According to the folks at YouTube, there are over a billion users on the platform which accounts for almost one-third of all the people on the Internet. Every single day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. Knowing how to grow a YouTube account is something many pet and other bloggers strive to do.
Some interesting facts about YouTube: 80 percent of YouTube’s views are from outside of the United States, and more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. Aside from a platform to get lost in your favorite pet and music videos, users are capitalizing and monetizing on the platform. So what’s the big deal and how and should you get you get involved in YouTube?
I interviewed Jessica Hatch, the brainchild behind Gone to the Snow Dogs. Their YouTube channel boasts nearly a quarter of a million subscribers and they upload videos three times a week, with over 1,000 videos in their arsenal. Here’s the scoop on how Jessica grew the channel, what advice she has for others wanting to grow their YouTube account, and some bonus Facebook advice.
BlogPaws (BP): Thanks for agreeing to this interviewing! Tell us about your pets.
Jessica Hatch (JH): Oakley, age 9 – 12 (adopted so unsure), Siberian Husky. Shelby, Age 8, Siberian Husky. Memphis, Age 3, Siberian Husky. And one Fur Angel, Shiloh Passed away 01/17/13 Age 11, Siberian Husky
BlogPaws: Do you have a traditional blog and what is the URL?
JH: Yes, GonetotheSnowDogs.com.
BP: What do you do full time for your career?
JH: I am the Owner of Gone to the Snow Dogs LLC, an Entertainment company based entirely on our dogs.
BP: How long have you been blogging?
JH: 7 years
BP: How many social media platforms are you on?
JH: Several, and here are the URLs:
BlogPaws: Let’s focus on your YouTube channel, Gone to the Snow Dogs. When did you start your YouTube channel and what was your goal?
Jessica Hatch: Our goal at the time was to upload a minimum of two videos a week sharing life with our dogs. When the channel started we had just Shiloh and Shelby. So they were basically the founders of Gone to the Snow Dogs.
BP: What are some tips you can provide to a newcomer to YouTube to get started?
JH: My biggest tip I give to anyone wanting to start on YouTube is have fun. Take something you are passionate about and share your passion. Don’t obsess over numbers, subscribers, views, and so on. Just take your passion and share it!
BP: For those of our readers who have a YouTube channel and upload videos but have not had much success, how about some tips for growing a YouTube channel?
JH: I could easily turn this into a very long answer! My biggest tips for growth are to make a schedule and stick to it. Even if it’s only one video a week, make that a goal and stick with it. Respond to every single comment you get! Show your viewers that they mean something! When I first started I spent hours responding to everyone. I wish I could still manage to do that now. Currently, I still read all of our comments but can only respond to a few of them. When first starting out, growing your community by communication is a very big deal.
BP: Do you use professional equipment to shoot your videos? If so, what type? What sort of equipment would you recommend?
JH: I shot the majority of our videos with my Canon G3X. We also shoot with the Canon G9X, GoPro Hero 4 Session, and the Phantom 2 Vision + Quadcopter.
BP: Is video editing important, and what do you use to edit your videos?
JH: Editing is important. You can film 20 minutes of footage, but when you go back and watch it, if you find yourself becoming bored, your audience probably is, too. Editing helps cut videos down to make them shorter and keep them entertaining. I will admit, I am not a “fancy” editor. I don’t do a lot of color correction and things like that. My videos are far from perfect, but I do try to keep them real. We use Corel Video Studio 8.5 Professional for editing.
BP: How many videos do you upload per week? Is there a reason you do that number?
JH: On the dogs channel we upload three videos per week. Monday is normally either a DIY treat video or an Adventure type video. Wednesdays tend to be either Unboxing, Hauls, Product Reviews, or sometimes we do Wordless Wednesday where we take clips of the dogs and set them to music, just for something artsy and fun. Fridays are what we call Fan Friday. We ask for questions on our social sites, and then we try to answer a few of them each Friday, along with opening all the mail that the dogs received in their PO Box for the week! Why do we upload three videos a week? It just seemed to fit. I found that if I could “theme” my videos, then the ideas were easier to come up with. We also occasionally upload an unedited short clip on Sunday’s called “Snow Dogs Shorts” if we end up with cute footage that won’t make a full video, but works well for something fun and uplifting.
BP: Once you publish to YouTube, how do you promote it so folks know the video is there? I know subscribers get a notice, but what if you don’t have a lot of subscribers?
