A woman, framed by a ring light in the foreground, holds up a hand-painted ceramic mug in front of a smartphone on a tripod. The woman has short gray hair and wears round glasses, a tan turtleneck, and a navy blue apron. A work table stands between the woman and the smartphone and ring light, and the wall behind her is covered with rows of shelves packed with handmade mugs, bowls, teapots, plates, and statues.
YouTube offers plenty of free tools to enhance your videos, track your analytics, and customize your channel. — Getty Images/Kmatta

YouTube can be a great channel for attracting customers to your business—with the right strategy. YouTube is packed full of features that can help you increase views, boost engagement, and improve your conversion rate. YouTube Studio is the dashboard that tracks analytics and provides insight into your YouTube strategy. Head there to find many of the YouTube features that can help you achieve your marketing goals.

View your analytics in your Channel Dashboard

Your Channel Dashboard offers insight into the performance of your videos and your YouTube channel. Start here to learn which of your videos are resonating with viewers. You can also learn about any new upgrades YouTube makes to its platform, as well as figure out what topics are trending to create content that’s relevant to platform users.

[Read more: 6 Tips for a Killer Small Business YouTube Strategy]

Host a live event with YouTube Live features

Many customers are comfortable attending events online. YouTube is packed full of live features that can make it easy to host a digital or hybrid event. Live video has a dedicated feed on YouTube where users can browse recent and featured streams. You’ll have to verify your channel before hosting a YouTube live, but once you do that, you can also set up a live chat to go along with your event.

“The chat window during a live video builds engagement and community in real-time,” wrote Sprout Social. Plus, moderation tools help you manage the live chat to make sure every user is behaving appropriately during your event.

Make your videos look good (for free!) with YouTube’s video editor

There are simple ways to make your video look good in YouTube’s platform-native video editor. This tool makes it easy to trim your videos, even after they’re posted; plus, the Audio Library offers tons of copyright-free music to add to your content. Consider adding “cards” that point your audience back to your channel, website, or prompt them to engage with a poll or donation link. These cards are an easy way to boost engagement and move traffic to your website.

[Read more: How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel]

The chat window during a live video builds engagement and community in real-time.

Carly Hill, Sprout Social

Add closed captions so viewers can watch without sound

Closed captions, or subtitles, are good for accessibility and for social media since they benefit anyone who wants to watch your content with the sound off. Plus, adding subtitles can boost your SEO.

“YouTube and Google both index the subtitles and closed captioning text. This will help give search engines even more context about your video apart from keywords in your video title, description and tags,” wrote Sprout Social.

To add closed captions to your videos, click on the Subtitles tab in YouTube Studio. From there, you can select videos to get automatically generated subtitles that you can then edit for accuracy. YouTube enables a wide range of languages you can choose from.

Add links to your video description to drive traffic

Unlike many other social networks, YouTube offers the ability to include links in your video descriptions. Links can drive traffic to product pages that you mention in your video, or to a blog site where you share even more content. You could also try affiliate marketing, and include links to sponsored products. This strategy also helps optimize your channel for search engine results.

Customize your channel page for easy navigation

When you first set up your channel, YouTube will categorize videos automatically under four categories: Short videos, Uploads, Created playlists, and Subscriptions that you've made public. However, you can customize your channel layout to change these categories and add up to twelve in total. Tailor your channel to encourage viewers to engage with all sorts of content and find the information they need. You might include one section of videos from live events, one for how-to videos, one for user reviews, etc. Organizing your content with keywords can also help increase your discoverability.

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