Nowadays, social media has become an indispensable part of our lives. From entertainment, communication, and even marketing, social media platforms are powerful tools. While we have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, one thing we’re often asked is this: is YouTube a social media platform?
Currently, there are over 2.1 billion YouTube users each month. This level of engagement puts a lot of weight on the question above. Also, the answer to it will help business owners and marketing agencies how they will approach YouTube in terms of social media design.
In this blog post, we will explore YouTube and how it compares with other social media platforms. Read on to learn more!
What is Social Media?
To determine whether YouTube can be considered a social media platform, we have to define ‘social media’ first.
In general, social media is an online platform that enables its users to create and share content. Also, it allows users to engage and interact through various social networking features.
Overall, we can consider a website or platform a ‘social media’ tool if it fosters communication, community-building, and collaboration.
But then, this is still an umbrella definition of social media. So to know what makes a social media platform, we listed a few qualifications here:
- User-generated content. Social media platforms must have content made by and for their users. It can be in the form of text, images, videos, and other forms of media. After all, user-generated content will pave the way for other characteristics on this list.
- Interactivity. The main reason why social media platforms are called as such is due to their ability to host interactions. Some good examples are likes, comments, shares, and messaging. Overall, these features put the ‘social’ in social media.
- Networking. Aside from interacting with other users, social media also allows networking. This means users can establish a circle with their friends, families, and colleagues. The best part is it allows them to meet new people from anywhere in the world.
- Virality. Another thing that makes social media unique is its ability to make content posted on it viral. Virality refers to the level by which the public or users generate interest in certain posts or topics online.
Is YouTube social media or not?
Now, let’s address the million-dollar question, is YouTube considered social media? Well, the answer to this is not a simple yes or no.
Overall, we can say that YouTube is an example of social media. It shares many features of popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Nonetheless, YouTube also has distinct features that set it apart from other platforms.
To help you understand better how YouTube works as a social media platform, we’ve compared it against the social media characteristic we discussed earlier.
Reasons why YouTube can be considered a social media platform:
- Content made by and for the users. As the most popular and biggest video-sharing platform, YouTube is a hub for aspiring content creators. It allows individuals and businesses to create and upload their own videos for free. In fact, over 3.7 million new videos are uploaded to YouTube each day.
- Promoting interaction. On YouTube videos, your viewers can engage through likes and comments. Also, they have the option to share your content or subscribe to your channel. Overall, all these features promote interaction and community-building among your users on a large scale.
- Building a digital network. While YouTube is very different from other social media platforms we’re using, it’s still a great place for networking. Content creators like you as well as your viewers can communicate with each other.
- Virality is the trend. YouTube is where viral videos are born. Your YouTube video has the chance to go viral, thanks to the millions of viewers who can find it online. Also, your viewers can share your YouTube easily on other social media platforms.
Why YouTube is not like traditional social media platforms:
So is YouTube a social media platform? Yes, but it’s not the same as the traditional platforms we know. Here are some of the distinct characteristics of YouTube that make it unique from other social media sites:
- Focus on video content. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, YouTube primarily hosts video content. While it also has text and images, the main point of interaction is through the videos.
- Limited personal profiles. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, YouTube does not really put much weight on the profile of the user. The main focus of this platform is the video content on the channel.
- Search-driven platform. YouTube works as a search engine for video content. Users actively search for specific topics or interests rather than doom-scrolling through a feed of content. While YouTube also has a feed that reflects the user’s search behavior, most people who go on YouTube look for specific channels or videos.
How is YouTube Different from Other Social Media Websites
YouTube’s unique format makes it stand out from other social media platforms. Below, we discussed more differences between this video-sharing platform from other social media sites.
- Content format. As we’ve mentioned earlier, YouTube’s primary focus is on video content. Meanwhile, other social media platforms support various content formats. You can post text, images, and videos to your heart’s content.
- Discoverability. Traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to discover new content by simply scrolling through their home feeds. Meanwhile, YouTube relies more on manual searches for discoverability. Many videos are discovered when users enter a topic or search query.
- Long-form content. YouTube is one of the first platforms to host long-form content. Unlike Facebook and TikTok which are more focused on short-form and easily digestible videos, YouTube is the perfect place for live streams and hours of comprehensive content.
- Entertainment and education. While YouTube also has fun and light content, it also allows for educational content. It allows students to watch educational videos and teachers to upload them with ease and convenience. In fact, you can easily find a series of educational content on almost every topic you can think of.
- Advertising options. With YouTube, you can choose from various advertising options like pre-roll ads and sponsored videos. While other social media advertising is also available on other platforms, they do so differently from YouTube.
The YouTube platform as a Search Engine
YouTube has approximately 2 billion logged-in users. In fact, it’s the second-largest search engine next to Google, which is also its parent company.
As a search engine, YouTube offers a range of opportunities for your business. You can harness its power to target your customers, especially if their demographics belong to heavy consumers of video content.
Overall, the massive user base, free access, and extensive targeting make YouTube a very powerful tool for marketing. Here’s how our team can make it work for your business as part of our social media services:
- Enhanced visibility. For each video content, we optimize relevant keywords and tags. This way, we can increase your business’s chances of appearing in YouTube search results, which will boost your visibility and reach.
- Targeted audience. As a search engine, YouTube allows us to target specific keywords and topics for your business. We also ensure that we optimize based on your target audience’s interests and demographics.
- Higher engagement. Since humans are visual beings, it’s been proven that video content tends to have higher engagement rates compared to other forms of media. With this, we leverage YouTube’s search engine capabilities through our custom video production service. We can produce engaging videos that resonate with your target audience and will encourage interaction.
Why you should consider YouTube social media marketing
Regardless if you consider YouTube as a social media platform or not, it’s undeniable that this platform is indispensable for marketing. Here are possible benefits for your business:
1. Reach a Massive Audience
As mentioned earlier, YouTube has over 2 billion+ monthly users. This means your business has the chance to reach a massive audience and drive more sales if you use it to further your brand’s reach and visibility.
Whether you’re aiming for a local market or targeting an international audience, YouTube would be a great place for your business.
2. Leverage YouTube advertising
YouTube has a range of advertising options that you can use for your business. This allows you to reach your customers while they watch various video content.
Aside from that, YouTube advertising drives brand awareness, lead generation, and conversions.
3. Keep your target market engaged
There’s nothing more effective in keeping your audience engaged than using visual content like YouTube videos. You can produce videos that align with your brand, service, or product, which your audience will find useful.
It can be a guide on how to use your product, how your service works, answers to common problems related to your industry, and so on. There are so many possibilities here that you can try.
4. Maximize data and analytics
Like most social media platforms we’ve been using, YouTube also offers robust analytics. It will let you know more about your audience’s search behavior, demographics, total watch time, and so on.
All these insights will help you design more effective marketing strategies in the future. This way, you can produce more engaging videos that appeal to your audience.
Does YouTube count as social media? It does in various ways. But regardless if it’s a social media platform or not, it’s undeniable that YouTube remains a powerful tool for marketing.
It will let your business reach a wider audience, establish your brand, and drive conversions to your company. With YouTube marketing, you can open more possibilities for your business that other companies are not yet using.
If you don’t have the time and resources for this, Top Position is here to help. Our team of specialists can bring your business’ YouTube presence to life with a strategy tailored to your needs. Contact us and our marketing specialist will discuss it with you.