5 ways to grow your business with YouTube

Growing your business with YouTube

When you mention the terms, social media and business, a lot of people instantly conjure up images of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ – along with a long list of questions.  What they often forget is that while these are social networks aimed at curating content from around the web, you have to have content to share on them to keep them growing.  Enter YouTube, an online video sharing community.

In addition to being the number two search engine (behind Google), YouTube is a tremendous social media tool where you can create your own online videos, build an audience, and drive traffic back to your business in a number of ways – by posting a video on your favorite social networks like Facebook or Twitter, encouraging visitors to check out your website, sign-up for your newsletter or as a way to leverage word of mouth marketing where viewers tell their friends about your video.

YouTube Beginnings

When I first got started making YouTube videos I’ll admit, I was pretty scared. Some of the questions I wondered about were if I could amass any considerable number of views – I also had a lot of questions about YouTube videos – will viewers like my content, will I even get viewers and how do I deal with comments and so on.

These are questions that anyone who is just getting started with online video might ask themselves.  But just two years later (and 750,000+ views), I’m happy to say that I enjoy making videos – almost more than blogging. And it’s not because I’m shy or anything. I just find they allow me to express my creativity through story-telling along with the creativity that goes into writing each video.

So to help you out, I’ve come up with 5 ways you can use YouTube to grow your small, medium, or large business.

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How to find your YouTube channel RSS feed

Just like your blog, your YouTube channel has its own RSS feed. What this means is that you can now see updates as they’re happening from your favorite YouTube channels.

This is good news for anyone who uses an RSS feed reader such as Pulse to consume their favorite websites and blogs from their smartphone because now, instead of going to check out your favorite YouTube channel to see if they have uploaded any new videos, you can access the YouTube channels RSS feed to see any recent updates anytime.  Here’s an example of my YouTube channel RSS feed.

Example of YouTube channel RSS Feed

What’s included in a YouTube channel RSS feed

  • Video title
  • Date uploaded
  • Length of video
  • Video thumbnail
  • Video description
  • Number of views
  • Ratings

What’s not included in a YouTube channel RSS feed

  • Keywords
  • Playlists videos are added to
  • Number of subscribers

If you’ll notice, it is very important to fill-in as much descriptive information about your YouTube videos and to include a custom YouTube video thumbnail because this information is pulled into RSS feed aggregators such as Google News and Pulse. Without a custom YouTube video thumbnail your videos won’t be as eye-catching to readers. If you don’t include a description or title for your video, RSS feed readers might not pick-up your video so you’ll want to be sure include this in your YouTube videos.

Enough about what is and is not included in a YouTube channel RSS feed.  How do I find a YouTube channel RSS feed?

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How to create a custom YouTube thumbnail image

For about the past two years, I have been steadily leveraging my YouTube channel to engage more with viewers and to broaden the reach of my videos. During this time, I’ve been keeping an eye on a number of changes that YouTube has been making – some of those incude the ability to create a custom YouTube background and the ability to monetize your YouTube videos.

While these are great features that can help you better personalize your YouTube channel and bring in a little money for your hard work, one of my favorite features that they added is the ability to set a custom YouTube thumbnail image.

Upload a custom YouTube thumbnail image for your video

Selecting a specific YouTube thumbnail image

Previously, if you wanted to choose a specific shot from your video to be used as a thumbnail, it could be done if you were a skilled video editor and followed these complicated instructions. For most YouTube users though, this was just too difficult to do and frankly, not worth your time. Enter custom YouTube thumbnail images!

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