YouTube gives you the ability to present a well-branded experience to fans and customers, and it’s not difficult to pull off.
YouTube is very flexible, but it’s also very forgiving. While big brands have the marketing budget to maintain a suite of slickly-produced videos, that’s not all it takes to effectively market your brand on YouTube.
Fans of your brand may appreciate product videos, commercials, or other video content directly related to what you’re selling or promoting, but consider what you have to offer beyond that and how it will complement the social network it’s on. Consider some exclusivity for your YouTube subscribers, like bloopers, behind-the-scenes, and interviews, to name a few possibilities.
If you have yet to take the plunge and get your account set up on YouTube, you’ll need a little background on the finer details of setting up your brand. To get started, you’ll want to create a YouTube account.
Customizing the Look and Feel of Your Channel
Once you’ve logged in to your account, click the drop-down menu at the top-right of the page where your username is displayed; this is the “My Account” menu. From the My Account menu, you’ll see the navigation options within your YouTube account: Channels, Videos, Subscriptions, Inbox, and Settings. You can also sign out of your account from this menu.
As a brand, the look and feel of your YouTube account will be among the first things you need to think about. YouTube account pages are referred to asChannels. It’s basically your profile page housing all your videos and public information. Luckily for brand owners, Channels are highly customizable.
Once you’ve clicked on Channels from the My Account menu, you’ll see a series of tabs in an edit panel above your bare-bones Channel page. All your customization functionality is housed here:, like Themes and Colours, Modules, and Videos and Playlists. You’ll also find a Settings tab to update account details and a Bulletins tab to notify your subscribers of any updates or messages.
Let’s start with the Themes and Colours tab; this tab affects the look of your Channel. YouTube offers up a few default themes you can choose from when you open the tab. However, if you want to match your branding as closely as possible, you can use the advanced options. Below the default themes, you’ll see two links: one is called “show advanced options,” and the other is “new theme.” If you just want to make a few tweaks to an existing theme you’ve chose, choose the “show advanced options” link, but if you’re looking to create a new theme from scratch, choose “new theme.”
The new theme area will open below a series of additional customization options. You can name your theme by filling out the text field that appears above these new settings. Below that field are a series of customization features divided into two areas:
- The General options allow you to change the backgrounds color, or upload a background image, and change the color of the graphics (or as they call them, wrappers)
- The Color Palettes options allow you to change the text and link colors
You’ll notice the color fields all have two ways to make a change; you can click on the color block and choose from a list of basic colors, or you can choose the text field and change the hexadecimal code (web colors). If your brand has any sort of web presence or a brand style guide, you can probably get the exact hexadecimal codes to perfectly match the colors on your Channel.
Choosing Modules to Display Your Channel Content
The other tab that affects the look of your Channel is Modules. Modules are the sub-sections of your Channel page.
Your videos, username, and account details have to remain on the page, but you can choose whether you want a Comments module, for example. If you scroll below the Modules editing area and into the body of your Channel page, you’ll notice some of the Modules have grey arrow buttons at the top-right corner of them; you can move them around and customize your layout.
You can also display your Channel’s subscribers, your subscriptions, recent activity, your Channel’s moderator, other Channels you are connected with, and associated events.
Customizing Your Video Content
From the Videos and Playlists tab you can decide what video content you want to promote and how you want to organize it. You can make further adjustments to how your content is presented, and you can choose to display a video player or a list of thumbnails (the grid view). This is also the place to pick your featured content, and choose whether you want your featured video to automatically play when someone lands on your Channel.
Finally, if you’ve created Playlists, you can display these groupings with the settings in this tab. Playlists allow you to organize your Channel content into a series of groupings that make it easier to navigate and promote content. One video can even live in multiple Playlists, if you like.
To create a playlist, click on your username at the top-right of the site. Under the My Account menu choose “Videos.” Near the bottom of the navigation on the left-hand side of the page, you’ll see ”Playlists” and a”New” button beside it. Choose “New.” This will initiate a pop-over menu that will allow you to add a title, description, and tags. When you’re done filling out the details, click “Create Playlist.”
What Type of Content Works Best?
At the end of the day you know your brand best, so experiment with your content. For example, if you have a series of webisodes currently running on your website, try teasing one or two on YouTube and pushing back to it. Or perhaps your brand participates in many events. In that case, equip yourself with a small video camera or a good smartphone with decent video capabilities, and start shooting.
Try posting some of your raw behind-the-scenes footage next to your polished content and see what the results are. You can monitor your Channel’s insights and see where to take it from there. To find your YouTube metrics, click on your username once again to find the “My Account” menu, then choose videos, and finally choose “Insight” along the top of the page. You can monitor your Channel’s performance there.
What successes have you had promoting your brand on YouTube? Please share your tips and tricks on how to get the most out your YouTube marketing.
[Image credit: Guillaume Paumier]