A Better commenting system is coming to YouTube. In a post on the video sharing website's official blog, Nundu Janakiram, product manager, and Yonatan Zunger, principal engineer, said:
Starting this week, you'll see the new YouTube comments powered by Google+ on your channel discussion tab. This update will come to comments on all videos later this year, as we bring you more ways to connect with familiar faces on YouTube.
They added a couple of interesting details:
This is a significant development.
Lee Bell, a reporter for The Inquirer, said, "The change means that commenters won't be able to leave anonymous remarks any longer, as you'll have to be signed in to Google+ in order to comment."
Steve Cooper, a contributor at Forbes, said, "What's particularly interesting about the new system is how it will combat ‘trolls,' as in those nasty commenters who drag the conversation into the gutter without offering up any insight or value."
Carla Marshall, the Managing Editor of ReelSEO, said, "Account holders are being given the facility to ban commenters who consistently leave negative remarks as well as filter out comments that contain certain trigger words."
And Amanda Marcotte, a journalist who writes for Slate Magazine, said, "Clearly, the whole world is out to get the angry dude. If he can't cause ordinary people to accidentally glance at the comments on a video and then look away in disgust, what does he have left?"
So, now that better commenting is coming to YouTube, what should marketers do?
B2B and B2C marketers for both large and small businesses should seize the opportunity! This will transform YouTube from an anti-social into a social medium. In fact, it will turn YouTube into the second largest social medium in the U.S., behind only Facebook.
According to Compete PRO data for August 2013:
So, if your social media marketing campaigns didn't include YouTube before, then they should now. YouTube gets 4.8 times more unique visitors a month than Twitter and 6.3 times more unique visitors than Instagram, just to pick a couple of names out of the hat.
If you have disabled commenting on your YouTube videos, then enable comments now. Here's how to do that:
And don't worry: You can still require approval for comments before they're posted. If you want to be able to do that, follow steps 1-4 in the instructions above. Then, under "Allow comments", select Approved. When somebody leaves a comment, you'll receive an email notification that directs you to a page where you can approve or remove the comment.
If you have disabled commenting on your YouTube channel, then enable your Discussion tab now. If enabled, you can then select if channel comments need to be approved by you to display on your channel.
If the Discussion tab is enabled for your channel, other YouTube users can post comments on your channel. And don't worry: Since it's your channel, you have some tools to moderate the discussion.
To see your options, click the arrow in the upper right of a comment on your channel. You can:
In addition, you can require approval for all new comments before they're posted to your channel. When someone comments, a blue banner will let you know. You can then review the comments to approve, delete, or flag them for abuse or spam. You can turn this on in your Channel Navigation settings.
There are also a couple of automated filters:
Build a genuine community around your channel and what it stands for.
People are drawn to online video because they can interact with the channel in ways that they can't with television. So, speak to your audience, and listen to what they say. If you actively engage with your audience through your channel, it will pay off in the long run. Your fans will become your social advocates and spread the word about your brand.
Here are some tips for building a community from the ground up:
If you haven't already created a Google+ page or profile to engage with fans and other YouTube creators, then set one up now. Google+ allows you to organize people into different "circles" to help tailor your engagement to a circle's specific interests. Engage your fans directly in Google Hangouts, and broadcast live Hangouts on your YouTube channel via Google+ Hangouts on Air.
If your channel represents you as an individual, and you personally manage the channel and plan to manage your Google+ presence on the same account, then a G+ profile is the way to go. However, marketers should link a Google+ page to their channel to access the features below:
YouTube Analytics is your channel's pulse. It helps uncover key channel insights based on real viewer data and the content they engage with most.
For example, you can use YouTube Analytics to learn which videos your audience interacts with most. This can help you craft more successful content and promotional strategies. You will want to examine the Likes & Dislikes, Comments, and Sharing Reports on standout videos to understand what type of content resonates best with your audience.
Then, here are some sample uses for these key reports:
Comments can provide valuable feedback and additional information about your videos and your audience. Viewers will tell you what they like and don't like about your videos. But, better commenting features don't guarantee that you will always get plenty of positive comments. So, you'll still need to roll with the punches.
This means you need to have a bit of a thick skin – even if your informal corporate motto or slogan is "don't be evil." In fact, YouTube's Community Guidelines, which ask users to "respect the YouTube community," also go on to say, "We're not asking for the kind of respect reserved for nuns, the elderly, and brain surgeons."
So, even if YouTube's better commenting features miraculously manage to defeat all the spammers, haters and trolls later this year, YouTube will continue to encourage free speech and defend "everyone's right to express unpopular points of view."
That's why you still need to create content that is unique, compelling, and entertaining or informative. You also need to dedicate time to interact with your audience and develop relationships with top contributors. And you should respond to comments in the first few hours after you publish a video.
No one said it would be easy. They just promised that it would be worth it.
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.
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Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization, public relations, video marketing, and social media marketing services. He's the author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day," a faculty member at Rutgers University and Market Motive, as well as a frequent speaker at SES conferences.