By Katarzyna Pawelczyk, Digital Youth Engagement & Communication Specialist, Division of Communication

Think of the last video you watched on YouTube – was it a new music video from your favourite band? A baby pandarolling on the floor? Or perhaps it was the latest episode from one of your favourite YouTube stars like Lilly Singh or PewDiePie?

Everyday, people all around the world watch around 1 billion hours worth of videos on YouTube. That’s a lot of views!  And while a lot of those videos may be dedicated to the latest internet trend, there thousands of creators around the world who are using these platforms to empower, to educate, and even to raise funds for causes they care about.

So how can we harness this?

By making videos that resonate with YouTube’s audiences.
In the past many organisations have looked at YouTube simply as a repository for all the videos they produce; however this approach doesn’t tap into the potential of the platform. Some of the most popular YouTube channels have hundreds of thousands of subscribers who rush to watch the latest video from their favourite YouTube personality.
But that doesn’t happen overnight. Successful engagement through YouTube depends on a few key factors, including:

  • Share-ability: This may sound obvious but make videos that people want to share with their friends as this will help you grow over time. Ask yourself, why would someone want to share your video? Is it about a topic that’s really popular? Does it evoke strong emotions? Will they learn something new from it?
  • Interactivity: How does your video or your show involve the audience? Can they suggest ideas for future show topics? Ask questions? Vote on a result? Having an interactive element helps viewers feel more connected – like they are creating the videos with you.
  • Consistency: While a lot of what you see online may seem like it was spontaneous, if you really want to use a YouTube channel or show as a way to engage people, you must be consistent. Figure out a format and try to stick to it as much as possible. This doesn’t mean that you can’t mix it up, but having a consistent personality or voice, as well as a schedule for when you post, will really help you build a relationship with your audience.

Start thinking about how you could produce videos that are designed for YouTube and its young mobile-first user base, instead of making videos that are intended for other platforms and then end up stored on YouTube. Check out YouTube’s 10 fundamentals.

By working with the best

The YouTube community has some of the most amazing creative talents, who have amassed millions of fans who love what they do, and who trust their opinions and ideas.

By collaborating with some of these creators we can reach vast new audiences who might not know much about our work. But doing this requires us to work a little differently to what we’re used. The success of these collaborations depends on allowing YouTubers to have enough creative freedom to develop videos that are authentic to their brand and voice. This means we need to develop these relationships over time and help them to understand what our values and objectives are. Showing up with a ready-made product and asking them to share it, simply won’t cut it.

Strong collaborations depend on:

  • Thorough research to find the right people to work with
  • Clear plans for cross-promotion (this is not a one-way street)
  • The right ideas for videos that work for you and the creator

Imagine being able to capture even a fraction of that billion hours watched each day – imagine the impact this could have on our work for children!


UNICEF’S Global Innovation Meeting held in Amman, Jordan from 16 -18th of May 2017 brings together UNICEF colleagues, representatives, and private-sector partners to discuss the global trends shaping children’s lives, understand the skills that children will need for the future, and discuss how UNICEF needs to respond.
Find out more: https://globalinnovationmeeting.splashthat.com/

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