Video content success if just out of reach, but your YouTube video marketing strategy isn't far off with a solid social media foundation.

You’ve heard the news: YouTube is positioned to take over Facebook as the most popular social network in the next few years.

Deemed the favorite network of 12-to-15 year olds in a recent study, this video platform entertains more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year. YouTube has done well by itself, but with the recent Google+ integration, it now has the search engine’s web assets on its side.

Smart marketers will see how these trends could impact their future success and realize that it’s time to start building a better YouTube presence. The good news is: Your YouTube strategy is already in the works if you have a social marketing plan in place already.

By now, you’re probably aware of the must-dos for brands on major social networks (and hopefully you’re already carrying these out!)

1. Create and post custom content regularly
2. Monitor the activity on your page
3. Network with other influencers
4. Watch those character counts
5. Appeal to the visually inclined
6. Use keywords
7. Share strategically to drive traffic back to your site

These seven action items are just as important for success on YouTube, and you should bring them to the content drawing board when developing or updating strategies. Here’s how:

1. Create and post content regularly

Just like any network, regular posting is essential for a successful YouTube Channel. Create a video posting schedule and stick with it. The only way to keep your subscribers coming back for more is to feed them content consistently.

Marketers must treat YouTube like other social media channels - by delivering a steady stream of content.

Here at Brafton, we keep up with a routine calendar of Content & Coffee video blogs every Monday, Third Thursday Tip tutorials and Content Marketing recaps every month. Our viewers have come to expect these regular updates, and it gives us the chance to nurture leads through a longer sales funnel

2. Monitor the activity on your page

YouTube is now integrated with Google+, and there are a number of new factors that impact comment rankings. For instance, comments from people in your G+ circles tend to rank higher, as do responses from popular YouTube personalities. These ranking changes can help brands hone in on their followers’ and influencers’ interests to provide more targeted messaging.

Pro tip: Just like in LinkedIn groups, you can set up comment moderation and manually approve them, or disallow them completely. If such close moderation is too much work, set up a blacklist with words that will automatically push those comments into review.

3. Network with other influencers

In the social sphere, it’s common courtesy to share content from other industry leaders. This keeps your campaign from seeming too promotional.

When you start networking on YouTube, find channels posting content relevant to your business. Your engagement (liking, commenting) on these videos will automatically show up on your feed, and thus, your subscribers will see the activity. Many YouTube creators go a step further and collaborate on videos that could interest subscribers of both channels. This offers a mutual benefit, as both creators gain exposure and access to new and relevant audiences.

4. Watch those character counts

The Tweet sweet spot is between 120 and 130 characters. And while there is no optimal length for YouTube, remember two things:

1. You have about 8 seconds to catch your viewer’s attention.
2. Google considers the number of full-length video views your channel has when determining which videos get visibility in YouTube. (So it might be best to keep it short.)

The Tweet sweet spot is between 120 and 130 characters, but with video, you have about 8 seconds to catch viewers’ attention.

5. Appeal to the visually inclined

No one likes to squint at tiny photos, or feel like their eyesight is impaired with low-resolution, blurry images. So first and foremost, it’s essential to your success that you upload high-resolution videos, encoded at resolutions from 240p: 426×240 to 1080p: 1920×1080.

Second, brands must remember that video thumbnails act as a preview of the video content, and choosing clear, appealing thumbnails is vital for a effective YouTube marketing.

6. Use keywords

Be sure to optimize your video titles and descriptions. Video titles should contain 70 characters or fewer (including spaces), and the first 160 characters (about the first two sentences) of content should be optimized with your best keywords. This ensures those targeted phrases shows up “above the fold” in search results.

Don’t be afraid to add hashtags. Just like you’d treat your tweets to make them easily searchable, remember to tag your videos with keywords and phrases.

7. Share strategically to drive traffic back to your site

One of the main reasons brands use social marketing is to drive traffic back to their main websites. On text-based networks, it’s pretty straightforward – share URLs that link back to your home or landing pages.

To make video marketing effective, brands must share their content.

But where can you share URLs on YouTube? There are two places:

1. Video descriptions

Under your channel settings default section, create a description that includes your main URLs (i.e Brafton’s includes links to Brafton.com, our blog and Brafton’s social networks) and call-to-action buttons When posting videos, treat your first 160 characters like a Tweet, with a keyword-rich sentence about the content and include a shortened link to the relevant blog post.

2. Video annotations

You can also feature links within videos. Include strategically timed annotations that direct your viewers to external sites where they can find more information about topics that interest them. But keep this to a minimum and make sure it’s super relevant. If it seems as all spammy, you risk losing viewers.

Stop delaying, your video strategy is almost there

As you can see, your YouTube strategy is already in the works, so there’s no excuse to put it off. Remember that just like any of the other social network, every industry and brand audience is different, and prospects will have varying expectations. It’s crucial that you use content analytics and social listening to guide your strategy based on audience response and revise accordingly.

Joanna is a social media strategist in Brafton's San Francisco office. She is a 2012 Boston College graduate, who appreciates the beauty of both coasts. During downtime, she is an avid city explorer and a Yelp fanatic.