8 Simple Ways to Build & Grow Your YouTube Audience [Creator's Tip #63]

8 Simple Ways to Build & Grow Your YouTube Audience [Creators Tip #63]

Online video creators thrive when spending time developing new content ideas to entertain and grow their audiences.  After all, being creative is what drives creative people.  However, to be 'reel' successful, it's just as important for creators to focus their time and energy on building and engaging with their community/audience. On this week's Creator's Tip video, Tim talks about some simple and creative ways that you can engage with your audience and turn viewers into a loyal community of followers and ambassadors.

How to Develop and Grow Your Online Video Audience

According to a recent article on All Things D, Robert Kyncl, YouTube's Head of Content, those channels that are ultimately succeeding are those that spend equal time creating content and developing their audience.

Audience development is equally as important as great content. By creating fantastic content and spending zero time on audience development, you are certain that you will not succeed on YouTube. You have to focus on audience development as much as you focus on creating content.

Collaboration

Working together with other channels and cross-pollinating audiences is important.  It helps keep your content fresh and new and allows you to introduce your audience to new people.  This is something that is often overlooked.  While many creators know it is important, collaboration often falls to the bottom of the priority list when there are other things competing for time.  It does take a lot more time and energy to do collaborations, but they are really important.

Audience Inclusion

To build a loyal, engaged audience you cannot view or refer to them as an audience, but rather as part of your community.  Inclusion plays a massive role in developing and growing an audience today on YouTube. One way to do this is by having a name for your audience to make them feel more included.  However, sometimes that backfires.  Some people who would rather not feel like they have a pet name that someone’s just giving them.  It kind of depends on your personality and type of content you’re doing, but that can work very well for some people.

Engage Outside of YouTube

Also, engaging outside of YouTube on Facebook allows for a much more personal connection with your community.  There, you can interact on a level playing field.

Consider Personality vs. Brand

Commenting and posting as a person and not as your brand is also a key to making your viewers feel connected.  People really do want to interact with us on a human level, on a more personal basis.If you are a brand and you are interacting and engaging with a community that surrounds your content as a company, instead of using your brand’s logo for all of your profile images and pictures and stuff, you might want to use your face.  Put your company’s logo in the bottom corner of that image instead.  This way people feel like they’re still talking to a person.

Solicit Ideas, Encourage Ownership

Ask viewers to leave you suggestions for tutorials they would like to see on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and then actually do them.  Ask them to give you feedback and help them kind of shape what content you make and what happens going forward.  Do whatever you can to make them feel like they have some ownership in this channel, and that it’s not just a one way thing for you to them.  They feel they have a stake in it, too. 

Try to ask questions and do that in pretty much every video to prime the pump and just get ideas moving.

Meet your Audience in the Real World

Attend YouTube meet ups, YouTube gatherings, or even host some yourself.  These are all great ways you can start to engage person to person, face to face, with other creators, and other people’s communities.  You can really start to involve yourself in other people’s lives in a human connection way that you really can’t do on YouTube.  This is valuable in just the relationships and the networking and everything that happens here on YouTube.

Host a Live Google Hangout

Do a live stream hangout with some of your audience.  Invite them at a certain time to come join you on your Google + profile or live on your YouTube channel where they can hang out.  You can answer questions, talk with them, do some fun games together, or some contests.  Show them around your studio, your space, or do whatever you want.  Just do something fun in a live hang out environment.  People really like engaging and connecting with people on a personal, live basis.  There’s a different dynamic that happens when you’re doing a live video stream as opposed to just uploading a video here on YouTube, commenting, and stuff like that.  It’s very different.  It’s very personable.

Thank Your Ambassadors

This is very important.  Whenever someone shares your content—that is the biggest check mark of credibility that they can give.  That is the highest level of engagement that you can have surrounding your content.  They are basically saying, “Hey, this is valuable to me, and this is valuable to everyone else who follows me.  I’m going to share it with them.”  Just take a second and say, “Thank you for sharing that.  I’ve seen that.  I value you.”  That can start building relationships with your audience and the people who are sharing your content feel like they’re developing more of a relationship with you.  They feel appreciated and respected.

QUESTION:  What ways do you engage with your audience to make them feel like part of your community?


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View The Full Video Transcript:

On this week’s Creator’s Tip, let’s talk about audience development here on YouTube, including the comments and ideas that you guys have left for us about how you develop your audience on your YouTube channel. That’s coming up.

Hey, guys! My name is Tim Schmoyer, and welcome to another week of Creator’s Tip, where every week we just help you guys who are making online video content know how to make that stuff do the best it can on the web. And today we want to talk about audience development. This came to mind for me recently as I was reading an article in All Things D with Robert Kyncl, I think is how you say his name. He’s one of the guys who oversees like the $100 million investments that YouTube is making into channels and premium content and all that stuff just for YouTube. And Peter Kafka asked him what have you been learning through this $100 million investment and the next one that’s coming up. And he said two things that were interesting. One is he said that they’ve learned that audience development is just as important as content. And I think a lot of us as creators, we focus a lot on developing content, and we don’t really focus as much on the audience development side. And from what he was saying in the article, and it’s linked up below if you want to read the whole thing, he was saying that that is just as important as the content that we create. So it feels like it should be a 50/50 thing, that half your time goes to you content, half your time, your energy, your effort goes into audience development. We want to talk about that as well.

