By Nic DeAngelo, President of Saint Investment Group, a real estate fund platform. 

YouTube, a place once reserved for music videos and silly comedy sketches, is now a mecca for education and community building. What used to require trips to a lecture hall or conference center can now be accomplished online with relative ease. If you want to learn to play the guitar or become a graphic-design whiz, there are hundreds of thousands of online sources that will teach you how. Professors, CEOs and self-taught experts are taking to the Tube to help others succeed in their given fields. 

Simply put, YouTube is the perfect educational resource to grow your business. First off, it's free to use. Because users don't have to pay to watch (unless they want to subscribe for an ad-free account), YouTube is a cost-effective platform. It provides hours of content on every topic at no charge to the viewer.

Second, there are videos on practically every topic. As entrepreneurs, we need to constantly learn and keep up with the newest trends, techniques and strategies. Want to learn how to find leads, analyze deals or market your investment firm? YouTube has videos covering it all.

Plus, it's social. YouTube offers a great way to interact with industry experts, influencers and your peers. Ask questions, answer questions and peruse the comment section for insight. As with any social media site, you're bound to come across others with different views. Keep the comment section constructive, not combative. 

It might take some digging to find the exact topic you're looking for from the most qualified source. If you don't quite know where to start, looking for the categories below can provide great content curated for a wide range of interests, investment theses and education levels.

1. Start by assessing your background and goals.

The beauty of YouTube is that it provides viewers with endless content options. However, it is important to keep in mind your personal goals and background. For example, while hearing someone whose an expert in residential real estate discuss their keys to success could be interesting, it's not necessarily the best person to follow if you're looking to get more into the commercial side of the business. This is why taking some time on the front end to look into their background and specializations is important. 

2. Find channels that correspond with your industry's respective forums.

Using the same real estate example, there are a plethora of popular internet forums and websites that now have YouTube channels. Through their channels, they bring together real estate experts, newcomers and everyone in between to make better investing decisions. Beginners, in particular, will find these types of channels especially appealing, as they provide more general advice on analyzing and financing with some real success stories mixed in for motivation. Similarly, try to find your industry's community to reap these benefits.

3. Follow specific thought leaders.

While there are many YouTube channels, a key quality to look for is whether or not the person at the center is a reputable thought leader in the space. Looking at their background, company, publications, social media, etc. are all good places to start.

Typically, thought leaders have large followings in other areas as well and their YouTube channel is where they can go to expand on points or go more in-depth on topics of interest. There are many thought leaders like this when it comes to the real estate industry whose channels help real estate investors with marketing and lead generation, while also giving great mindset tips to keep the fire stoked.