Growing A Following On YouTube
In the world of social networks (according to Alexa), YouTube is number two online, while Facebook has the top spot. Linked In, Twitter and Pinterest are barely in the game at all. (Google+ isn’t included in these ranking as the results are inflated because it gets ranked in the Google engine statistics well…in other words, they kind of cheat! )
Other social networks such as Pinterest and Facebook have mainly female users, so it’s a good strategy to target the male part of the population when using YouTube to get traffic to your websites and your YouTube channel. However because YouTube is number two, you really should focus on both genders as this is going to increase your following – just consider having a bit of emphasis on the male demographic.
Step 1. Understanding Channel Subscriptions
To increase the subscriptions to your YouTube channel you can use a number of different tactics. You will want to ask viewers to subscribe to your channel as much as possible to get more subscriptions. This is called a “call to action” and you should have one in every video!
Here are a couple of ways to do this:
1. Ask them in your video – At the end of your video you can add a graphic or a message and ask people to subscribe to your channel. One thing you don’t want to do is bribe anyone with a reward or other incentive as YouTube is very strict about this. Just say something like “for more great videos, subscribe to my channel.”
2. Use Annotations – You can embed these within your video as text boxes or graphics that are clickable. Use the YouTube dashboard or Video Manager to add them into your video. You can add several such as hot spots, text boxes, and speech bubbles.
Annotations won’t display on mobile, tablet, chromeless players, or TV devices. Don’t reply on the annotation to get subscribers because many won’t see them. You need to add various calls to action in your videos too.
TIP: To make annotations clickable, just check the “link” box. You can add one to another video or a link to your channel.
Step 2. Using Video Responses
Video responses are actually quite effective in driving traffic to your page so you should be using them. Instead of just commenting on a video you can make a “video response” to that video which has way more impact. You can pick up new subscribers this way – plus you’re interacting with people, too, so they’ll naturally want to check out your channel.
There are things you don’t want to do such as put down the other person’s video too much as you may get some initial traffic but you may also offend a lot of people which you don’t want. Someone may end up flagging your response and you could get suspended – this isn’t worth the risk to your account!
If you’re going to criticize, make sure you have a positive statement and a compliment for the original video which will help soften your critique of the video. (Use the sandwich technique – start and end with something positive.) Try to get a dialogue started not just a bunch of negative responses.
Some ways to create strong responses to videos, get subscribers and still please the original video creator are:
- Enhance the original video by highlighting some point of the video in your response.
- Have a response that uses humor or is engaging to the viewer. Laugh with the original video creator but not at the creator by using parody carefully.
Here’s how easy it is to create a video response:
1. Click in the “All Comments” box exactly like you would if you were going to type a texted based comment. Press the link under the bottom-right corner of the text box that say, “Create a video response.”
2. The choices are:
- Pick one of your existing videos
- Upload a new video
- Record a new video
The video response gets linked to the video made by the original poster. This helps you get backlinks and subscribers. Make sure you make a good video for this to work properly. You want people to be impressed by your video and either create a dialogue or visit your channel.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you see an asterisk – * – next to the video you are uploading, YouTube is telling you that the video has already been linked to another video as a response. If you continue, your old link is broken and the new video will be linked to the current video.
Another tip with video responses:
- Get a response to your video response!
Make it easy for the original poster and others to respond to your video. Ask a question for others to answer that relates to the original video. Controversy also works here, but be careful not to offend!
Step 3. Get the YouTube Subscription Widget on your Website
Obviously you’ll want to interact with any subscribers that you get, but why not try to get subscribers from the traffic you’ve already generated?! Using the subscription widget on your site is a great way to funnel existing traffic and create more buzz – comments, likes, subscribers, etc!
To do this:
- use your FTP program to access your site
- If you use WordPress, simply log in to your dashboard
- use the following piece of code and put it into the HTML of your website (or use a “text widget in WordPress):
<iframe id=”fr” src=”http://www.YouTube.com/subscribe_widget?p=[substitute your YouTube Username here]” style=”overflow: hidden; height: 105px; width: 300px; border: 0;” scrolling=”no” frameBorder=”0″></iframe>
Place it where you want to see your widget. Check mine out to the right of this post in the sidebar. (By the way, if you’re not subscribed, go ahead and click it!) On your blog or website it will look like the image below. You can use your own image or logo. It shows your username number of subscribers and your account name for YouTube.
(Oh, and when you substitute your username over the red text, make sure you don’t include those square brackets!)
Step 4. Make Sure You Follow other Channels
By following other channels you will get more subscribers to your own channel. This is one strategy that many people simply don’t follow. (Honestly, I haven’t done this that much yet.) You can interact with them just like you would on any other type of social network.
If you like a video then add it as a “favorite” and add playlists (when the video is outside of your niche and/or doesn’t involve your brand.) Playlists could include music videos, funny videos, and so on.
Another thing you can do is keep lists of your friends on YouTube, too. Subscribing to each other’s channels gives social proof so you can both benefit.
Make sure you follow news sources and industry channels and then when you get new scribers you can recommend these to them. People will see you as a person who is up to date on all the breaking news stories. Get used to the social elements on YouTube because it can help you get the subscribers that you need.
Step 5. Integration and Increasing Identification
Add other Channels, playlists, videos, and other content to brand your channel. Use a watch page icon and a channel banner too. Use the Channel branding best practices. and the Google YouTube instruction for best results.
Here are five musts you should use for great YouTube interaction:
1. Check your videos regularly for comments – Do this by using Gmail or through your channel. Try to respond right away to get people involved with your videos. Make sure you answer questions that are asked of you them guidance to other videos for more information if needed. Send them to other YouTube videos too if it’s needed as this is good interaction with people on your channel and it will be appreciated.
2. Have Responses that are varied - Use both written and video responses to change things up. If you need a detailed answer, don’t do this in the comments section as it takes up too much space. Refer the person to another video or make a video response yourself. Be sure you thank the person for the question and then create a great answer to that question.
(E.g. “Great question about x I have made a video response to this that you should see. Thank you for the awesome question.”)
3. Use your social networks to share videos – Show others why they should check out your videos with a good call to action and make them curious about why they need to see your videos.
4. On Your Facebook page add the YouTube Facebook app – Simply drag the tab under your cover photo and by your “About” section.
5. Put the YouTube video on your blog - You can interact with viewers from your blog and you’ll have a backup if you lose your account on YouTube (if you use another hosting service such as Amazon S3 or others.
Growing a following on YouTube doesn’t have to be a drudgery or an insurmountable task. You have more ways to interact than you probably thought of before you read this. You really cаn grow your following and interact with others in powerful ways using your YouTube channel. So take action today – the sky is truly the limit!
How will you take action to grow your YouTube audience and influence? Leave a comment below!