YouTubing made easy for politicians

There are many benefits for politicians using YouTube. Videos are quick and easy to create, many digital still cameras include video recording facility, and with millions of YouTube users of all ages and backgrounds your messages will reach a whole new group of people and possible voters.

Benefits for search
You already have a website, you may have a Facebook page, both of which will help the public find you on search engines such as Google and Yahoo! However without content on YouTube, YouTubers using the YouTube search box will either find no content about you – or possibly worse – only content created about you by your opponents. Once you have created your YouTube Channel you should link to it from your website which will help ensure it will be picked up by search engines and very soon could result in your videos appearing in the main search results on the key search engines.

Where do I start?
To start adding video’s to YouTube you need to create a channel. To create a channel you simply sign up to YouTube. When doing this it is important to note your YouTube username cannot be changed after it has been created. It will appear on your channel so think carefully about what you use as a username.

Do my videos have to be high qualitiy?
The most important issue with creating YouTube video’s is ensuring the viewer can hear the message. Beware of background noise when recording the videos. The quality is not a major priority – in fact if your video is too polished it would look out of place in the YouTube environment. There is a limit to the size of your videos on YouTube which is a maximum of 10 minutes in length and a file size of 1024 MB (if you keep you video to 2 – 3 minutes you will not have to be concerned about file size, you will need to use the multi video uploader for videos over 100MB ). You could customise your video’s using video editing software, adding titles etc. this could be something you go on to at a later date and should not be a barrier to starting your channel.

Adding videos to YouTube
After you record your videos, select ‘upload videos’ then enter a title, description and ‘tags’. The content of these fields are important as this will help influence where you appear in YouTube searches. It is essential that you set up the ‘sharing options’ selecting for comments and video comments to be allowed after you approve them. Whilst you want to get responses from viewers you will want to filter any messages that are purely abusive without any substance.

For step by step guide to uploading a video to YouTube visit their how to pages.

How many videos should I add?
There is no limit to the number of videos, I would start with at least three video’s. Keep your video’s short, creating separate video’s for each video.

What next?
You will be able to monitor how many times your video’s are viewed, see who is linking to your video or make it a favourite on their YouTube account. YouTubers can subscribe to your channel, where any new video’s you add will appear when they log into their homepage.

You can help visitors to your YouTube Channel find related content by finding related content on YouTube and selecting these as your favourites and subscribing to other channels.

So do I need a ‘Facebook Page’

Facebook have introduced ‘pages’. I have started talking about the need to set up one of these new type of pages on Facebook to politicians but given that they are already under huge pressure from attempting to maintain their websites, youtubes, email, facebook profile, etc, their initial reaction has not been positive. I have been told that they do not have time to maintain what they already have, let alone set something else.

It’s not that long ago that the same was said to me about setting up politician websites, and less time that an MP said they didn’t have time for a Facebook profile (which the individual still does not have and is missing out on a huge opportunity to reach out to constituence). So when will politicians realise if they do not utilise these methods of communication first then their opponents will?

There are major benefits to Facebook pages for businesses and politicians, unlike groups Facebook members can become ‘fans’ of products / musicians or ‘supporters’ in the case of politicians. Facebook pages offer statistics showing the demographics of those supporting or fans of your pages together with visitors, video and picture views. With these you can then see if it is really worth maintaining the page.

When a Facebook user becomes a fan or supporter your page will appear in your profile as one of the users ‘pages’. This is far more prominent than groups which are a simple text line.

One of the biggest benefits is from the search listing. Not long after setting up a Facebook profile you will find it’s public listing on Google, which will generally rank this high due to the popularity of the site. By setting up a Facebook page you will generate a separate listing, helping you dominate with pages you influence the top positions in search returns for your name of product.

Searching Facebook pages shows that American politicians, or their supporters at least, are catching on.

Barack Obama is massively outstripping

Hillary Clinton in supporters in this new type of Facebook method of promoting individuals and products. I suspect that the difference in numbers of supporters is more related to the adoption of this new form of communications rather than a direct correlation to the level of support of Olbama and Hillary respectively.

It will not be long when a politician who does not have time to create a Facebook page, let alone profile, may not have time to get elected.

Setting up Facebook pages
Setting up a Facebook page is very simple, all you need is a Facebook profile to get started. At least you just have to add a picture together some details about you which you can cut-and-paste from another piece of your publicity. You can disable the ‘wall’ if you will not have time to monitor the page, and control the amount of interaction by adding discussion boards etc if you do have time to maintain the page.

After setting up make sure you have some friends who can become a ‘supporter’ which you can then invite – not forgetting to become a supporter yourself (this is not automatic).