I’ve only been putting content on my YouTube channel in its current incarnation for a relatively short time. I had a channel years ago that did rather well, but YouTube (and the rest of the web) was a much simpler world back then.
Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter had only just launched. Instagram hadn’t even been thought up. There wasn’t really a whole lot of creators out there publicly on the web, either. Today, it’s all very different. So, this is how and why I market my new YouTube content on social media.
Getting your content in front of peoples eyes these days isn’t easy. And it’s not that your content sucks – unless it does – but that people just don’t know you exist. And there’s so much more competition for our attention. YouTube wants to promote your content, but only if it benefits YouTube. Their goal is to get people on the platform and to stay on the platform for as long as possible.
As a result, YouTube tends to value watch time and engagement above all else to promote your video within the platform itself. This includes the search results as well as suggested content on other peoples videos. So, the rest of this post assumes you’re already creating interesting and engaging content that keeps viewers hooked. It also assumes that your YouTube SEO is on point, too. After all, getting your videos some exposure does you no good if YouTube can’t tell what your content’s actually about.
When you’re a really small YouTuber, (a few hundred subs or less), it’s kind of a catch 22. You need the views and engagement for more people to find your stuff. And you need people to find your stuff in order to view and engage with it.
So, what can you do? Well, here’s what I do.
Why promote your videos on social media?
Note : This post was originally going to cover both Facebook and Instagram, but it turned out to be much longer than I’d anticipated, so I’m splitting it up into two posts. This one is about Facebook.
I already have existing audiences in other places who seem to like the content I post there. As my YouTube content relates to that which I post elsewhere (photography, mostly), it makes sense to leverage those other platforms to bring viewers over to YouTube.
These are people with which I already have a relationship. They’ve engaged with my content on those other platforms already. So, they’re also more likely to engage with it on YouTube as well.
It’s a lot easier to build up an audience on YouTube if you already have an audience elsewhere that you can bring over. Easier, not easy. It still takes a lot of time and work.
Not all of the methods I use will be applicable to you. But hopefully you can get some ideas from this, and adapt what I do to suit your needs.
How do I promote my videos on Facebook?
I try to keep a similar topic of content throughout the platforms I’m on. For me, that’s primarily photography. That’s what most people know me for, and it’s what I mostly try to base my YouTube videos around.
For example, this is the latest video on my channel. Behind the scenes on a photo shoot at Devil’s Pulpit during a recent visit to Scotland. And this is the video we’ll use to illustrate the rest of this post.
Regular social maintenance
As a photographer, I have a large archive of images I’ve shot over the years. So, I regularly post both new and old work to Facebook. This allows me to keep up engagement on those platforms, even when I’m not creating new content specifically for them.
I’ll post observations I think my audience may find interesting or amusing, or I’ll ask a question. And occasionally I’ll experiment with content that’s a little different from the norm just to see what happens.
Keeping up this engagement means that when I do post something related to a new video, a greater number of friends and page followers see it. Because users are regularly engaging with my content, Facebook shows my new content to more people.
Before shooting even begins
I primarily shoot my photography on location (not a fan of the studio, sorry). So that means I usually shoot my videos on location, too. I’m often shooting at the same locations over and over with new subjects. So, if I’m planning to shoot a new video at a location I’ve been to before, then I’ve already got relevant content.
It might be a new location, but with a person I’ve photographed before or the friend of a previous subject. It may reference a past shoot or topic I’ve discussed on Facebook. Either way, if I can find a connection to previous content, it gives me a way to post relevant content that at least some of my audience can relate to.
I post this content in advance to let my audience know that a new video will be on the way. It gives people the opportunity to ask questions about what I’ll be doing. Sometimes they’ll make suggestions for things they want to see. It builds anticipation. I’ll do this for 2 or 3 days leading up to the shoot.
Such content can be scheduled to post to Facebook automatically via a service such as Hootsuite. 10 minutes at the computer and you’re covered. Facebook does now offer its own scheduling features. But, if you want to schedule several different platforms, it’s easier to do it all from one location. Another popular scheduling service is Buffer. But there are many more out there, too, so do some research. Most of these services offer a free account that is more than adequate for a small YouTuber’s needs.
In the case of the shoot at Devil’s Pulpit, I’d never actually been there before. I was visiting Scotland for the first time since I was a kid to go visit friends. But I did know that we’d head there, so I made a point to post about the place, and who I was with, even though I had no photos of the location itself.
