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YouTube Best Practices

YouTube is the recommended social media platform for video. YouTube is a part of Google, and users benefit from the search engine optimization of the platform.

Audiences and Content

In University Communications’ experience, YouTube is particularly effective for reaching prospective student audiences. Content that we’ve found to be most engaging includes videos that share brand personality and highlight different causes. Audience members tend to engage through watching and collaborating on content.

Help and Support

The YouTube Help Channel ( and Help Center are robust resources for questions regarding the use of the platform. Visit these as a first step in learning about the platform and for troubleshooting any issues.

How should I use YouTube at MSU?

YouTube is part of the Google account universe, so if you have a Google or Gmail account, you may just need to activate YouTube in your Google account settings. New YouTube accounts can be set up with just an email address.

Visit the Getting Started on YouTube section of the YouTube Help Center for general information on creating and using a YouTube account.

Anyone can log in to the YouTube account using the associated email address or the account username, and the account password.
You do not have to have a YouTube account to watch others' videos on YouTube, but having an account gives you additional capabilities within the platform. Account holders are able to comment on, rate, and share videos that other users have posted. Users can also create their own curated playlists of videos available on YouTube. This means that a user may have a YouTube channel without actually creating and uploading any of their own videos.
If you create videos for your unit, YouTube is a great place to upload them for public consumption. Users can view the video, rate, and share it within YouTube. The videos can also be embedded into websites, helping to save you web-hosting server space and to increase your page load speeds.

There are many ways that you can customize your audience members' experience when they visit your channel, through tabs, playlists, featured videos, and more. YouTube provides several tools to help you create quality content. See the Create Videos & Manage Your Channel section of the YouTube Help Center for more information.

When creating a new YouTube channel, you may choose to refer to the following checklist:

  • Assign a primary channel admin and at least one backup channel admin.
  • Upload an appropriately sized cover and profile image.
  • Be sure to fully complete the channel setup, including the about section, structure (tabs, playlists), contact information, etc.
  • Promote your channel internally to build the number of subscribers.
  • Develop a schedule for regularly posting content (if applicable).
  • Promote the URL for your channel widely (on your website, on print pieces, on other social media accounts, etc.).

As you manage your channel, you may choose to refer to the following checklist:

  • Post regularly with content relevant to your audience.
  • Be sure that your cover images are updated periodically so that they remain seasonally appropriate, if using photographs. (i.e. Don’t feature summer
  • flowers in December.)
  • Update your channel access as staff assignments change. Only MSU employees should have access to administer the channel.
  • Be sure to optimize your videos for the YouTube search engine by completely filling out the metadata fields when uploading videos.
  • Include closed captioning for all videos.
  • Refer to analytics for your channel for video performance data.

Additional Resources

Below are links to relevant resources shared at Social @ Michigan State events. See the meetings and workshops lists on the Campus Community page for additional information regarding these events.