When you think of social media Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may come to mind. But there is another media platform that, when used correctly, could make quite the difference in your business: YouTube. Stunning photos can bring in an audience, but what about the power of video? It is estimated that just one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.
So you definitely don’t want to miss out on this golden opportunity. YouTube may seem a bit intimidating, considering it’s a large platform and millions of users are looking to use it to gain a following. Not to mention trying to figure out what videos to post and how to make those videos can take some time. Nevertheless, using YouTube for your food business is a smart move, and it could be just the thing you need to get more clients. Before you take the plunge into using YouTube, allow me to share with you a few things you need to know before you get started.
To maximize YouTube to grow your restaurant, catering or event business, keep an active channel with consistent posting and audience engagement. Keep your channel clean and concise so that it is a clear representation of your business’ brand. Make sure you have a distinct vision and purpose for your channel and, once you begin consistently posting, utilize keywords and promote your videos on social media and via your email list to gain more traffic.
In this blog, I will share with you an overview of what YouTube is, how to create videos, how to create a strong YouTube channel and how to engage with your audience. Let’s jump in!
First created in 2005, YouTube is a video sharing platform that allows users to upload videos as well as view, like, comment and share other videos. Around 1.3 billion people use YouTube and about 5 billion videos are watched daily. Users can subscribe to other users and make their own playlists of their favorite videos. Pretty much anything you can imagine can be found on YouTube. From tutorials, how-to videos and vlogs to comedy skits, music videos and movie trailers, the possibilities of what to discover on YouTube are endless. YouTube can be accessed on multiple platforms and devices including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and video game consoles. While it is used by people of all ages, YouTube is more popular among young adults with about 96 percent of American users being between the ages of 18-24.
Creating Videos for Your Restaurant, Catering, and Event Business
A Google account is the only thing you need to get signed up for YouTube. Once you get the channel, it’s time to start creating the videos you will post. I’m here to tell you that creating YouTube videos isn’t as daunting as it sounds. As a business owner, you want to use YouTube to bring in more clients. It’s hard to say what exactly to post since each business is different, but here are some basic tips that will help you get going. Before you do anything, sit down and do some brainstorming on the kind of content that will best benefit you. Ask yourself these important questions:
What does my audience want to see?
How do you want the video to promote your business?
How will the video grab viewers’ attention?
Once you have a plan in place, then it’s time to figure out the logistics such as people in the video, where to film, tools to film, etc. Thankfully you don’t need expensive equipment and a fancy studio to make a quality video. Using a smartphone and a tripod can be more than enough to get started. You can always upgrade your tools later down the line, but don’t stress about it too much in the beginning.
When creating your video, make sure you have good lighting, audio and background. Make sure your videos are a decent length. Too short of a video won’t be enough to get the engagement you’re looking for, but too long of a video runs the risk of losing viewers halfway through. I would suggest keeping videos about three to five minutes long. Once you complete a video, you can upload it directly to your channel. YouTube Live is another great feature to you use that will allow you to broadcast live videos straight to your channel.
Verify your account to unlock some helpful features. For example, verified accounts can upload videos longer than 15 minutes and are allowed to upload custom thumbnails. Once you are verified, create a thumbnail that will serve as good eye-catcher for your video. It will also let viewers know what they’re about to see before they even click play. Try to upload your video with a 720p resolution to ensure a high definition video. YouTube allows you to insert tags and keywords so you want to make sure you don’t skip adding those. Also, be sure to add a description. Here you can also insert links and other information to let viewers know where they can find out more about you.
Uploading videos to YouTube channels is just the first step in successfully utilizing the service. In addition, you need to have a strong channel to hook viewers and compel them to hit the subscribe button. Use your channel to share your brand and what your business is really all about. Your brand should be clear and simple. Not only does it need to be something that is representative of you, it needs to be something you can be proud of.
Each YouTube channel allows you to have a channel icon, art, description and trailer video – and I would encourage you to utilize all of these. Your channel icon is basically your logo while your channel art consists of a banner that will give your channel a unique identifier. You can create a banner using any video photo editing app. The description is an overview of your channel and what kind of content viewers can expect to see there. I would suggest using the description to include a link to your website, social media accounts and contact information.
The trailer video is similar to the description except it’s a short video that serves as the introduction to your channel. It’s the first thing your audience will see when they visit your channel so you want to make it something memorable and attention-grabbing.
It’s best to keep YouTube channels short and sweet with a call to action at the end, such as encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel. Your trailer video will probably change as your channel grows and evolves.
YouTube Engagement for F&B Pros
When the subscribers and followers come in, the last thing you want to do is not interact with them. Those followers are not only your viewers, but they can become your potential customers as well. Engagement is a huge part of having a successful YouTube channel. Be sure to respond to comments in a timely manner and have conversations with your audience. Your viewers want to feel engaged with a person, so show them the human side of you. It’s okay if you don’t respond to every comment, but try to get to as many of them as you can. You can also like the ones you don’t respond to. If your audience sees that you’re responsive and reading what they say, they’ll be more prone to come back and comment on other videos.
As I mentioned before, keep posting consistently so your audience knows when it can expect the next video from you. Keep your content fresh, eye-grabbing and, of course, unique to you. If you want to snag those viewers who aren’t subscribed to you, encourage them to do so. You can use the first couple of seconds at the beginning of the last few seconds at the end of your video to encourage viewers to subscribe, like or share your video.
Another way to create engagement is to step outside of your own channel and comment on other people’s videos, like, or subscribe to some of your followers’ channels. This action will show that you’re not just looking for likes and views but you’re genuinely wanting to build a relationship with your audience. Lastly, utilize tools like YouTube analytics to find out the demographics of your audience, the best times to post, average watch times and more.
I hope this blog has helped you get an idea of how you can use YouTube for your business. Getting a successful channel going will take some time and trial and error, but if you follow these basic tips and guidelines, I’m sure you’ll start to see engagement much sooner than later.
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