How to Promote Your YouTube Videos and Grow Your Channel for Free
Some might argue that promoting a YouTube channel is like admitting that your content cannot gather views organically. And if it was the year 2008, this might have been a fair point.
Today, we live in a time when the internet is flooded with content. Unfortunately, being a great video maker, YouTuber, or creator doesn’t automatically mean that you’re heading to success. Because today, it’s also about who’s figured out the best ways to promote their YouTube videos.
It used to be the survival of the fittest. Then it quickly became the survival of the richest. But on August 6, 1991, an invention that would alter the course of history became publicly accessible. In less than 30 years, the internet made it clear that it’s not about being strong or wealthy anymore. It’s about being a talented marketer.
Every day, 500 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube, which, by default, raises the competition and requires you to promote your YouTube videos and channel in the best way possible. For the purpose of this post, we’re going to look exclusively into free ways to promote YouTube videos and exclude paid measures. This is a whole other story (and science).
If you’re new to online marketing, SEO might sound a lot like jargon to you. And no matter how intimidating acronyms can be, SEO simply stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”
What sometimes creators forget about YouTube is that it is also a search engine — actually, the second biggest search engine in the world with 50% more searches than Yahoo. Users all over the world, nowadays, look for tips, how-to guides, and content on YouTube when they have a question they need an answer to. By following these simple tips below, you’ll be able to bubble up to the top search results on YouTube’s homepage and smash your competition.
So, if you’re asking your self where to promote YouTube videos for free, YouTube’s website is your very first option. Here’s a mini how-to guide:
1. Find the keyword
In SEO, everything starts with the main topic and translating it into a keyword.
If you don’t know what keywords are, think of it this way: When you’re looking for content on YouTube and use a specific term to type into the search box, you’re basically typing a keyword. So, the first thing you want to do to promote your YouTube channel is to identify user intent and create a list of potential keywords you believe searchers will use while searching for content.
There are hundreds of SEO tools to help you identify what users are looking for and what keywords they use. For beginners, we’d suggest simple tools like AnswerThePublic and Ubersuggest. They’re both easy to use, intuitive, and really really helpful for promoting YouTube videos for free.
2. Craft your headline
After’ you’ve identified your main keyword, you need to put it in your video title. And this is where SEO gets kind of hard for beginners because you have the data, but you need to add them to your content.
Put your main keyword, preferably, at the beginning of the video title, and don’t forget that your title has to be catchy, compelling, keyword-optimized, and natural.
3. Add a description
Some might believe that creating content and uploading it on YouTube with a catchy title would be enough. Wrong!
A video description is where you share information with your viewers and a great place to add more keywords so you can rank higher on YouTube search results. In your description, you need to add your main keyword and some related ones.
If, for example, you want to post a video about a new video game coming out, you’d probably have to mention in the description the game’s title, and some extra keywords like “new video game,” or even the company that is releasing it.
4. Use tags
YouTube tags work as guides for the YouTube algorithm to get a sense of your video so it can deliver it as related content next to videos from other YouTubers. Of course, they play an essential part in YouTube search results and how high your videos are going to rank too.
However, there are many cases where YouTubers tried to trick the platform and rank high by using irrelevant keywords. Don’t do it! This is spammy, and you might even face a penalty. And Google rarely forgets!
You know how it goes. If you’re not on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, etc. you’re basically nonexistent. This interconnected world is full of information and, of course, people who might as well be your potential viewers.
With that being said, social media are not just among the best places to promote YouTube videos. Let’s take a look at the most prominent networks, which are no others than Facebook and Instagram.
1. How to promote your YouTube channel on Facebook
Have a look at your Facebook feed and, you’ll immediately see tons of different content. Photos, status updates, articles, and of course, videos. With over 2.6 billion active users, Facebook might sound too old school for younger generations, but it still remains the king in terms of capacity.
The very first thing you want to do is simply post your video on Facebook. Just use the share button under your video, hit “Post on Facebook” and you’ll be good to go — also don’t forget to tell your viewers to share it on their profiles.
But if you want to up your game and promote your YouTube videos on Facebook like a true professional, there are some proven tactics to do it:
- Post sneak peeks: The rule of thumb suggests that people who search for stuff on search engines on YouTube want a solution to a problem or information about something that’s been on their mind. On the other hand, social media users appreciate the unexpected. A sneak peek of what is coming is building up curiosity, and if it’s crafted in the right way, it can build anticipation. Post a photo of an exciting project or a short version of a video of yours, add a link to it, and see the views coming in.
- Become part of a community: There are currently 620 million Facebook groups. One of them must be related to your niche. Find Facebook groups where people share their opinions, tips, and ideas on the things that you talk about on your channel. Post your videos, but always be careful not to appear too spammy. This will turn group members off and might make admins block you.
- Create a Facebook page: If you already have a YouTube channel, chances are you already have a Facebook page to promote your YouTube videos. If you’re entirely new to this, then all you have to do is go to Facebook for Business and create your first page. This is your crib now, and you can share updates, new videos, and chat with your fans for a more interactive approach.
There are millions of articles on how to promote your YouTube channel on Facebook. However, the reason you’re still looking is that all the information out there is either too advanced or it usually involves spending hundreds of dollars on ad revenue. But by following the tips we described above, you’ll be able to promote your videos for free.
