Tag Archives: online communities

YouTube for Marketing and Online Community Building

The topic for the April 2016 Building Online Communities MeetUp was “A Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Marketing & Building An Influential Community”. The speaker this month was Dan Colbert, aka CameraDan, an entrepreneur, filmographer and self-learned online marketer.

Dan started by listing the three uses for a YouTube channel: (1) getting more clients, (2) generating income and (3) selling your product or service (none mutually exclusive aims of course). He emphasised the importance of defining your ideal audience (in terms of their niches, demographics, etc), and creating at least a couple of audience profiles to aim for.

Dan then took us through the two main types of videos: traffic and conversion ones, both divided into a few sub-types: traffic videos can be mass audience, viral/trending or general interest. They get viewed a lot, generate more likes, comments etc, are under seven minutes long (and usually under three minutes), and can be monetised via ads. The conversion videos can be about upselling to your audience or sharing knowledge/demonstrating your service. They get fewer views, likes, comments etc, are longer (up to two hours), but that’s not what their job is.

Mass audience (traffic) videos can be about or tagged onto news, trends, updates, trailers, ads, events, holidays.

Viral (traffic) videos include pranks, PR stunts, collaborations (very important according to Dan!), animals (especially cats of course), cover songs, inspirational/motivational clips, and spoof sketches. These can get a lot views if you’re lucky, but you should still keep them relevant to your channel/personality/company/organisation.

General interest (traffic) videos are the “unintentional virals”, such as social experiments, product experience, reactions, “how to” or guide videos, game/movie reviews, product comparisons and compilations.

Knowledge (conversion) videos include tips, dos and don’ts, advice, tutorials, opinions, vlogs, interviews, talks, and presentations.

Demonstration of service (conversion) is as you’d expect, client transformation, product and service demos, portfolio work, testimonials, reviews, gameplay and documentaries.

As noted before, these categories are not fixed, and without clear borders: any video can be about both traffic and conversion.

Dan then talked about the “YouTube funnel” of a typical customer journey, which goes something like this:

A person searches for something on YouTube; they watch the 1st of your videos; and another; they check out your channel; they look at your banner and welcome video; they browse through your playlists; watch a couple more of your videos; subscribe to your channel; watch more videos; come across an upsell video; and convert to a paying customer of your product or service.

It is important to build rapport with your viewers at all stages of the funnel. And note that prospects that come through your website etc can take a shortcut route through the funnel. It is important to build a relationship with your audience: pay attention to your branding, theme and the look of your channel, including the thumbnails. Many people miss out by not having an introductory video, or a catalogue of their content and playlists.

It is also important to be clear about what your content is in the descriptions and video names, to make good use of tags, and communicate with your audience by taking part in the comments and elsewhere.

In general, Dan said it’s good to upload two new videos each week, as the YouTube search algorithm seems to favour regularly updated channels.

There were again many interesting questions, around copyright issues, on how to overcome camera shyness and much more. A couple of points I made were on tags: Dan suggested using three “filters”: tags relevant to your channel (your and your business’s names), to the video in question (title words, focus, audience) and generally popular keywords. Another question was about ads: do you have any input into what ads people see with your videos? The answer is no, but they are tailored to the viewer, so this shouldn’t be a massive issue for you.

Click here to download Dan’s slides: You Tube Presentation

How to scale a community and keep it engaged

Kajal from Change.orgThe March Building Online Communities MeetUp’s speaker was Kajal Odedra from the worlds largest petitions platform change.org. From their beginning in 2011 they now have ten million UK users.

Kajal talked through her six insights, which were:

1. (Having an) authentic voice – this is really important (and impactful) for their community. People sharing their own story, what brought them to the campaign they have started, and updating the community themselves make it more real and engaging.

lJLqdSPbEXUqtlM-800x450-noPadFor example, Fahma Mohamed‘s campaign on educating girls about FGM before the summer they are most at risk was a very specific ask within the whole FGM campaign, but came from her personal experience and her knowledge – which gave the campaign its strength.

2. Little big thing – this means the tangible thing that brings your issue to life. In contrast, really big things can be hard to make sound urgent. So many campaigns have a specific ask to a specific organisation or business – they may seem small against some of the big challenges and changes people want to see, but they are more easily winnable, and everyone likes to see success.

For example the campaign to get Boots to equalise prices betweens men’s and women’s products was very rapid. It caught the zeitgeist, but the ask was also very specific. It is not world peace but it is change!

3. People like email more than you think. This is a point that keeps coming up in different contexts. And it means that it’s fine to send updates etc. to your community.

Someone asked about the optimum frequency of emails? Kajal said they sometimes send as many as three in a day or two around important events, but otherwise weekly seems a good frequency, and a bit more for the most active users. She also noted that regular emails on a campaign are better than occasional ones (leading to fewer unsubscribes).

In change.org’s case updates on small wins or milestones is also a kind of reward and keeps people engaged.

4. Online + Offline. Not everything happens online. It’s always worth asking how people can engage with you online, but think also about how they can do more in the real world if they want to. Many people in your community will have useful skills they will be happy to share (for example legal or media expertise).

Change.org also work hard to build the capacity of their campaigners, so they train them and support them face-to-face as well as online. Their work with Laura who started her tampax campaign two years ago gave her confidence, kept the momentum going, and helped her support emerging campaigns and campaigners in other countries.

5. Crowdsource – how can your supporters help grow your movement? It’s always worth asking how people can help your campaign. In amongst those signatories are people with expertise and skills – you just have to ask. Change.org have a new user forum coming live soon, which will also allow you to list any useful skills you can make available to campaigners. 

6. Test test test. Never assume that you know what people want. So get them to tell you, by using A/B testing and other methods.

Kajal’s final point was about giving power to your community. In the Q&A she also noted that size isn’t always everything: even small but well-timed and targeted campaigns can make changes happen. And that you can also “pivot” your campaigns if need be.

Thanks to Tech Hub for supporting this meetup as always.