JH: We try to promote our videos everywhere. When things go as planned, we upload a short preview video to Facebook with links to the full video. We also share the link in our Facebook Group for our fans (very new, we just started this). And, of course, we share on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, Snapchat and so on. We try to promote it everywhere we can to make sure our #Pawdience sees that we have a new video up. If I feel there needs to be more said, then we will also write a blog post to go along with the video.
BP: You mentioned a particular site in the BlogPaws Facebook boost and news group to use for analytics with YouTube. Tell me a bit about that, what you use, how you monitor your channel and what you are looking for.
JH: It is called SocialBlade: http://socialblade.com/youtube/user/gonetothesnowdogs You can see your subs go up and down on this site. (Just take out my user name and input your own. You might have to put it in the search and come back if you have never used the site before.) This site was created by a fellow YouTuber friend of mine, Jason Urgo, and his company SocialBlade. All of the information on that sites you can also see in your YouTube Analytics, but Socialblade arranges it in a way that I personally think makes seeing your growth and judging patterns easier then all the steps you have to take on YouTube for the same thing. SocialBlade also works for Instagram as well! I know earlier I said don’t obsess with the numbers, and really you shouldn’t, but watching them and trying to see patterns can help you learn what is working and what is not.
BP: There is word that native Facebook video has surpassed YouTube in terms of video uploads. Does this concern you and/or are you uploading native Facebook videos as well?
JH: I am currently not a huge fan of Facebook Video. Freebooting on Facebook is horrible, and with no good Content ID system in place, it’s so easy for pages to steal your content and re-upload it. Our YouTube videos are monetized and Facebook is not (at least not yet). So, basically the people making money off the stolen content is Facebook. This has been a problem for years. I do upload short form videos and previews of our videos to Facebook. From time to time I have even uploaded full videos to Facebook as well, but I have found short form video seems to do the best on Facebook. Facebook video view numbers are also very misleading. My biggest concern with Facebook video is the stolen videos. Last week alone I had to file 11 copyright complaints on pages who had stolen our content.
BP: What is one of the biggest mistakes you see people making on YouTube when trying to get attention/subscribers?
JH: Sub 4 Sub is what they call it. Small channels are so desperate to gain views and attention they try to do a Subscriber for Subscriber thing. The problem is, you only end up with inflated subscribers counts and no views. You want people to subscribe because they enjoy your content and want to watch it. Those are the subscribers that you want!
BP: Do you have a YouTube social media strategy plan?
JH: Keeping making videos, keep pushing forward. We have a lot of notes for new series, and collabs with other channels. YouTube, like most social sites, is unpredictable. Our plan is to keep making good, enjoyable content.
BlogPaws: You also do well on other social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Let’s talk about cross over there. Are you working with brands on monetizing your social platforms?
Jessica Hatch: Yes, we have monetized on pretty much all of our social sites in different ways.
BP: How are you able to grow all of your social channels so well? Are you doing this alone?
JH: I think the dogs help a lot. I mean, how can you not enjoy photos and stories of those cute Siberian Huskies! When it comes to growth, you have to remember, it’s social media. Communication is key! Talk to your audience, not at them. Communicate with them. And yes, for all of our social sites, except for YouTube. It’s basically the dogs and I. My husband is the behind-the-scenes man. He helps keep me going, keeps our website running, the computers running, and drives us around on all of our adventures together! He appears on our Vlog channel and does help with behind the scenes things on the Dogs channel. I would honestly be lost without him. I bounce ideas off of him all the time! I usually either get the “You are crazy look” or the “You are crazy . . but I know you are going to do it anyway so I might as well help” look hehehe.
BP: How do you feel about paying for boosts/posts/advertising on social and do you do this?
JH: I have only paid for a handful of posts in the past six years. The few times I have done it, it has worked well, but I have found that we bring in just as much doing things organically vs paying for ads.
FACEBOOK BONUS TIP
BlogPaws: As a bonus for our readers, what are three tips you can provide for growing a pet-related Facebook page as you have?
Jessica Hatch: 1. Do NOT make more then one post per hour. Try to post at least once every two to three hours between noon EST and 10pm EST. 2. Post a variety of things. Your own photos, links to blogs/articles/stories (your own or others), short form video, content from other pages similar to yours, and ask questions in your posts. 3. Have FUN with it. Communicate with your audience! Get them talking to get that engagement going!
Are you trying to develop your video strategy? What are you doing to help get noticed in the video realm?
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Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®