Tag Archives: web

10 YouTube tricks you need to know

Last night’s episode of Higher Ed Live was chock-full of YouTube pro tips from Seth Odell.  Any business or higher ed institution who uses YouTube to share web video needs to know the following 10 tricks in order to get more bang for your buck.

Here’s a recap of the Top 10 YouTube tricks:

Video Pro Tip #1 – Always post your video initially as private or unlisted.
Even once YouTube has finished uploaded your video, it takes awhile for it to process.  A processing video usually looks like crap… not what you want your customers to be watching!  Allow for the video to process (the length of time varies) and then make your video public once it is completed. 

Video Pro Tip #2 – Thumbnails are important. As a YouTube partner you can customize your thumbnails.
Thumbnails lure viewers to click on your video.  Higher Ed institutions can become an EDU partner (bonus tip: in order to do this you must have quality academic content on your channel, not just promo videos) and upload customized thumbnails.  I recall seeing stats somewhere in my internet searching equating a well-chosen thumbnail to higher viewership.

Video Pro Tip #3 – To hyperlink in the video description box, make sure to include the “http://”.
Do not start links with “www.” in the description box as they will not be hyperlinked.  This is important to remember if you want to drive viewers back to your website. 

Video Pro Tip #4 – You can link to a specific time in a video with the code #t=00M00S.
Ever wanted to direct blog readers to a certain moment in a YouTube video?  Add the above code to the end of the video URL and replace with zero’s with the time in the video that you want them to see.

Video Pro Tip #5 – YouTube does not weight your video titles as much as it weights your file name.
If you are like me, you are careful to tag your videos appropriately so they show up in searches.  A little known fact is that YouTube places more weight on the original file name of your video than the title that you later give it.  When exporting your video from iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc. make sure to properly title the file.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world and I can imagine you want to make sure you’re optimizing YouTube SEO.

Video Pro Tip #6 – Use the YouTube Keyword tool to find trends and help optimize YouTube SEO.
This free YouTube Keyword tool will help you capitalize on current trends on the web.  You can even sort keyword suggestions by country, language, demographic, and interests.

Video Pro Tip #7 – “Best” the YouTube algorithm with proper file names and creating your own co-view web.
If you are interested in your videos appearing in the “suggestions” column (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you can attempt to “best” the YouTube algorithm by combining Pro Tip #5 with some careful clicking.  Seth Odell admits this is a time-consuming process: start on your own video and click on a suggested video that is not your own.  Spend time clicking around on the next set of suggested videos and inserting your own URL ever so often.  YouTube makes it’s “suggestions” by remembering the web of videos that viewers watch.  You can essentially create your own co-view web… if you have the time.

Video Pro Tip #8 – There are only 3 ways people find your videos: Directed, Direct Search, Indirect Search/Browser.
This is an important tip to remember, as you can only do so much in marketing your video.  (Raise your hand if you’ve ever been charged with creating a viral video.) 

Video Pro Tip #9 – Use YouTube annotations to drive viewers to your own videos.
At the end of every video you create, place a 10 second screen that has text to the effect of “Click here for more videos from Company X.”  Use YouTube annotations to link the text to your YouTube channel.  Wouldn’t you rather your viewers watching more of your videos versus leaving your channel for a suggestion?

Video Pro Tip #10- Hotspots tell you when viewership drops off, this is only available for videos under 1 year old.
Understand your viewers better by paying attention to YouTube Insights, particularly the hotspots.  This will help you catch viewership trends on your videos.

BONUS! Want the latest stats on web video?  ComScore, Inc. is my favorite resource and they recently released  “The State of Online Video.”  The presentation and slides from Dan Piech, Senior Product Management Analyst, can be found here.   

Watch Episode 17 “Seriously Advanced YouTube Tips” with Seth Odell of Higher Ed Live.

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VYou vs. Formspring

There are a number of Q&A services on the web, but the three that seem to be getting the most attention in the press lately are Formspring, Quora, and VYou.  Each service offers the user something a little different, but the underlying principle is that people enjoy asking and answering questions.

Last week I posted my thoughts on Formspring vs. Quora, taking the position that the former has more possibilities for connecting with customers.  This week I thought it would be interesting to look at Formspring vs. VYou in the same light.

VYou is a video Q&A service that launched in late October 2010 which Tech Crunch described as “YouTube meets Formspring.”  Users record a video response to questions (typed messages) they are asked.  Simple as that.

I am always telling anyone who will listen that the Saint Michael’s College bloggers that I work with are the best.  Many of them are eager to try out new tools to connect with prospective students.   You can see here how Derek Desranleau has creatively integrated VYou with his blog.  Another blogger, Christine, made her VYou account available for future students on Facebook.

