10 strategies to use YouTube and TikTok to build your online presence

Video Content Marketing
13 min read
In this Article

Video is the #1 type of content consumed today.

At the rate we’re going, we’ll see more than one billion videos uploaded every second by 2022.

But when I say “video,” so many creators tell me, “Oh, I don’t do video. I’m not funny.”

I totally get it. But in order to be successful today as a creator, you have to prioritize channels like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Not just for monetization, but in order to get your voice heard.

That’s why I put together a comprehensive guide to the Big Three—YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram—so you can implement video marketing as part of your growth strategy. Here’s everything you need to know:

5 key strategies to get more views on YouTube

Even if you’ve never started a YouTube channel before, it’s not too late to start.

What’s different about YouTube is that you can really dig into a conversation with much lengthier videos. The average YouTube video runs about 11 minutes.

Our Creator Sessions series can run up to an entire half hour. In this video, we go behind-the-scenes with the band My Brothers & I.

But the biggest difference from some of these short-form content types that have become popular in recent years? YouTube content is forever. Users can always search for your channel or videos like yours, rather than relying on the algorithm to serve up something interesting.

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YouTube is a solid place to start with your video marketing strategy, especially if you already have a blog. Use these five strategies to grow your YouTube audience:

how to grow on youtube

Strategy #1: Optimize your videos for YouTube search

The last thing you want after planning and strategizing the perfect YouTube video—which can often take days or weeks—is for no one to ever watch it. The more views you have, the greater the opportunity to leverage your content and increase your income.

Because anyone can find your video through search, it’s important to optimize your videos accordingly. YouTube is actually the second-largest search engine in the world. You may already know about SEO, and the practices are similar to ranking on Google.

You need to keep two things in mind for YouTube SEO:

  1. Which keywords will you use?
  2. Where will you place those keywords?

When it comes to finding the right keywords, this is all about taking time to understand the top search suggestions related to your industry. You can also find keywords by reviewing popular videos from people in your niche as well. What titles are they using? What do their descriptions say?

Pull all of these ideas into a list and start tracking your keywords as you discover them. You want to find the right mix of relevant keywords (how closely they fit what people actually want to find) and demand (how many people are searching for them.)

Choose one or two keywords per video. Then, make sure you put the keywords in the right places. You’ll want to include the keyword:

  • In the beginning of your video title
  • In the beginning of your video descriptions
  • At least once more in the video description
  • In the video tag

Why? Algorithm, algorithm, algorithm.

Strategy #2: Increase your watch time with curated playlists

Another key YouTube metric that influences your algorithm placement is watch time. Watch time doesn’t refer to a single video; rather, it’s the total time people spend watching videos on your entire channel. The longer someone sticks around to watch your videos, the more YouTube assumes your videos are high-quality and interesting, and ranks your videos higher up on search results.

As you build out your video marketing strategy, think about how to make your videos more binge-worthy. Can you break out one topic into a series so that people watch it back-to-back?

I do this all the time with our ConvertKit YouTube channel. I record a lot of training and workshops to help creators grow their businesses. Then, I split them up into different YouTube playlists by topic, like this series on how to use ConvertKit:

One of our most popular YouTube playlists goes over how to use ConvertKit step-by-step.

This makes it easier to navigate and helps viewers find what they’re looking for more quickly.

Strategy #3: Create high-quality videos people want to watch

Ok, this may seem obvious. But it’s worth repeating: the simplest way to increase watch time and other key metrics is to create high-quality, engaging videos people want to watch.

This looks different for every channel, niche, or industry that's out there. But unlike TikTok or Instagram (which we’ll talk about more in a second), YouTube rewards creators who use professional cameras and editing software.

High-quality videos often have:

  • Branded intros and outros with consistent music and colors
  • B-roll and outtakes incorporated into the video
  • Fun visual effects and transitions
  • Varied types of shots, like zooming for emphasis
  • On-screen talent that shows emotion
  • High-quality thumbnails with bold and branded colors

Strategy #4: Encourage engagement and interaction with your videos

The next metric YouTube looks for is engagement, or when viewers like, comment, or share your videos.

There are two ways to drive more engagement on your YouTube channel:

  1. Stick within a niche.
  2. Include a call-to-action on every video.

If you look at ConvertKit’s YouTube channel, it’s obvious what we do and why we do it. There are a few different kinds of videos, but every video is relevant to a creator/entrepreneur. We’re not talking about DIY’ing or fashion or music—just how creators can grow their business.

ConvertKit YouTube
Our YouTube channel looks pretty consistent, even though there’s multiple kinds of videos to choose from. You know what you’re getting every time you click.

It's important for you to stick to a niche because viewers will come to rely on your channel for specific information or entertainment. The more specific you can be, the more they’re going to be invested in your channel because you’re giving your audience exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t try to be everything to everybody—be you.

And in every video, ask your viewers to take action. Do you want your viewers to click on another video? Do you want them to click on a link in the description down below? Do you want them to comment and maybe say how they liked this video or give feedback on other videos? Make sure you verbalize what it is you want them to do after watching the video. That’s your CTA.

Strategy #5: Promote your video

It’s not enough to create. You have to promote your videos—it’s the only guaranteed way to drive up your views.

That doesn’t mean you have to pay big money or invest in advertising (though that works!). Make sure your video gets extra mileage by:

  • Embedding your video on your website
  • Promoting the link in your podcast show notes
  • Including it in your email newsletter
  • Showcasing it on social media across Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook
Incorporate video into blog posts
Here’s an example of how we incorporate our videos into blog posts. Image via Tradecraft.

The more people see your video, the better you’ll perform—so don’t neglect promoting your videos elsewhere as part of your overall online presence.

