouTube is a platform and video is a media. Your strategy is about what you’re putting out into the world to whom and why.

From SEO perspective, what is your advice for getting the uploaded videos ranking high?

Oy. Okay. First off, YouTube is good for SEO in general. YouTube is owned by Google and they love relevant, fresh content that people engage with.

Of course, you should make sure you’re tagging the video properly, putting in full descriptions and SEO-friendly titles, but I’ve seen lots of creators grow an audience quickly without doing any of that. Community engagement will take you way further than adding more tags to your video any day.

How do you measure the ROI of your YouTube strategy?

As far as the ROI goes, it really depends on your goals. Maybe video isn’t the way to achieve ROI if you want to sell widgets. Who knows? I wanted to start a YouTube channel because I wanted to improve my comfort on video. I also wanted to shift my content from writing to video because I knew it would be a better way to connect with my community. It’s a serious investment of time. Right now as my business is booming, I’m having a tough time keeping up with my series. I’ve achieved more with these videos than I could have ever imagined!

That being said, I work with clients who do videos and definitely need ROI as a reason to invest up front. We definitely set KPIs up front and try to be realistic. For most, it isn’t about the views or subscribers. Instead, it’s about connecting with their customers on a regular basis or growing their thought leadership in their industry. Video helps them achieve that. We can measure this through the feedback they’re getting from their customers (“I shared your video with my colleagues. It was SO helpful!”), the media that reaches out to them (“I came across your video and would love to have you join a panel on the subject”), and the kudos they get from their associates.

profile photo of tara hunt

You have 6.9K subscribers, how do you engage with them?

Not enough! I’ve been terrible lately and it really shows in the slowdown of my growth. As my company grows (largely due to the videos, by the way), I have less and less time to engage with my community. It breaks my heart. I’m hoping to get over the hump of growing pains where I can hire enough people that I can start focusing on the videos and other community engagements more. I think being out of it will hurt my business eventually. I use the expression “eating my own dog food” to describe how important it is to use the tools and participate in the communities I’m recommending to my clients.

But either way, communities thrive on engagement and I need to carve out more time to engage. It’s important.

How do you see YouTube evolving in the next few years, what are the key trends that will change the way marketers use the platform?

Honestly, I’m not sure if it’ll be about Youtube. It may be about LinkedIn or Instagram or Snapchat or some other platform that hasn’t been launched yet. Creators are a bit fed up with YouTube right now. Their content made the platform a destination for millions of people and now YouTube is trying to suck up to old-school media. I think they want to compete with Netflix and Amazon, but that’s a mistake. YouTube has something special in the way they’ve democratized video. By trying to be something that someone else is and denying what their magic is, they are likely going to destroy everything.

I don’t mean to sound negative, but I’m seeing them make the same mistakes as other social networks did years ago (ahem…Twitter).

Either way, I don’t see the desire for human connection and relatability going away any day soon. YouTube may “evolve” into something that seems more “grown up” and “legitimate”, but something else that speaks to the needs of the community will come along and benefit from their mistake.

I may not have faith in the platforms, but I have endless faith in the creators who built their communities on the platforms. In 2020, I look forward to them running the world. 😉

About Tara: Tara Hunt is the CEO and founder of Truly Social Inc. as well as the creator behind Truly Social with Tara (YouTube series). She has over 19 years of experience in market research and strategy on both client and agency side. She is an author of one of the first books on how the social web is changing business, has been quoted in dozens books and articles, spoken at over 170 conferences, was named one of 2013’s Entrepreneurial Women to Watch by Entrepreneur Magazine, and one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in Fast Company.

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