Organisations don’t use Facebook by thinking of each post individually without having an overall strategy. Then why are so many organisations taking this approach to Youtube? Taking a video by video approach ignores that it is a community and the real benefits come from building subscribers*.
*Subscribers are people who have clicked the “subscribe” button for a Youtube channel and then receive notifications every time a new video is posted up.
Advantages of attracting subscribers
- More subscribers means more people see each new video you release
- More engaged subscribers are more likely to share your content
- A good Youtube strategy can support overall organisational strategy as well as objectives of individual campaigns
But not all channels are equally good at attracting subscribers. For example while the channel of vlogger “Danisnotonfire” has 15 times more views than the Oxfam Great Britain channel he has over 315 times more subscribers.
NGOs can learn some valuable lessons from popular channels like this and here are some of the key ones.
Consistency of style and format
Many NGOs will commission videos for their new campaigns but often each campaign is run by separate staff who are only focusing on their immediate objectives. This can mean the video content produced constantly changes in style and format. Youtube users seem to prefer channels with some consistency so they know what they will be getting in the future. For example the “All Time 10s” channel has attracted 500,000 subscribers by posting videos that list different “top 10s”.
Often NGOs produce both serious videos as well as funny videos which can seem a bit schizophrenic to the average user. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t experiment with different styles, just that you should keep in mind that subscribers want some consistency.
Don’t turn off subscribers with dodgy videos
You might think “What’s the harm in adding that grainy phone camera interview I did at the conference last week?” But if the video fails to impress your subscribers then you reduce the chance they will pay attention to your next post and increase the chance they will unsubscribe.
Ask people to subscribe
At some point in every video (usually the end) you should ask people to subscribe. It’s surprising how common this on good Youtube channels but how rare it is on NGO videos.
Good Youtube channels ask for comments in their videos, reply to comments and some even interact with comments in their later videos.
While replying to every comment posted is time consuming it’s worthwhile replying to at least the “Top comments” as these appear just below the video and will be seen by most people.
Finish with a link to other videos
Youtube Annotations now allow you to place a link to another video in your video so follow the example of some Vloggers and finish with a link to your previous video.
Learning from your audience
Youtube analytics have improved greatly over the past couple of years and now you can see at what point people stop stop watching your video. You can use this to see where people are dropping off and if certain video styles you’ve tried are more engaging.
To learn more about your audience you should see what they are saying in the comments on your videos. To find out even more about who is watching your videos you can click on the name of a commenter and view their “Feed” which shows you what else they have liked or commented on. Doing this can help you understand your audience better and what content they really like.
Your Youtube Channel Page
Your channel page is your chance to convince visitors you are worth subscribing to. Make sure you customise your background and add a compelling About section. Your Featured video is the first video that loads when people click onto the channel so make sure it is one that will attract subscribers rather than the most recent one. Charities can also set up a donate button on their Channels. More information here.
Some good channel page designs
British Heart Foundation
Includes donate button.
Cancer Research UK
Includes good social media links.
Post by Richard Roaf
Let me know what you think in the comments below.