While shooting the footage
I try to make it a habit to post some behind the scenes shots to Facebook while I’m actually doing the shoot and recording footage for the video. It might be a lighting setup, or the gear I’m using. It could just be a pretty panoramic of the location itself, or just one or all of us doing something daft.
I’ve considered doing Facebook Live streams (and on YouTube) during the shoots, but most of my locations are out of signal range. So, I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to. This might work for you, though, to get some real time feedback while you’re creating it.
Being out of signal range means it’s difficult to post photos while shooting, too. But there’s nothing to stop me getting the shots during the day, making the post offline, and having the app automatically send them when it gets signal again. So, that’s what I often do.
On some shoots, there’s just so much going on that it’s difficult to actually get photos for social media during the shoot itself. In the case of the Devil’s Pulpit video, all I could get was a photo of drone footage as it plays on my Windows tablet later on (you’ll see that down below).
After the shoot, but before the edit is complete
With the footage shot, I think about content from the day that I can post right away. I’ve actually had this in mind while I’ve been shooting, too. I make mental notes (and sometimes jot them down on my phone in case I forget) of key moments during the day that I can post.
Lately I’ve been getting group shot selfies immediately after the shoot, too. I’ll also tag the other people who were there, as it gets the content to show up on their pages and timelines, too. Their friends & fans are interested in what they do, too. And maybe some of them will be interested in what I’m doing.
Shot and hung out with such an amazing bunch of people today. Thank you Nicole, Paul, Michèle and Barry!
Video promotion aside, I’d do this anyway. I collaborate with awesome people. So, I want a shot of us all at the end of the day. That’s why this usually just goes on my personal profile.
I’ll export some screengrabs from the footage using Adobe Premiere and post those, to my page, too.
For this video, I was away from home, with only my measly Windows tablet (hardly an editing powerhouse) to keep me company. That meant no editing, no screengrabs. A phone shot of my tablet’s screen playing back some drone footage does the job, though.
Later, when it came time to actually edit the video, I did post a couple of screen grabs from the video to my feed.
When your friends don't care that you're trying to record a vlog. :D
If it’s a photo shoot, I’ll process a few of my favourites first, once I’m at the computer. I don’t always need to post the images, myself, however. If somebody else involved in the shoot posts them and tags me, then my audience will see that just as if I’d posted it myself. So, I tend not to repost it (at least not right away). I don’t want to spam their feeds with the same content all the time.
I will also often tag companies that might somehow relate to the video. Perhaps they’ve sent me gear to review, or play with, or it might just be a product I already own that I just really like.
Hashtags tend not to be as useful on Facebook as they are on other platforms, but I still occasionally use them. My Instagram posts also get automatically posted to Facebook through IFTTT, so those hashtags get carried over from there.
Normally, I’ll schedule these to post once or twice a day until I expect the main edit to be complete.
After the main edit is complete
It was a little while after I got back from Scotland that I began to edit this video. I’d recorded several from the trip, and I didn’t want to unleash them all at once. I didn’t have time to edit them all back-to-back for a start. I have work and real life to contend with. And I also just wanted to spread them out a bit.
But, with the editing done and the final video rendered out, I’ll create a few very short edits while the main video uploads to YouTube. These edits vary anywhere between about 15 seconds and a minute.
I overlay each of the small videos with my YouTube URL in the bottom right hand corner. This way, while they watch the video, the link is always in their view. I’m fortunate that I have a short, and easy to remember URL. If your URL is particularly long, it might be worth getting a custom short link to your channel through a service such as bit.ly.
These aren’t posted immediately, but by the time I’m done making them, the upload of the main video is done. So, I’ll enter my title, description, keywords, playlists, etc. And get the video ready to go live on YouTube.
When the video goes live
When the video’s ready to go live (which is based on when Analytics tell me my viewers on YouTube are most active) this is where those other smaller edits come in.
One is a segment of the final video. It acts as a sort of trailer, and is usually the longest of the small videos. This trailer typically doesn’t go to my page or personal profile, though. I will generally post it into a couple of groups related to the type of content the video shows.
Note : I upload this video directly to Facebook. I don’t link to or embed a YouTube video as I have done here. I’m using YouTube here because all of the groups in which this trailer exists are set to “Closed”. So I can’t embed from Facebook.
In some of the groups, instead of the trailer, I’ll post an image from the shoot, along with behind the scenes photos or screengrabs and links to the video. For example, I posted this in one photography group I’m in.