How to leverage TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts

Once you have your long-form content ready to go, you can break that up into smaller segments for the short-form video platforms: TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.

These platforms have a ton of volume—aka opportunity for your business to grow. With millions of daily views and downloads, 90% of users go on these apps multiple times a day. All three of these channels are essential to build trust and relationships with your audience today:

  • TikTok videos last 60 seconds, and they recently launched three-minute long videos
  • Instagram Reels can be 15, 30, or 60 seconds long
  • YouTube Shorts are a brand-new beta feature of 15-second videos

This is where the biggest conversations and trends are taking place today on the Internet. Your challenge is how to add value in such a short timeframe. Here’s how:

how to grow on video

Strategy #1: See all three channels as one piece of content

It can be overwhelming to think of all three of these channels as separate entities. So don’t—while the algorithms and lengths are slightly different, as you concept and edit videos, think of each of them as one piece of content.

You may need to adjust an individual video to trim it to that platform, and some have different filters or trends than others, but overall, focus on short-form video versus long-form video when it comes to your video marketing strategy.

Strategy #2: Go for engagement first

For all three platforms, increasing engagement is essential. It’s the fastest way to grow your follower count and build more credibility and authority in the space.

Increasing engagement starts with thinking of these social media platforms as marketing that doesn’t look like marketing. Consumers today don’t want to be bothered with advertising or over-the-top sales pitches—in fact, many of today’s browsers are including ad blockers so they don’t even see ads.

Viewers don’t want to watch a 20-minute video to learn something new. They want new information and they want it now. Think of your video marketing strategy as a conversation where you’re sharing yourself and your knowledge.

You’re still marketing your business, but you can do it in an authentic, fun way—and that’s increasingly done on video. You’ve already seen how TikTok completely took over the social space in the span of less than six months. Instagram recently announced that they’re no longer a photo-sharing app.

If you want to build a following, you have to lean into engagement with the same tactics as YouTube: niching down and including calls-to-action in your captions and videos.

Strategy #3: Don’t bother with fancy equipment—be yourself

You don’t need fancy equipment—what you need is emotional appeal.

Do that by being yourself.

People want to see and feel that you are a human just like them. That means not worrying about mistakes or doing something perfectly. You only have a few seconds to connect with your audience, so you need to ask yourself, what does that look like for you?

One way is to share behind-the-scenes information or methodology that you might not otherwise share on other forms of social media. Building a community means taking people with you on the entire journey so they feel like they know you as a person. Even if you’re the expert, you should feel like someone they could know.

A simple example that I love is Throw the Fight. The band often posts unedited rehearsal reels or behind-the-scenes of their latest videos.

Throw the Fight shows their fans what it’s really like to be with them on tour and on video.

It’s not always perfect, but it’s always authentic to them.

Strategy #4: Have fun with it

Social media is meant to be fun!

Some of the most popular TikToks and Reels are the funniest. But a lot of entrepreneurs and creators I talk to think they can’t be successful doing this because they’re not “funny.”

It’s less about being truly hilarious and more about finding a current trend that speaks to you, like a popular song, challenge, dance, or video editing structure. Take this example from creator Elise Darma. She’s hopping on a popular TikTok trend, but it totally works for her brand:

@elisedarmaI need totally privacy to film myself talking to my phone ✋🏼🛑 #onlinebusiness #workfromhome♬ Dating in your…… – Jamie Buckley pt and actor

Elisa Darma’s TikToks offer upbeat tips on how to be successful on social media, like this one.

It’s lighthearted but still relevant to her business, which is all that matters. You don’t have to choose every trend, but find a creative way to take part in it and add free value related to your business.

Strategy #5: …but you don’t have to be funny to succeed

Funny isn’t the only reason people engage with TikTok or Instagram.

Educational, relevant content doesn’t have to be funny to succeed. If you’re making great content that’s helpful to your audience in their day-to-day lives, and you’re making it convenient for them, it’s going to bring results. Maybe that’s quick tips in a 60-second video, or just inspiration and real talk like this video from emotional growth coach Alexis Teichmiller:

Alexis Teichmiller is a life coach who posts inspirational content on her Instagram.

What kind of emotional appeal and value can you bring? Find your content theme and stick with it rather than trying to be everything at once. Make a list of three different topics you could talk about and then research the trends and hashtags that go along with them.

Grow your email list using video content

Why spend all this time on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram?

More followers, likes, and watches add up to more people in your community that you can engage with—and monetize.

Building repeatable income as a creative starts with sharing your voice, your knowledge, and your value with your community. But you don’t want to rely on a platform that you don’t own.

That’s where email comes in. It helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level because you’re showing up in their inbox, which is a much more personal space. If you want to build a deeper connection with them, email is the channel to do it.

You’re going to want to get your social media audience onto your email list to turn followers into lifelong customers.

ConvertKit can help you make the most of your social media-email pipeline by giving you a space to build and grow your email list. Make quick and easy landing pages to house links to your social media channels, add forms to landing pages and promote them on your videos, and more—so you can turn your social media followers into buyers, fans, and collaborators for whatever it is you put out there into the world.

Create a free landing page that converts

ConvertKit landing pages were designed by world-class pros to be fully customizable and give you the quick data to improve your conversion rates and grow your business.

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Angel Marie

Angel is a content creator and entrepreneur advocate who enjoys the art of teaching, culture, music, film and creative entities. She loves getting to know different people and their passions, helping them succeed and exploring the beauty in the online world. When Angel is not producing and hosting a webinar for the amazing creators who attend, you can find her traveling, reading a book, singing, watching a movie (and critiquing it!), or developing her own personal blog.

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