2. How to promote your YouTube channel on Instagram
Welcome to the most popular social medium of our time. With 1 billion monthly active users, it might not have Facebook’s userbase, but it has a dynamic, influential audience, with 56.8% being between the age of 18 and 34.
This is the audience you want.
To promote your YouTube videos on Instagram (without paying), you need to follow these four simple steps. Here you go:
- Switch to a professional account: All Instagram users can claim a professional account and enjoy the privileges that come with it. Go to your profile setting, request a professional account, and choose the description that matches your area of interest. This will unlock new tools that offer insightful information, such as profile analytics
- Pay attention to the analytics: Now that you’re a professional Instagram user (how fancy!), you can access your profile analytics. These analytics give you a better understanding of who your audience is, what type of content you should publish to engage them, and how Instagram users interact with your content.
- Post regularly: To increase engagement so more people get to see your YouTube videos when you promote them on Instagram, you need to post regularly. And post everything. Photos, stories, and videos.
- Explore IGTV: Instagram comes with its own native video platform. To promote your YouTube channel on Instagram, you need to incorporate your content into IGTV (which basically means “Instagram TV”). Post relevant videos to your niche or just sneak peeks of upcoming YouTube videos to grow your fans and viewers.
You might be wondering where the “SWIPE UP” feature is. Unfortunately, Instagram has updated its terms, and only users with more than 10K followers can enable this. If you already have a strong fanbase, go ahead and add a link to your YouTube video every time you release a new one.
If not, you have to start with the social media marketing basics. And the first rule is to post great content that people will want to double-tap.
People have questions. And they need answers to these questions. They also have interests. And they want to share them with people who also find them interesting. Luckily, there are some unique places on the Internet for all those people. They’re called forums.
Places like Quora, Reddit, and Stack Overflow are some of the many online sites to promote your YouTube videos and channel for free. In a nutshell, this is how it goes: Users talk about something, you jump in, chat with them, and drop a link to your YouTube channel. After all, marketing has to be conversational, right?
Start by creating a list of popular threads that have to do with your niche. See if you have any YouTube content relevant to these conversations that you can promote. If not, create some. Join the conversation and tell other participants that you’ve posted a YouTube video on this topic.
YouTube’s been around for more than fifteen years, and video creators started mushrooming immediately. As a result, they developed some pretty interesting promotion tactics that even today appear to be working quite when promoting YouTube videos for free.
Here’s a brief list:
1. YouTube collaborations
The concept of YouTube collaborations is simple. YouTuber A contacts YouTuber B, and they decide to create two separate videos together — one for YouTuber A’s channel and one for YouTuber B’s channel.
This is called cross-promotion. In fact, it’s been around since the beginning of YouTube with many of the original YouTubers like Justine Ezarik and Shane Dawson, introducing it for the first time.
So, if you want to promote your YouTube channel to a relevant audience, first, you must find a YouTuber with the same niche as yours — of course, you don’t want to send an email to a superstar because, in this business, you need to start small.
Send an Instagram direct message or a casual, friendly email to a smaller YouTuber. Pitch them the idea, and take it from there.
2. Contests and giveaways
If we want to be completely honest, this is called bribery., because you basically offer your audience an extra incentive in exchange for a subscription to your channel. And it happens to be a gift.
But it’s one of the most successful tactics used even today by individuals and brands who want to expand their fanbase. And it’s not only on YouTube. Contests and giveaways are everywhere on Instagram or any other social network. And they appear to be one of the most effective ways to get your name out there.
Try a giveaway contest and ask your viewers for a subscription and a like on your video in order to participate. You won’t believe how effective this is going to be.
3. YouTube hashtags
YouTube hashtags were introduced quite recently. In 2016, actually. The reason was to create a better experience for the viewers but also help creators make their videos more discoverable.
Even though they’re not that common and creators don’t really love them, viewers seem to be using them. Our eyes have become so familiar with hashtags on social media, that we instinctively want to click them. Add a hashtag to your title and make it topic-specific. It sounds old-school (like Twitter in 2009), but it costs zero money, and it does bear fruits.
At the end of the day, you always want to become an authority in what you do. Because this way, you’re building an audience, you’re marketing your services, and you’re promoting your YouTube channel, videos, and content for free and without moving a finger.
The thing is that when you become an authority, people keep checking at what you’ve published, keep visiting your channel, subscribe organically, and wait for you to roll out new stuff.
To become an authority, though, you need to have a complete suite of materials. Sure, a channel is a great project, but you also need to build a blog, publish articles, and form relationships with other authority figures in your niche. Then, you will be able to ask them to feature your video in one of their blog posts, share it on their social media accounts, or even get a shoutout for free.
But never forget the golden rule of YouTube. Which is...
YouTube is not rocket science, and it usually comes down to creating high-quality, meaningful content. If your stuff is not worthy, promoting your YouTube videos will make no difference because you will basically create a pool of unengaged viewers who will never subscribe to your channel or come back for more.
Focus on building quality content and then on how to promote your channel. Keep your viewers in mind, make them happy, and - who knows - they might take the reins and support your promotion efforts. Fingers crossed!