Is Youtube a Social Media Platform? Here’s Why It Matters
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When you think of “,” you probably think of the basics: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even LinkedIn.
But have you ever thought of ?
On the surface, it doesn’t seem to fit with the others. After all, was started as a site for -dating profiles, not viral videos of a talking orange. ’s success was more the result of adaptation rather than intent; any “social” impact was a distant thought.
Not only is a channel, it’s a juggernaut. Any marketer worth their salt would be wise to see it as such. Here's why your presence on Youtube matters.
What is ?
If we’re going to determine what is or is not “,” it’s best to leave it to the experts.
The University of South Florida’s marketing departments defines as “an internet-based form of communication.” That’s not too descriptive, but it does go on to say that “allows users to have conversations, share information, and create web .”
But doesn’t that describe the internet as a whole?
What really defines is not the networking of ideas but the networking of people. The internet began as a file-sharing technology. is about sharing our lives.
What Makes Social?
Have you ever watched a show and thought, “Man, I need to show this to my friends!”? If so, then you’ve just defined the of without even realizing it.
wasn’t created to become a , but users have co-opted its services to create a community. As such, several more personal touches have made their way onto its .
The little thumbs up or thumbs down buttons directly below each give viewers an opportunity to rate that . More positive videos get pushed to the front page, while less enjoyable or useful videos are shown less.
This may seem minor, but giving viewers an opportunity to engage with a is huge. The channel owner recognizes that higher engagement videos will be shared more often, and caters their approach accordingly.
In order to post on , you’ll need to create a profile. That’s not the case for viewing , however. Anyone, at any time, can log on to and start watching as many videos as their heart desires.
If you do sign up for a profile though, you can engage with the . You can like, share, comment, and subscribe to a channel, all with the goal of customizing to your liking.
This creates a truly unique experience for each . Your feed is personalized, and videos that thinks you’ll like are sent straight to your inbox. You can also create playlists for uninterrupted consumption.
Anyone who has ever set foot in the comments section of a knows just how volatile it can be. The comments are rife with people praising the , pointing out its flaws, or asking for specific future .
It can also be the home of some of the most epic internet fights of all time. This guy even took the arguments in the comment section and turned it into a . How meta.
Consumers are passionate about their favorite and will fight complete strangers tooth and nail to defend it. You don't get much more “social” than that.
Do you know who runs NBC? Depending on what you’re looking for, it could be any one of these people.
While you may not know who Steve Burke is, chances are you (or your kids) know who Blippi is. As the host of a popular kid’s channel, Blippi makes more than $9 million a year just from his . His burgeoning toy and live tour empire likely multiplies that number several more times.
People identify with Blippi; they don’t identify with the head of NBC Universal. That connection is key to developing a strong brand that people can emotionally connect with. Nobody does that better than— a term that didn’t even exist thirty years ago.
, and getting a to go viral is the key to success. For that reason, a lot of will call their own Youtube subscribers out in the (for good or bad reasons). They’ll do live Q&A, product reviews, and even post -generated for others to enjoy. recognize that the fans drive the
People may decry as being narcissists, but the one thing they understand is the social nature of entertainment. Most importantly, they deploy it more effectively than some billion-dollar brands.
Where Does Rank as ?
Facebook may be the most active on the internet, but is closing the gap. With nearly 2.3 billion (compared to Facebook’s 2.9 billion), has a good chance of overtaking Facebook as the most .
Why? Because is growing at a much higher rate than Facebook. Additionally, is the number one for 18-29-year-olds, which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
How to Use as
So how do you harness for the powerhouse that it is? It all comes back to basic marketing skills, with an emphasis on a few key areas.
Define Your Audience
Since there are nearly 40 million channels on , there’s a high probability that someone else is already in your niche.
That’s not to say you should abandon— quite the contrary. What it does mean is that you need to be laser-focused on your niche. Identify your specific audience and create just for them.
Define Your Voice
Even if you did want to start a travel-based channel, there’s still a chance it could be uber successful. The only thing you need to nail down is how you’re going to approach the .
A lot of people copy what’s already popular on. While it’s a good idea to emulate what’s working on other channels, cloning other creators is always a bad idea.
People will watch your to hear your voice. It may take a while before you find it, but once you find that mix of what you like and what your fans like, run with it.
Connect With Other Channels
Successful creators don’t live on an island (metaphorically speaking). They network, cross-promote, and even appear on each other’s videos. Sometimes these videos are complimentary, sometimes they’re actually competitive, but it always makes for great entertainment.
By connecting with other channels, you can leverage other audiences for your own benefit. This works especially well if you’re doing a specific product push, or in the growth stage of your new channel.
Using YouTube's Social Media to Grow Your Brand
Not only is a legitimate , it might be one of the most powerful channels you optimize. If approached the right way, you can harness it’s power to grow your brand, all while having fun and connecting with people at the same time.
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