With over 2.7 billion monthly active users worldwide, YouTube is one of the primary social media platforms that small businesses should be present on.

You can tap into a tremendous audience and improve brand visibility, share more engaging content, and boost sales once you’ve established a solid following.

In this blog, 1st Formations, the UK’s leading company formation agent, shares its recommendations and guidance for small businesses on the benefits of YouTube, one of the most popular social platforms today.

Reach A Large Audience

As well as having billions of active users, it’s also the second most popular website in the world, having received 110.29 billion visits in March 2024, an increase of 3.59% from the previous month, according to Semrush data.

In addition, a Data Reportal study shows that YouTube has the highest number of active mobile app users, surpassing Facebook, the most popular social network.

YouTube users are also incredibly varied. A Data Reportal study draws on the channel’s key demographics, which comprises almost an even split between male and female consumers, plus a range of different age groups. Here are YouTube users by age:

  • 25-34 – 21.5%
  • 34-44 – 17.9%
  • 18-24 – 15.7%
  • 45-54 – 12.5%
  • 55-64 – 9.4%
  • 65+ – 9.5%

A potential reason for the platform’s vast audience is its extensive topic and genre coverage.

YouTube isn’t simply a video platform where people listen to music and watch viral content; it’s a search engine that people use for a variety of reasons, such as research, entertainment, and shopping.

Thanks to its extensive reach, YouTube is an excellent way for small businesses to increase their brand awareness and capture an organic audience.

No matter the nature of your business, you’re likely to find the right viewers to engage with on YouTube.

Improve Brand Visibility

Improve Brand Visibility

Google owns YouTube. Therefore, it prioritises video results. Next time you Google something, notice that the tab next to ‘All’ is ‘Video’.

As you scroll, you’ll see sponsored results, common questions related to your search, and then lots of video results.

With that in mind, you can use YouTube to boost your brand visibility not just on YouTube but also on the world’s top search engine with a range of search engine optimisation (SEO) practices. Let’s take a look at some of the key methods.

Use Relevant Keywords

One of the main ways to optimise your videos is to use keywords that are relevant to your brand, content, industry, and audience.

Apply these keywords to your titles, descriptions, and tags, and YouTube will match those to users’ searches, ensuring that you reach a suitable audience.

Google will follow the same process. So, if your YouTube content is optimised, there’s a higher chance that it’ll perform better on Google, too.

Create Captivating Thumbnails

Another essential YouTube SEO practice is creating captivating thumbnails. A thumbnail is the preview image of your video that appears on the results page.

It can either be a direct snapshot from the video itself or designed as a separate image. It should capture your video content at a glance while persuading the viewer to click and watch more.

Write Persuasive Descriptions

You should also pay extra attention to your video descriptions. These should concisely but persuasively summarize your video content and contain relevant keywords.

Their purpose is ultimately to entice viewers and convince them to watch your video and interact further with your brand.

Other essential YouTube SEO practices include:

  • Posting videos frequently. This notifies the platforms that your brand is active.
  • Create engaging and relevant video titles.
  • Display info cards while a video is playing. These are similar to ‘you might also like’ videos, relevant suggestions that encourage further interaction.
  • Add a persuasive call-to-action (CTA) to the end screen. For example, this could be another related video you’ve done or a ‘subscribe’ button.
  • Add accurate captions to your videos for viewers who may have trouble hearing. YouTube applies transcriptions automatically, but these aren’t always accurate, so we recommend checking these and making any necessary corrections.

In summary, optimized videos have a higher chance of being seen by YouTube users. If you’re entirely new to this platform, the above SEO tips will help you create high-quality content that gets your brand noticed (on YouTube and Google).

Generate Quality Leads

Optimised content can help you generate quality leads. These are the people who are genuinely interested in your brand, products, or services and are likely to convert into customers.

YouTube is an excellent platform for finding and engaging with this valuable audience. As we mentioned earlier in this blog, people use YouTube as a search engine.

This means that they look up specific topics and questions here and are matched with appropriate content.

