In this blog, we explain what makes YouTube social and what aspects of the platform make it an effective social media marketing tool.
Defining Social Media
Although more and more of our lives are spent online, not everything we do on our phones and computers can be considered social media or social networking. In general, there are a few core elements of apps and websites that contribute to their social media label. Social media is made to foster interaction between users, and social media apps and sites have special features that encourage those interactions, such as instant messaging, user posting, and commenting features.
Because different apps and sites focus on different interactivity features, five broad categories of social media have developed.
Types of Social Media
The chances are that you already know what the five categories of social media are because it’s likely that you use all five.
There are message- and image-sharing sites, like Instagram and Facebook; social networking sites, like LinkedIn; social blogging sites, like Twitter; discussion-based or message-board sites, such as Reddit or Quora; and the newest category of social media: video-sharing sites, like TikTok and—you guessed it—YouTube.
What Makes YouTube Social?
It may seem obvious that YouTube is classed with the rest of the most popular apps on the internet as a social media platform, but that wasn’t always the case. YouTube has taken many steps toward becoming a more social platform in the past few years. This has included adding features and highlighting specific aspects of the platform to encourage users to interact with one another. Without further ado, here’s a list of the features that make YouTube one of the most popular social media platforms on the internet.
As we mentioned earlier, user-generated content and influencer marketing have become some of the most popular forms of social media marketing in the past few years. YouTube was one of the first platforms to highlight user-generated content (hence the “You” in its name), and while the term influencer usually refers to users on Instagram now, the first big names on the internet came from YouTube before the other most-used platforms were even created.
Before Instagram and Twitter had followers, YouTube had subscribers. This feature creates a unique sense of community among YouTube users in addition to the connection that following has on other platforms. Not only are subscribers able to see specific creators’ content on their feed and choose to be notified when a creator posts, but communities who subscribe to a YouTube content creator often develop communal nicknames and are addressed by these nicknames in videos.
Although YouTube users do not have access to private or direct messaging features, they do still have opportunities to communicate with other users. Every video uploaded to YouTube has a comments section that both subscribers and non-subscribers can use to chat about the video or channel content.
Similarly to other social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, YouTube offers users the ability to like videos. YouTube’s algorithm will show more users videos with more likes and views. Furthermore, these liked videos will be automatically added to a “Liked Videos” playlist for the user.
A newer element of the social capabilities of YouTube is the community posts feature. Community posts allow for more connections between the creators and viewers, as they provide more methods of interaction than just traditional YouTube videos. These posts can come in the form of videos, but also text posts, GIFs, polls, or images. Viewers and subscribers can comment and like these posts in addition to the creator’s uploaded videos.
The newest addition to YouTube’s suite of features, YouTube Shorts is similar to Instagram Reels and TikToks. Unlike traditional YouTube videos, YouTube Shorts are typically under 60 seconds long. Because Shorts encourage viewers to watch more videos in a shorter time span, they boost consumer engagement.
In addition to all of the ways that YouTube is definitively social, the platform has the additional benefit of monetization. While many YouTube creators partner with brands in addition to their content, their videos can be monetized through other means. After a channel reaches one thousand subscribers (and racks up over 4,000 hours of watch time over a 12-month period), YouTube creators can opt to show Google Ads before and during their videos in order to profit from their content.
YouTube Social Media Marketing with Versa Creative
From all of these points, it’s clear that the answer to “Is YouTube a social media platform” is a resounding yes. It’s also clear that there are many benefits to YouTube marketing in addition to your typical digital and social media marketing strategies.
For an agency that can seamlessly integrate YouTube into your existing marketing campaign—or strategize a campaign that will strengthen your current marketing efforts in addition to bringing YouTube into the picture—partner with Versa Creative. Versa is an award-winning, Houston-based marketing agency that works with businesses across industries and boundaries. With talented, professional teams for social media marketing, graphic design, digital marketing, copywriting, photography, and videography, Versa Creative is more than well-equipped to take your YouTube content and marketing to unimaginable heights. Contact Versa today to see how we can elevate your brand.