The second thing they said they learned is that collaboration is definitely a big deal, working together with other channels, cross pollenating audiences. And he said that also helps keep your content fresh and new. You’re introducing your audience to new people, and he said that has worked very well for them. And I think that’s something that’s also overlooked. And I think we all kind of know that’s important, but collaboration, at least for me, I’ll be honest, kind of falls to the bottom of that priority list when I’ve got other things that are competing for my time because it does take a lot more time and energy to do collaborations. But I think that they are really important, so hopefully they’ll start doing more of those.

On last Tuesday’s video, I asked some of you guys to share in the comments how you develop your audience and what tips, ideas, and suggestions that you have. And here’s what some of you guys said, starting with samtimenews. He says this. “I think inclusion plays a massive role in developing and growing an audience today on YouTube. A really smart and fun way to do this is to have a name for your viewers, like Tobuscus's 'Audience' or PewDiePie's 'Bro Army' (or my channel's FUNKY ARMY!!!). People get a sense that they're joining a big, fun community and are more loyal to your show. And everything is just more fun that way!” Yeah, having a name for your audience is definitely a way that you can make them feel more included. Sometimes that backfires. Like, I know some people who would rather not feel like they have a pet name that someone’s just giving them, so I think it kind of depends on your personality and type of content you’re doing. But that can work very well for some people.

“I believe that to build a loyal, engaged audience you cannot view or refer to them as an audience, but rather as part of your community. Also, engaging outside of YouTube on Facebook allows for a much more personal connection between your community where you can interact on a level playing field. Commenting and posting as a person and not as your brand is also key to making your viewers feel connected.” I really like that last part about talking to your fans as a person and not as a brand. I know a lot of times we want to feel like we’re bigger as creators than we really are, so maybe we have special Twitter accounts or profile pages or whatever, specifically just for our content, but I think people really do want to interact with us on a human level, on a more personal basis. Now if you are a brand and you are interacting and engaging with a community that surrounds your content as a company, I would consider maybe instead of using your brand’s logo for all of your profile images and pictures and stuff, instead maybe use your face and put your company’s logo or something in the bottom corner of that image instead, so people feel like they’re still talking to a person and they know who they’re responding to, but they also know that this person represents the organization.

“I strongly believe genuinely connecting with your viewers through comments and social media devices is the best way for a small channel to grow a real community. I actively ask my viewers to leave me suggestions for hair tutorials they would like to see on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and then actually do those looks and give a shout out to the person who suggested the look. When I do sewing looks the pattern is selected by my viewers!” That’s another really great idea for developing your audiences. Ask them to give you feedback and help them kind of shape what content you make and what happens going forward. Do whatever you can to make them feel like they have some ownership in this channel and that it’s not just like a one way thing for you to them, but they also have a stake in this, too.

Another couple of ideas that I have is one, ask questions. I try to do that in pretty much every video here at Reel SEO, just to kind of prime the pump and just get ideas moving. Another thing you can do is attend YouTube meet ups, YouTube gatherings, or even host some yourself where you can start to engage person to person, face to face, with other creators, other people’s communities, that you can really start to involve yourself in other people’s lives in a human connection way that you really can’t do here on YouTube. I have found personally, for me, that goes far. That is so valuable in just the relationships and the networking, everything that happens here on YouTube, so I highly recommend you do that as well.

Third thing that you can do is host a Google hang out on air. Do a live stream hangout with some of your audience. Invite them at a certain time to come join you on your Google + profile or live on your YouTube channel where they can hang out. You can answer questions, talk with them, maybe do some fun games together, some contests. Show them around your studio, your space, or do whatever you want. But just do something fun in a live hang out environment. People really, really, really like engaging in connecting with people on a personal, live basis. I can’t really explain it. I’ve done several of them myself, and I can just tell you that there’s a different dynamic that happens when you’re doing a live video stream as opposed to just uploading a video here on YouTube and commenting, stuff like that. It’s very different. It’s very personable. Definitely do that if you haven’t done that.

And fourth, and I think this is very important, is that whenever someone shares your content either on Facebook or Twitter or whatever it is, make sure you thank them for that. Personally, I think whenever someone shares our content, that is the biggest check mark of credibility that they can give. That is the highest level of engagement that you can have surrounding your content. And they are basically saying, hey, this is valuable to me, and this is valuable to everyone else who follows me. I’m going to share it with them. Just take a second and say, hey, thank you for sharing that. I’ve seen that. I value you. I mean, don’t say it like that, but just let them know that you were watching and that you really are grateful. I think that can start building relationships with your audience and that the people who are sharing your content feel like they’re developing more of a relationship with you. They feel, what’s the word I’m looking for, appreciated and respected. So definitely thank people. And for all you guys who have shared, liked, commented on our videos, thank you very much. I really do appreciate that. Because what I like about YouTube best is this interaction, this dialog that we get to have where it’s not like television where it’s a one way. This is something that we can talk about together.

And speaking of dialog in our interaction, I would love to hear from you guys. Please comment below or video responses would be awesome. I’m actually really waiting for someone to start doing video responses so I can feature those in our upcoming videos rather than screen shots of comments. Video responses would be great, too. And I want to hear from you guys about ideas that you have or how you develop your audience around your content, build community around your videos. Share all your ideas and also go look at other people’s comments and just kind of share and learn and grow together. That’s what this is all about. It would be awesome, guys. So thanks for hanging out with us. Make sure you go to ReelSEO.com. We are constantly publishing really good, helpful stuff for you guys there all throughout the week. And if this is your first time hanging out, we’d love to have you subscribe as well. You see below us. That’s above or below depending on where you're watching this. So just click it and thanks for joining us, guys. And we will see you again next Tuesday for the Reel Web video. See you then. Bye.

About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

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