Therefore, we can assume that those who see your videos in their search results are interested in the products or services you have to offer.

This focused process helps filter out irrelevant viewers and yield meaningful traffic that is more likely to convert into loyal customers in the long run.

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Drive Engagement With YouTube Shorts

Another significant benefit of using YouTube, especially YouTube Shorts, is the engagement boost.

According to the 2023 Content Benchmark Report by Sprout Social, short-form videos are the most engaging type of social media content.

This means that audiences are more likely to find short videos relatable and, therefore, perform a CTA and share that content with their friends.

This is excellent news for small businesses. Short-form videos are less costly than longer videos, and thanks to the YouTube Shorts app, you don’t need to be an expert videographer to produce high-quality videos—all you need is a smartphone.

Simply download the app and the built-in tools, including a multi-segment camera, and do all the hard work for you. You can shoot, edit, and publish Shorts (up to 60 seconds) using just your mobile phone.

Users can then discover your videos via the ‘Shorts’ tab (which, by the way, gets 70 billion visitors a day), on the YouTube homepage, on your channel homepage, or via their notifications (as long as they’ve subscribed to your channel).

Target Relevant Customers With Youtube Ads

If you have room in your marketing budget, you can reach your target audience with YouTube ads.

Like other social media channels, YouTube allows you to specify viewer demographics (like age, interests, geographical location, and even language) so you can focus your advertising efforts on relevant viewers and achieve your marketing goals—be it clicks, views, sales, or another objective.

The platform offers an integrated ad builder, where you can select all your preferences before launching the ad.

You can then track its performance in real time, allowing you to adjust your campaign dynamically and maximise its success.

Make Your Content Go Further

As a business owner, you’ll always be looking for the most efficient solutions, and content management is no exception. Once you’ve created and optimised a video, your efforts don’t need to end there.

Drive Engagement With YouTube Shorts

Get the most out of your video content by repurposing it. Firstly, don’t reserve your YouTube videos for YouTube only; share them on your other social media pages for a simple way to increase views, traffic, and engagement across your online profiles.

Secondly, embed relevant videos on your website and within existing blogs. For example, if you have a video on a specific product you sell, feature it on the dedicated product page on your website.

Not only is this an easy way to repurpose content, but a video can be incredibly impactful in influencing a customer’s purchase decision.

Another option is to include videos in your emails. If you have a specific campaign in the pipeline or a newsletter going out soon, consider enhancing your emails with an existing video (provided that it’s relevant and genuinely useful in the given context).

This can add additional value to the email and give readers a greater opportunity to connect with your brand.

There are numerous ways to repurpose video content. Just because it was made for YouTube doesn’t mean it has to stay there.

Increase Sales

Once you’ve established a sizeable following and engagement, YouTube can be a great way for your small business to increase sales.

You can do this by joining the YouTube Partner Programme, designed to reward qualifying creators for all types of video content.

In addition to earning revenue, the programme offers additional resources like 1:1 support and automatic copyright flags. To qualify for the YouTube Partner Programme, you need to:

You can apply for the programme whenever you like to unlock monetisation opportunities, given that you meet the above conditions.

As your YouTube following grows, you’ll be able to unlock additional benefits, such as fan funding (where you can earn money directly from your viewers) and YouTube Shopping features (which allow your audience to purchase items from you via the platform). For this, you need:

  • At least 500 subscribers
  • At least 3 videos uploaded in the last 90 days, with either 3,000+ watch hours in the last 12 months or 3 million YouTube Shorts views in the last 90 days

As your business and YouTube channel grow, you could discover substantial opportunities to increase brand awareness and connect with your audience, and make a profit while doing so.

Summary

Small business owners can often overlook YouTube when establishing a social media presence, possibly assuming it’s difficult to succeed on this platform without prior video creation, editing, or optimisation knowledge.

However, this isn’t the case, and as we’ve discovered, all you need is a smartphone to produce the most engaging type of digital content.

By exploring YouTube for business, new entrepreneurs can discover considerable opportunities, including an extensive audience reach, high engagement, and even increased profits.