Gabbi Hall has been an early adopter of both Formspring and YouTube, using the tools to connect with future St. Mike’s students.  I asked Gabbi a few questions about her experience.

What has your experience been using VYou and Formspring?

I currently have 52 video responses on VYou on a range of questions from “What are your biggest concerns about the future of journalism?” to “Advice concerning the academic advising process? Is there anything you wish you had known/done?”  I started using VYou on November 8th, 2010.  I have been using Formspring for about a year now and have answered 218 questions (as of 11-13-2011).

How do you advertise your use of these tools to prospective students?

I advertise Formspring and VYou through Twitter and my personal blog.  On twitter, I simply post the link to my pages and say “Feel free to ask questions about anything!”   I’ll also include hashtags like #smcvt, #college, #formspring, #vyou, etc.  On my blog, however, I embed the code directly into a post or page. For example, I have an “Ask Question About SMC” tab on my page.  When a person clicks on it, they can see my smiling face in the “Waiting video,” view previous answers, and ask questions.  They never have to leave the blog. I also embed it into posts occasionally in case readers aren’t clicking in the tabs.  I try to make it as easy and direct as possible!

Do you see benefits of one service over the other?

Feel free to add anything else Formspring’s got going for it that VYou doesn’t here.

I think the VYou puts a face behind the answers. Prospective students and parents don’t ever have to wonder if there is an admissions member behind the account. There is no denying the genuine nature of the answer when my make-up free, post-workout face is on the screen. Sure, that may not be my most glamorous look, but I also think prospective students don’t want to see perfect, smiling faces all the time.

VYou also allows students to ask questions and get a response like they might on the tour. It is kind of like students can go on the Interactive St. Mike’s Youtube tour and then go to a VYou account to ask their questions.  Like Formspring, the ability to maintain anonymity is great!

However, I’d say the biggest problem is that people are not yet familiar with VYou.  It’s a new system to figure out and understand.  I don’t think prospective students are likely to open their own accounts because it can make someone feel vulnerable putting their face out there. Formspring does allow a user to keep people in the dark by hiding their faces.   I do think the upside of Formspring is simply that more people, particularly high school students, are using it. They have accounts, so they are familiar with how it works. It’s already within their comfort zone, just like Facebook.  Other than that, I like VYou more.

What would you like to see added to Formspring or VYou?

The one down side to both tools is that there are no statistics aside from the number of responses.  I am not able to see how many views my page or the individual responses receive.  I’d really like to know what responses have been most useful or popular.

Interested in connecting with Gabbi?  Read her blog and follow her on twitter!


What you missed

Finally emerging from your cookie-coma?  Recovered from New Year’s Eve antics?

Here’s what you missed over the holidays:

Facebook beat Google as the top visited website in America in 2010.

700 billion YouTube videos were watched in 2010.

Seth Godin writes on why your web forms shouldn’t be annoying.

Admins on Facebook can now unmerge Pages and Places.

Bates uses “swing deans” to help minority students enroll and transition into college life.

Dean at Pomona College gives his take on the Common App in response to previous article on the Common App’s technical glitch.

Patrick Powers compiles his “favorite things” for social media and higher ed.


Engage your audience by being interactive

Goosebumps "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

It didn’t matter that the vampire bit me on page 78 because I had my fingers dug into two different places where I’d made the pivotal decisions to “jump out of the car and run” and “follow the mummy into the dungeon.”  All I had to do was flip back to my pinky and this time “wait in the car” for a new adventure to start.

The “Choose Your Own Adventure” style books had their run in the 1980’s and 1990’s becoming one of the most popular children’s series, not because of a deep storyline but because they were just plain fun.  Didn’t you love being in control of your character’s destiny?

The internet is the perfect tool for captivating your audience with interactive features.   Lucky for us less experienced with programming, YouTube makes this incredibly simple to do with the annotations feature.  Almost one year ago Seth Odell posted a vlog called “Fire Up Your Fan Base With Online Trivia” where he easily created an interactive trivia video game by using YouTube annotations.  Seth pointed out the importance of connecting positive emotions with your brand in the eyes (hearts?) of your audience.   “Sometimes what we don’t stop to do is just have a little fun.” he said.

So I did it.  A year ago I created the first Saint Michael’s YouTube Holiday Contest.  It was done in one day with a flip cam and window’s movie maker.  Not exactly the highest quality, but at the time I was an Admission Counselor in the middle of reading season and had only produced a handful of equally low quality videos.

