Huge amounts of views, likes, and comments on an individual video is a wonderful thing, and a great ego boost for any creator. But we've lost count of the number of channels who have been active for years, and whose view count vastly outnumbers their subscriber count. Why is that an issue? Well, if you are a brand or a creator using video as a marketing tool then, as with any other medium, you need to build a loyal fan base. Anyone can watch your video, but not everyone will have the inclination to subscribe so they can engage further with your brand. And, YouTube confirms that subscribers tend to watch twice as much video compared to users who don’t subscribe. What more incentive could there be? Of course, you could strike lucky and attract hundreds of thousands of subscribers on the back of one great video, but getting back to the real world, here are 11 ways that you can generate more lovers of your channel.
#1 Use Annotations to Drive Subscriber Sign-Up
If you want more subscribers then you need to ask for them! Believe it or not, not every viewer that likes your content will think to subscribe to your channel. They may bookmark you, or link to you in their blog or social feeds. They may even visit your channel everyday, but they won't always commit to subscribing, so prompt them by adding a strong call-to-action annotation to your video. At ReelSEO, we usually add this towards the end of our videos, often in the end-slate, but use your analytics data to determine the best spot for you.
#2 Create a YouTube Channel Trailer
In March 2013, YouTube introduced a fantastic marketing tool for creators in the form of a 'Channel' or 'Subscribe' trailer. This clip can be uploaded to the home page of your channel, and will auto-play if a non-subscriber arrives on that landing page. It stops auto-playing if the viewer subscribes (or turns it off every time). This feature is the PERFECT opportunity for you to introduce your brand and content to the viewer so why not create one today.
#3 Get Active on Social Media
YouTube isn't an island (as a famous poet once didn't say), and you won't give yourself a chance to build your subscriber base if you don't venture outside its walls. There are a couple of ways to do this. Firstly, make sure that your social networks are linked to your YouTube channel so that your fan base can follow you wherever you may be active. Sounds obvious, but we are still seeing a lack of a cohesive strategy when it comes to social video marketing. You can assume that your followers, and potential followers will take the time to find your presence on the internet, or you can make it easy for them, and provide links.
Assuming that you are taking the time to be active on social media, posting links to your new, or most popular, video content should be second nature. This notifies your followers, and gives them the opportunity to like, share, retweet, revine, your video, meaning you will reach more people. Result!
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— thefinebros (@thefinebros) May 25, 2014
#4 Follow a Consistent Posting Schedule
If your viewers know that you will post a video around the same time every day, or every week, or every two weeks, if they want to watch then they will tune in. The more they do this, the more likely they are to commit to your channel. So, decide if this is viable, and if it is then let your viewers know – and stick to the schedule!
#5 Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate!
Collaborating with other YouTube creators is a brilliant way to double your audience and reach new potential subscribers. You don't have to be as big as iJustine and Shane for this to work. Look for other creators in your vertical, and reach out to them to see whether they'd be willing to team up on a video project. Don't forget to cross-promote each other via your channels, and social media networks.
#6 Reach Out to Your Top Fans
Via the Video Manager Dashboard, YouTube can show you which followers are interacting the most with you, and your channel. With this information at your fingertips, you can reach out to them and ask them to promote you across their social networks, including Google+ of course. Don't forget to do the same back for them.
#7 Optimize So You Can Be Found For Keyword Searches
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (remember them kids?), optimizing your video content to get found in search, means that you'll get found in search. If a user wants the best apple pie recipe ever, then that is the key phrase they will probably use to find the most relevant video. If you truly believe that you have the best apple pie recipe ever, then tell YouTube via your title, description, tags etc. A great search result = great video = more subscribers.
#8 Engage With Your Viewers and Current Subscribers
If you want to grow your subscriber base, you cannot just upload a video, and then walk away from it. If it's any good (or indeed any bad) then viewers are going to want to comment on it. This is an ideal chance to respond to, and interact with those viewers and turn them into subscribers.
#9 Create Playlists
Playlists give creators the opportunity to appear twice in the YouTube search results. We're not talking about curating every video Rhianna has ever appeared in, but creating a playlist that is relevant to your brand or vertical. These can be playlists that are comprised of your own content, or you can add other videos from other channels.
The same optimization rules apply, but if you get a decent search placing for your playlist, and it proves useful and relevant for users, you will attract subscribers that way.
#10 Add a YouTube Widget to Your Blog
If you have a website or a blog, and you also have a YouTube channel, then why not guide users of your site to subscribe by adding a handy widget – just like we did.
#11 Give Viewers a Reason to Subscribe
This is the one area we can't really help you with. Only you know what makes your channel, and your content unique. Only you know what your passion is, and how to convey that to your viewers. Find the right combination of professionalism, uniqueness, consistency, and gap in the market, and let the world know what you have to offer.
Further YouTube Subscriber Resources
- 10 Tips On Getting Your First 1000 YouTube Subscribers
- How To Post A Website Link To Your YouTube Subscribers
- How YouTube Subscribers Can Set Up E-Mail Notifications for Your Channel
- Why There Is Only One YouTube Metric You Need To Optimize
- How To Create a Custom YouTube Subscription Email List
- YouTube’s ‘Subscribe’ Trailer: An Intriguing Part of the New Channel Design
- Tips for your Channel Trailer and Header Image
- How To Keep Top Fans in Sync with Google+