When YouTube first launched, I was in 6th grade and all my friends were creating funny videos to upload.
See, back in the day, YouTube was mainly used for teens to upload funny, entertaining videos. Anyone else remember Smosh and Fred?
I'm aging myself, but I digress.
Back then, using YouTube for business and marketing was a new concept. Now, more than 15 years later, it's entirely different. Brands and businesses use Youtube to engage and connect with their audience.
For marketers, this means your YouTube strategy needs to have evolved from the beginning days of the social platform. If you haven't and are still using old YouTube strategies, you won't benefit from having a channel.
Let's review the top outdated YouTube strategies that you need to abandon and what you should do instead.
Outdated YouTube Strategies
Focusing on selling products rather than helping your audience.
Being robotic instead of human.
Neglecting your audience.
Not optimizing your videos.
Not using influencers.
Not being consistent.
Relying on solely organic rather than promotion as well.
Not using analytics.
Faking likes and comments.
Using the wrong social media sites to promote your videos.
1. Focusing on selling products rather than helping your audience.
While YouTube might have been a place for entertainment before, it's now also a place for people to learn new skills and conduct research.
Nelson Chacon, the principal marketing manager of YouTube at HubSpot, says, "Don't sell, help. Users on YouTube like to be educated and not sold to."
When businesses first started using social media sites, one of the older marketing tactics was to sell, sell, sell.
But users don't want to be sold to. They want help. If they go to your business's YouTube, they probably want information too.
The best way to abandon this strategy is to know what your audience needs help with. Think to yourself, "What does my audience want to learn from me?"
Then, create content that provides value.
Chacon explains, "Having a strategy to educate, empower, and provide some assistance can go a long way."
2. Being robotic instead of human.
I don't know about you, but I've seen a lot of businesses put out content that sounds robotic. It doesn't sound human and it's hard to pay attention to. In fact, I'd even say it's not interesting and it's not apparent why it's useful to me.
That's why Chacon recommends being human in your videos instead. He says, "YouTube is a very organic platform where people like and trust creators even more than corporations. This can be reflected in the content you make and the interactions you have with your audience."
All the content you create for your marketing team should be helpful, human, and provide value to your audience.
3. Neglecting your audience.
Another outdated YouTube strategy is to neglect your audience. Some businesses have a bad habit of just putting out video content and not responding to comments or engaging with their viewers.
Additionally, many businesses don't use social listening to understand what content their audience wants to see or what they're paying attention to.
This isn't going to help marketers.
Instead, Chacon recommends engaging and interacting with your audience. He says, "Users on YouTube like interacting with creators. Keeping up with your social listening and monitoring is vital for success."
4. Not optimizing your videos.
When YouTube was created, SEO and optimization were fairly new concepts. Additionally, the industry (as is still true today) was constantly evolving.
That's why many creators and businesses didn't know they should optimize their videos. Nowadays, to optimize your videos you should pay attention to what your audience is searching for and add those keywords in your title and description.
Additionally, mentioning keywords in the video and adding CTAs are two great ways to keep your audience engaged with your content.
To up-level your YouTube channel, you should dive in and understand how you can optimize your videos for success on YouTube.
5. Not using influencers.
Am I the only one who remembers a time before influencers?
While the job of social media content creator was new back in the day, it's not anymore and it's not going anywhere.
That's why companies should lean into it and use influencers that have a similar audience. On YouTube, a great way to use influencers is to find other content creators, collaborate on videos, and engage with them on their channels.
6. Not being consistent.
A great piece of general life advice is to be consistent. With marketing and YouTube strategy, it's no different.
Being consistent is how your audience will build a relationship with your brand. Without consistency, then the relationship will be stilted and it won't feel organic or natural.
Posting consistent content and engaging with your audience is the best way to find success on YouTube.
7. Relying on solely organic rather than promotion as well.
Of course, organic traffic and views are very important to your YouTube strategy. However, it's important to use multiple channels to direct traffic to your channel.
A great way to do this is to cross-promote content to help your audience find your videos. However, this doesn't mean you should just post a link on your Facebook or Instagram page.
Users don't like when they see a social media page that's sole purpose is to promote other content. Plus, this content gets little engagement.
What you should do is naturally find ways to cross-promote content. For instance, you could conduct a poll on your Instagram stories, and then include a swipe-up link to your YouTube video.
8. Not using analytics.
Not using analytics is one of the biggest outdated strategies that you need to drop. It's vital to keep track of your success and measure what videos perform well and which ones don't.
With analytics, you can find out when your audience is online, what they're interested in, how long they watch your videos, etc.
Finding the "best time" to post shouldn't be the goal anymore. Now the goal is finding the best time for your audience specifically.
9. Faking likes and comments.
I'm not sure if people still do this, but I remember this being a big strategy that companies were doing when I was younger.
So much so that most people in my generation don't trust likes, comments, or even followers/subscriber counts.
Any younger generation that has grown up with social media, like millennials and Gen Z, will notice and quickly unfollow or unsubscribe if they notice these strategies.
That's why you shouldn't use auto-engagement bots, mass follow accounts only to unfollow the next day, or mass comment on videos asking for a follow.
This will hurt your reputation, could get you banned from social media sites, and your analytics won't be trustworthy.
Plus, you won't be building a relationship with your audience, which is the point. The point in these sites is to build a relationship so people are encouraged to purchase from you. If you don't build a relationship with your audience, your vanity metrics don't mean anything.
Instead, you should only follow legitimate accounts that are relevant to your brand. This way, you can actually increase brand awareness, build trust with your audience, and eventually generate revenue.
10. Using the wrong social media sites to promote your videos.
While it's important to cross-promote your content, it doesn't help to promote on a social media site that your audience isn't on.
For instance, if your primary audience isn't on Snapchat or Instagram, cross-promoting there won't help build your traffic.
That's why your social media strategy and YouTube strategy need to be reviewed every year. It's important to align your strategy with the sites that your audience is active on.
While Gen Z and millennials turn to Instagram, only millennials or older generations really use Facebook as their main social media site. Older generations tend not to be on other sites like Snapchat.
Ultimately, YouTube is an amazing platform to use to connect with your audience. And it's still growing in popularity. That's why it's important to update your YouTube strategies and drop the outdated techniques above.
Originally published May 17, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated May 17 2021