This year, I am excited to share with you the second Saint Michael’s YouTube Holiday Contest.

With an HD Panasonic and iMovie, the help of 9 SMC staff members, and 10x the length to work on this task… this was still a relatively simple video project and if the results are like last year’s, the audience will love it.

Here was my process:

Step 1: Determine the incentive.
(Let’s be honest… as fun as this will wind up being, we need to lure in our prospective students with swag.)

Step 2: Come up with 10 simple questions about Saint Michael’s College that any high school student who has done some research will probably know.
(Creating the “wrong answers” is easier than it sounds.)

Step 3: Find 10 staff members to read those questions on camera and film them.  Have them tell us why they “Like St. Mike’s”
(I chose to use mostly Admission staff members in order to introduce our applicants to the Counselor who manages their territory.  The “Like St. Mike’s” piece integrates this project with our new Admission tag line and materials.  I also want to point out that we did not use cue cards.)

Step 4: Create 20 second text screens with answer choices and combine those screens with previous footage.
(These text screens allow you to use branded fonts/colors and will give your viewers plenty of time to make their answer choice.  This will also look cleaner in comparison to using the YouTube Annotation text notes.

Step 5:  Think creatively about the “wrong answer” video.
(Should it be funny or serious?  One version or multiples?  It can be very simple, but the user experience will be better if you give viewers the opportunity to answer the same question again directly from the video.)

Step 6: Upload all videos to YouTube.
(To prevent the videos from showing up in the “suggestions” column, set all of the videos to unlisted – except the intro.)

Step 7: Use YouTube annotations to link the answers to the next video and the correct “wrong answer” video.
(This is more time consuming than you think.  I suggest putting all of the links in a word document so you can easily copy and paste.  If you are unfamiliar with annotations, here is an article to help you get started.)

Step 8: Set the launch and end date.
(I learned very quickly last year that this contest works best spread out over a one month period with winners drawn at random at the end.  I personally like the month of December because you can get your prospective students in the holiday spirit!)

While you will not get bitten by a vampire, you might get a question or two wrong.  That is okay!  Any high school student who makes it to the last video is encouraged to head over to Carrie Pratt’s blog; she is one of SMC’s Admission Counselor’s.  She has a blog post about the contest and students “enter” the prize drawing by leaving their name and email address in the comments section.  See how we have driven the student to another place where they can connect with our Admission staff and find helpful information?

As web specialists, we can not underestimate the power of interactivity.  It is fun, it is engaging, and it creates warm fuzzies inside of our audience.  As marketers, we want those warm fuzzies to be associated with our brand, not the one down the street.  And as higher ed professionals, we face the challenges of differentiating our institution (brand) and building meaningful relationships with our prospective students (customers).

Interactive video is one of the ways we can powerfully and meaningfully build connections, share information, and engage our audience.

Try it out and let me know what you think!


Using YouTube for Recruitment

Last month I was fortunate to present at the High Ed Web conference in Cincinnati.  I’m a little late on posting a conference recap, but I strongly recommend that you check out the “Complete and Killer review of HighEdWeb2010” put together by Seth Odell on Higher Ed Live.

My session was called “Using YouTube for Recruitment.”  It focused on ways institutions have creatively and effectively used online video (produced professionally and in-house by staff or students) to market to prospective and accepted students.   My goal was for attendees of the presentation to walk away with a tangible list of ideas of how to highlight students, faculty, events, activities, and more.  (When I present, I am all about giving real ideas that are plausible and doable.)

You can view the presentation “slides” on YouTube.  That’s right, my presentation was actually a video.  I’m pretty clever sometimes.

I was really impressed with how Karlyn Morissette did a four part break down of her HighEd Web presentation “Confessions of a Wicked Vendor.”  I am going to borrow her idea and blog about different topics within my presentation. 

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting successful examples of interactive YouTube marketing, starting on December 01 to coincide with a “secret” video project I have been working on.

In the meantime check out my #heweb10 presentation and let me know what you think!

________________________________________________________

Here are the links to the full videos and research studies that I used in “Using YouTube for Recruitment.”

Video Links:

http://bit.ly/SMC_Orientation

http://bit.ly/BCMinute

http://bit.ly/SBU_Library

http://bit.ly/SMC_Dining

http://bit.ly/Like_SMC

http://bit.ly/U_Indy

http://bit.ly/MiddKid

Credits:

PEW Research Center

Comscore.com

Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Expectations Report

Noel-Levitz, Inc. E-Recruiting Practices Report

Best Practices in Social Media (Slover Linett, mStoner, CASE)


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