Essential Tips for a Successful YouTube Channel
At 2015 Summer NAMM, Chrissy Hansen of Chicago Music Exchange and Reverb.com revealed why a successful YouTube channel is one of a music retailer’s most powerful marketing tools. Hansen described how her company’s YouTube channel went from 30,000 to more than 125,000 subscribers in two years. During that period, the channel’s 600 videos garnered 32 million views.
She added that it all started with one video, “100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock ’N’ Roll).” The video was filmed in one take, with one employee, a dynamic guitarist, playing the top 100 rock ’n’ roll guitar riffs. The video went viral—and got 1 million views in one week.
“If you’re trying to create a successful YouTube channel, going after the elusive viral video is not the answer,” Hansen said.
Instead, she suggested focusing on the day-to-day business, such as regular product demos and reviews, your brand, featured manufacturers, and in-store events.
“A successful YouTube channel happens over time, from many videos,” said Hansen, emphasizing the importance of consistency. “We put out two to three videos every week—sometimes mores.”
Here are her essential tips for building a successful YouTube channel:
Have a purpose. Figure out what you’re trying to do with your YouTube channel.
● Drive sales. Make videos about a specific instrument or category.
● Entertain. Build a following by getting people to come back to visit.
● Build your brand. Let people know what your brand or store is and what’s unique and distinct about you.
● Educate. Teach someone something.
● Monetize your ads.
Use your assets. Hansen encouraged retailers to make the most of their videos by using what talent they have or by outsourcing. Examples would be:
● Talented players.
● Access to artists.
● Good storytellers.
● Voiceover talent (people who don’t want to be on camera).
● Humor (funny, entertaining people or actors). Hansen described how Chicago Music Exchange makes short films with storylines—for instance, a Batman video. She cautioned other retailers to script their films and to get second opinions on whether the scripts are funny and appropriate.
Prepare before you start filming. Hansen advised retailers to get the video production equipment and resources they need before they start.
● Camera. Get a decent one for quality videos.
● Tripod. Don’t forget this accessory.
● Lighting. It can make or break a video.
● Set and backdrop. Create a look and feel that’s consistent, so the audience gets to know you.
● Script. It will save time when you go back to edit your videos.
● Editing software. iMovie for Mac is user-friendly, and you can learn it in several hours.
● Videographer. Chicago Music Exchange has a full-time videographer on staff, which lets them shoot videos every day. “Video is enormously important in this industry,” Hansen said. “We’re selling musical instruments, so putting that on camera is a great way to sell.”
The power of collaboration. Get others to help, and don’t be afraid to ask.
● Supplement your shortcomings. If you don’t have staff to shoot in front of and behind the camera, look to your local community and others in the industry.
● Build relationships. Get artists and experts to come in and shoot videos in your store.
● Create brand ambassadors. It’s free and organic. They end up telling everyone about your store.
● Know when to say “no.” If a videographer approaches you, and it’s going to cost a lot of money with no-long term benefits, decline the service.
Be ready for the trolls. There are always going to be critics and negative comments.
● Sometimes, it’s best to ignore them. People in the comments section are waiting to say terrible things, so ignore them.
● Respond, don’t react.
● Don’t censor (except in extreme cases). Unless it’s offensive, vulgar, racist or extreme, leave it. You don’t want to control the conversation.
● Reward good behavior. Thank folks with nice comments. Give it a “Like.”
● Pay attention to consensus. Hansen shared that visitors kept commenting on the poor audio quality a video when it was played back on PC speakers. The video was taken down, edited and put back up.
Start with one video. Creating a successful YouTube channel happens one video at a time.
● Keep making videos. Like all social media, it’s going to feel as if it’s not working at first. Keep working at it. You’ll get a rhythm, get better and get people coming back.
● Create a video schedule.
● Promote your videos.
● Integrate video into every part of your marketing—including social media, Facebook, emails, newsletters, print and website.
● Look back in six months and realize you have a YouTube channel. Keep in mind that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. So, you can get hits for a simple video that people come back to, and over time, it will have a lot of value for your YouTube channel.