I include information on the camera & lens, as well as flash and settings in the description for the image. Then, in the first two comments on that post, I added these, along with a link to the full vlog on YouTube.
Again, I often don’t need to post these photos to my own page or profile, as others involved in their creation will post them and tag me.
As you can see here, Ziggy posted the same photo to her own timeline and tagged me. If I were to post the same image, too, it would just annoy my audience with repetitive content.
The rest of the small edits are often cut from bloopers or other footage that doesn’t make the final cut.
These ones are to post to my page or profile, tagged with the people who may appear in them. But they will also occasionally go in groups, too, if they’re groups we’re all members of.
No matter how many times I watch this, I have absolutely NO CLUE what Paul's trying to say. :D
Posted by John Aldred on Saturday, July 1, 2017
These are good, because my friends and followers will see them and comment. Their friends will also see them and comment. And who doesn’t like making fun of their friends? These short clips can drive a lot of engagement, which makes Facebook want to show people my other content, too.
Finally, I will post a link directly to the video on my Facebook page and sometimes my personal profile. I don’t expect this to get a lot of engagement. I certainly don’t expect Facebook to show it to many people.
The popular belief is that even just a link directly to the video will help you with YouTube’s algorithms. Whether it does help or not, and by how much it may help if it does at all, I do not know. But, I do it.
I really wish I'd gotten more footage of the location itself so you could really see it all. Well, I suppose it just…
In the days after the shoot
Immediately after the video goes live and other content goes to Facebook, I will engage as much as time allows. I tend to set my videos live in the early evening when work is complete. This means I can dedicate my time to responding on social media as well as the video itself.
The next day, I’ll maybe post another short edit, probably to groups, rather than my page. I won’t just drop it in randomly, though. Usually it’s in response to a question asked about the video or photo shoot. This lets me joke around with friends in those groups, and help alert other members who weren’t aware that I post content on YouTube.
Don’t just spam, though. If you’re in a group become a part of that community. Be in these groups because you want to be, not because you feel it will get you more subscribers or views. Genuinely involve yourself in the community.
I’ll also post another photo from the shoot to my page or profile. Or, somebody else will and tag me.
Finally I’ll usually put a blog post together, not on here, but my personal blog. At the time of writing this, I haven’t done one for the Devil’s Pulpit video, but I did write one for a visit to Glencoe a few days before this photo shoot happened.
These contain extra details, photos and other information that I didn’t include in the vlog itself. It could be that I simply didn’t want to cover them in the video because they didn’t fit, or I didn’t get enough footage for all of it. Or I may just not want to drag the video out too long.
Blogs are great for your video discoverability. Search engines love the text based content. YouTube also sees another domain embedding and linking to your videos (and their platform).
I post this to my Facebook page and occasionally my personal profile, too. I will tag people or companies, where appropriate, and they will often share it, too.
Beyond this, I treat the videos as a sort of reference library. If something in a video or its associated content helps to answer somebody’s question in the future, then I will link to it. But, only if it will actually benefit them and help to answer their question. I’ll also explain why I’m posting a link to the content and how I think it might help or answer their question.
Again, nobody likes a spammer. So be genuinely involved with the communities in which you promote.
Paid Promotion on Facebook
Somebody asked me if I ever do paid promotions on Facebook. The simple answer is no. It just seems like a false economy to me.
Everybody I know who’s done it has seen a short boost in traffic and then a big dip for the next 3 months. And that dip over the course of three months is a greater loss than the short term boost gains.
So, unless you pay to promote every other post you make, it’s just not worth it. And, I don’t know about you, but my videos aren’t making enough to justify that kind of cost yet.
No and then!
So, that’s pretty much what I do on Facebook when I post a new vlog or video to my YouTube channel.
Exactly what will vary slightly, depending on the topic and style of the video. Some content just doesn’t lend itself well to certain strategies. And if there’s nobody else involved in its creation, I can’t depend on others to post and tag me.
It seems like a lot of work, a lot of extra content to create. Much of it, though, I would create anyway. The photographs I post to Facebook usually appear in the video itself. And I’d still have to edit them to deliver to the model or client.
And once you get used to doing things like this and fitting them into your workflow, they really don’t take up much extra time.
Besides, we haven’t even spoken about Instagram yet. That will be coming in a future post!
I’m not saying this is what you have to do, nor am I suggesting that my way is the perfect way or even the only way. This is just what I do.
What do you do to promote your YouTube videos on Facebook or other social media platforms?