7 Reasons to Stop Ignoring YouTube

  • Social Media effectiveness is constantly changing
  • YouTube is the place you (and your brand) should be

YouTube is the most overlooked and undervalued social media channel in a brand’s arsenal.

Some brands are there, but way more should be. And those that are there are languishing in terms of views and subscribers. Why aren’t more brands on the platform? Or why aren’t they making better use of it? I think there are at least two reasons:

First, they don’t know how to win on the platform, and second, they aren’t interested because they think it is all cat videos and crazy kids in their bedrooms making videos. So, they have all opted over to other social channels. But there are huge problems both with ignoring YouTube and with putting all your eggs in one social basket.

Why should you be on YouTube? Here’s 7 reasons:

  1.    Facebook is fickle and expensive 

The bad news?

They make you pay for the privilege of talking to “your” audience. Oh wait, that’s not actually your audience. It is their audience. And that’s the dirty little secret of Web 2.0. We are building both the content and the audience for some of the most powerful new media companies on the planet. It’s called Digital Sharecropping. And it is a problem for many companies who’ve invested millions into their Facebook “followings” only to find out they aren’t really following.

The good news?

YouTube is way closer to an audience of your own than any of the other social channels. And on top of this, they have great tools that allow you to actually convert views to subscribers to an audience. And the path is way easier than on the fast flow feed of Facebook.

  1.   Twitter is not an audience…It’s a following

Speaking of fast flow feeds, Twitter is the king of flow. In fact, their former VP of Media called it just that. Robin Sloan coined the term Stock & Flow and it is a good way to think about content for your business. Flow is real-time, now, topical, in the moment. Post it. And it’s gone. No SEO. No tomorrow. Stock is evergreen. It is great for SEO. It is built on your expertise. It is what you are known for. Build it once. It builds your business. Forever.

You need both stock and flow. But for different reasons.

What’s the difference?

  • Stock is your content. It’s where you invest your content dollars.
  • Flow is your distribution. It’s where you promote your content.

Yes, you should share other’s content liberally, but we are talking about you right now.

Twitter is great for growing a following. So, you can promote your content. Yes, I know everyone says, “don’t just talk about yourself.” You should listen to them in order to build your following. But you should leverage that following to promote your content. Your video content. That lives on your YouTube channel.

Then when people come visit, we’ll show you how to convert that view to a subscriber to an audience you really own.

  1.    Google+…Who knows?

Google is always tinkering with their algorithm. And they just made a significant change to it again. This time eliminating Google Author Rank. What was that? Well, don’t worry about it now. Although everyone spent the last six months trying to figure Google Authorship out. Just when we did, Google turned it off.

What we do know is that for now, Google+ seems like it is helping you rank better in your Google search results. If you don’t know why that matters, then don’t worry. We’ll talk about Search, Syndication and Sharing as three discovery strategies for your content. For now, just know that the almighty Google+ has a questionable future.

That’s why to not put all your efforts into just those channels, but what about YouTube? Why is it so great?

  1. YouTube is an audience of your own…or it can be

One important first lesson is this: having lots of views doesn’t mean you have an audience. But you knew that. And you also knew that having lots of subscribers does NOT mean you have an audience either?

So, what is an audience then? Simple definition: a group of people who WANT to see your content. Even better if they would pay for it. Although we are going to give it to them for free. We make our money elsewhere.

How to know if you actually have an audience? If 30%+ of your subscribers watch every single one of the videos you post to your channel, then you are on your way. If you are closer to 50%+, then you have an audience. 70%+ is a crazy bunch of fans.

How to get there? We’ll get to this. It comes down to thinking and acting like a YouTuber. I know, you just got used to acting like a Publisher. Well, this is related. It’s just focused specifically on YouTube.

2. Red Bull and GoPro are killing it on YouTube

Yes, you know this. But there are two really important lessons here. Let’s look at them very quickly.

1.  GoPro succeeds because it leverages its audience to make its main content. GoPro – just in case you don’t know – the tiny HD video camera that’s all the rage with the extreme sports set. They have a built in group of creators who love making content using the product. It is this crazy circular loop of product demo as content as promotion for the audience themselves which helps sell more product and create more content producers who make more product demos. Yeah, dizzying. And a killer business. How can you learn from this? We’ll look at some ways.

2. RedBull is an entirely different story. They are a soft drink … and energy drink actually … and they make a ton of content for YouTube and elsewhere. But it has nothing to do with their product. It has everything to do with their audience. They know them. They know what they love. And they bring them that content. And their audience rewards them with their attention. And their loyalty. There’s a reason why RedBull’s marketing is a profit center. And they have 60% market share.

3. Other brands are killing it on YouTube too

But not as many as should be. Why is this? Because they have not focused on YouTube. They thought it was just a site full of user-generated junk. You know. Cat videos. Stupid human tricks. Etc. Yeah, it is that. But it is so much more. It is the new TV. I’m not the only one saying this. And people aren’t just saying it. They are putting serious dollars behind it. Both to create content and the tools and analytics you need to build a great channel.

4. YouTube creators are brands themselves…with products!

If you’ve not heard about Michelle Phan or Bethany Mota, then… well, we’ll help you. You really should get out a little more. (sorry)

Michelle Phan started out making how-to beauty videos in her bedroom 6-ish years ago. She’s now a beauty guru and cosmetics brand. She signed with Lancome. Launched her own line of products. And boasts 6+ million subscribers. All of her videos get millions of views. Yes, millions. That’s like a good cable TV show. It’s like a great one. And she makes a new video every week. She’s not alone. There’s a host of other beauty gurus right behind her. They are eclipsing brands’ share of voice on YouTube.

Bethany Mota also started out making videos about beauty, style, fashion and her life. She’s broken out from YouTube alone now. She’s a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. Yeah, old media. I know. But a huge validation of her audience pull. And their loyalty. These are real stars. Real brands. Real audiences. And real business.



  • Social Media can be good, but YouTube is better

  • It’s not too late to get your brand on YouTube. The time is now


Sean writes weekly about the intersection of Retail, Media & Brands. To get his weekly SMACK Talk newsletter, sign-up here. And if you want to read what Sean’s been reading this week, then let him know (via LinkedIn) and he’ll add you to his Weekend Read featuring the top articles from around the web this week with a bit (or a lot) of his commentary. Finally, if you are a brand selling to Walmart (or another retailer) and are interested to see how advertising with SMACK Media can grow your business, then please contact Sean at slw@smack.co.