The latest controversy brewing in the world of social media surrounds new changes to Google’s Content ID system – changes that are wreaking havoc for some of the most prolific YouTube content creators. While video views are still considered to be a gold standard of success, commenting on videos has become an integral measure of achievement and a way to collect diverse thoughts and opinions. Now – in a recent turn of events – Google has fully integrated its social media commenting system on YouTube, which forces users to comment on videos using their Google Plus accounts. This means that prior anonymous users may feel alienated and may likely avoid commenting at all. According to a recent debate.org survey, 98 percent say that Google has ruined YouTube. And while this may be the sentiment, the real question is: how will you pivot your content strategy?
In an effort to drive up numbers on its own social media network elicit high-quality feedback, Google wants you to stay within its social media ecosystem – a system that, in its current form, may not be as suitable for YouTube content creators. Why? Well, for starters, Google Plus allows unlimited characters, which means you can currently post an entire book as a YouTube comment. Secondly, it allows links which open the doors for YouTube users to be inundated with virus attacks. Finally, the new integration puts the most-viewed comments at the top of your comment list. This means that if a person calls you a blithering idiot and enough people reply to it, it will rest above all of your other comments, even the most recent ones.
While Google is working on addressing these issues, the end result remains unclear. A growing Change.org petition has reached over 225,000 signatures – a small number compared to YouTube’s 1 billion visitors each month. Regardless of how this plays out, here are some things you can do to your advantage:
Encourage Employee Engagement.
Engaging your employees, whether it’s 5 or 5,000, can have a positive social media impact – particularly under the new YouTube rules. The Google requirement to reveal your identity can actually lead to increased brand exposure. In fact, companies can take this a step further by encouraging employees to include company profiles on their Google Plus accounts. As they respond and comment thoughtfully on other high-volume channels, they can increase web traffic.
Develop Social Media Training.
Back in the old days, when you thought of media training, you immediately conjured up microphones, video cameras and a reporter in your face with a hand recorder. And while traditional media training is important, social media training is imperative – particularly for employees who engage in it every day. Topics like unified messaging, tone, crisis communications and video choice, are critical for ongoing social media lunch and learns.
Launch a Transparency Campaign.
Transparency campaigns today are generally bilateral in content but unilateral in identity. In other words, the company and the consumers tell it like it is – no holds barred. But, we often don’t know who we’re talking to. And while unanimous comments are important for generating dialogue, it’s often the revealed identity who offers the most thoughtful and pragmatic response. Although this is not true across the board, it was compelling enough to cause the HuffingtonPost.com and others to ban unanimous commenting online. A true transparency campaign will reveal the user, the company representative and the issues at hand.