When it comes to engaging users, video is a marketing channel that clearly outperforms others. On Facebook, videos drive 6x more engagement on posts and are 40x more likely to get shared on the platform when compared to normal image and text posts. But the preference of consuming video over other form of content by users is not unique to Facebook. Almost every popular social media platform out there is experiencing this trend shift in the way users consume content. Yes, I am talking about Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter as well. As it turns out, users clearly find it to be a more engaging way to consume content. Moreover, for creators and brands, it is a way to portray themselves in the best light possible and make deeper connections with their audiences. There is a reason video has been at the top of all emerging social media trends for more than a couple of years and is still going strong with more marketers and business owners planning to target this medium to lure in more eyes to their brand. According to a Hubspot study, as much as 65% of marketers who haven’t tried their hands at it are planning to go video next year. Video just works in catching the attention of users and if you’re not yet making use of video on your blog or website in any way possible, you’re seriously leaving a lot of user engagement on the table! If you haven’t already, my personal advice would be to hop on this bandwagon as soon as you can and make use of the most popular video sharing platform – Youtube, to promote your videos and build a following around yourself or your brand. With over a billion users, it doesn’t matter if you plan to document simple website design tutorials or provide blogging tips in the form of a youtube video, there is an audience for almost every niche out there, ready to consume your unique content. But your videos won’t magically appear in front of your target audience on the platform, you’ll have to optimize your youtube videos just for them. Optimizing your videos for gaining more exposure on the platform is not a walk in the park. You’ll have to research keywords, optimize all your videos for the chosen keywords and boost social metrics by explicitly asking your viewers to share, like and comment on your videos, and what not to build a dedicated following. Yes, this can take a lot of time if you are not strategic in what you do on the platform. So, to save time, if you are planning to make use of video to promote yourself, here are some of the sure-fire ways you can optimize your Youtube videos that can work wonders for you or your brand by putting it in front of a broader audience: Researching keywords Youtube is a platform owned by Google. So, it’s kind of obvious that both these platforms, to an extent, share the same search engine algorithm features and qualities. You might be well aware of Google’s dependency on keywords to present searchers with the most relevant of pages according to their query, well, Youtube is no different. It’s search algorithm is heavily based on keywords to provide searchers with the most relevant content and requires extensive keyword research (just like Google) to capitalize the best high search volume, low competition keywords in your niche. If you are just starting out with posting videos on the platform, optimizing your videos for keywords is very important as this keyword research will bring in your initial viewers. Think of it as the foundation your whole Youtube channel presence will be built upon. While, explaining in detail how to do an extensive keyword research requires a blog of it’s own, Search Engine Land explained the process in a much better way using a simple tool that can probably save you a ton of man hours. Adding them everywhere After you are done with researching your keywords, adding them to your video’s metadata is the next step. Youtube’s algorithm can not actually watch and understand your video to access the relevance of your content, instead it makes use of the provided metadata to rank your video. Thoughtfully adding your selected keywords in the video title, description, tags and adding a transcript of the entire video content in the description itself can make Youtube understand your content better. If optimized for high search keywords, your videos can rank in Google search results as well. Making your channel stand out Spending some time to work on the appearance and aesthetics of your Youtube channel can go a long way. Enticing new users becomes a piece of cake when your channel is visually pleasing and provides useful information to youtubers on what your channel is about and why it’s on Youtube. On the other hand, if your channel description is vague and is just plain to look at, you won’t be able to add much subscribers to your channel and mind you, the number of subscribers your Youtube channel has a direct relation with your video rankings. A well-thought out channel page with a decent number of subscribers can also help establish your reputation as an authority in your industry and initiate a ripple effect of new subscribers coming in. So, choose a nice colour theme for your channel, create a cover image that goes well with your unique personality and what you do, showcase your best videos to visitors by placing them at the top of your channel and see that subscriber number tick. Basically, treat your Youtube channel page as a page to showcase your absolute best. The importance of social engagement The number of likes, comments and shares on your Youtube videos are a direct ranking factor on the platform. With time, higher the number of comments, likes or social shares your video acquires, higher will be it’s rankings and the views and exposure it gains. If you consistently get a high number of likes or comments or social shares on your videos, the algorithm will deduce that you are a responsible creator who cares about their audience and their preferences and is delivering value to them. Be consistent enough, and you will surely be deemed as an authority in your niche by both your subscribers and search algorithms, which will positively affect your rankings. When starting out, you’ll be low on social signals for sure. You’ll have to go out of your way and directly ask your viewers to subscribe, like, share or comment on your videos to get the ball rolling. Asking viewers directly for this favour still works best when it comes to sparking conversations or gathering likes for your videos. Choosing custom thumbnails When you upload a video on Youtube, usually you are given an option to choose from 4 auto-generated thumbnails, ditch them! No, don’t ditch the thumbnail entirely, ditch their suggestions and create your own whacky thumbnail that highlights your video in the best light! By just using a thumbnail that catches attention, it can marginally increase the total number of views your video will ever acquire. Choose a thumbnail that will prompt a viewer to click as soon as he sees you in relative results or on the home page. Use a thumbnail that sparks curiosity, evokes emotion and displays a touch of your personality and the clicks will follow. Adding video location to target local searchers In the world of SEO, getting found locally is all the rage right now! Capturing local searchers is a top priority for almost all brands out there as they are the searchers who are almost at the end of their buyer journey and are high on intent, which can result in easy conversions if you have maintained a presence at the top. More than half the searches made on Google today are with local intent, and getting in front of them has never been more important. Did you know you can add a location to your videos on Youtube? Adding your location to your Youtube videos will make then geographically searchable on both Google and Youtube to attract local searchers. To add a location to a new or existing video, just go to the Youtube Video Manager and click ‘Edit’ next to the video you want to edit. Below the video, click on ‘Advanced Settings’ tab and type in your location under ‘Video Location’. And that’s all, doing this will make your video geographically searchable on both Google and Youtube. Other factors While there are other factors such as the length of a Video, character count in title and description, video viewer retention rates and many more factors that can have a direct or indirect effect on your video rankings, by focusing on just the ways listed above, you will be able to build a steady flow of viewers coming in by simply making use of quality Youtube SEO and simple video optimizations. Promote, Promote, Promote Creating and optimizing your videos is a job half done, the other half is promoting them. Adding some marketing efforts on top of all the ways mentioned above will surely give your video views a boost. So, promote all your videos on the social media platforms you’re active on, on your own website (if you have one), build influencer relationships and market your videos to their audience and other start exploring other video sharing platforms to get a few more eyes on your your Youtube videos. Be consistent and you’ll eventually amass a loyal following around yourself in no time. Yes, being consistent in your marketing efforts is hard and eats up a lot of time but it’s definitely worth it! Gaining some more views on your videos will hurt no one and putting your videos in front of the world to see is probably the best way to keep the views and social shares coming in even if it gets old. Wrapping up The best time to start creating videos to gain more eyes for your brand was yesterday, but video is still here and is still going strong, so it’s not yet late to jump on the wagon. Do product explainer videos to better express the product you are offering. If you provide a service, show them why you’re the best at it. Share helpful tips, advice, insights about your industry or the things you excel at. Showcase your past work. Hold a Q&A session with your audience. Share client testimonials. Give your audience a sneak peek of your everyday life. The things you can do with your videos is endless, your creativity is the limit! Doesn’t matter the type of video you decide to create, don’t ignore the baddest video sharing social media platform out there.