When it comes to growing your audience on YouTube, there are several important things you have to consider. First and foremost, YouTube fosters an incredibly personal environment, where, unlike TV audiences, viewers will get to know you or your brand on a more intimate and interactive level. This means you have to actively and directly engage your fans instead of sitting back and hoping they’ll get engaged all by themselves.
Other than that, you have to get to know the video platform. It offers plenty of tools aimed at helping video creators succeed. From various analytics to subtitles, embrace what YouTube has to offer. Also, make sure that you have a holistic vision of your channel. Make yourself recognizable, and then just make great content. As long as you’re doing at least that, you’re off to a good start.
Once you’re off to that start, here are some other tips you can use to grow your audience on YouTube:
The first step — get to know your viewers:
- Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Start off by stepping into the YouTube viewer’s shoes when assessing your videos’ effectiveness. Think about whether your content will leave viewers with the desire to visit one of your stores/website, the ability to recognize your brand in different venues, and the drive to recommend your products (or even just your funny video!) to their friends. If you don’t think it will do any of the above, try something else.
- Know Your Audience
Get to know what kinds of videos your target demographic like to watch and how frequently they’re on their cells. If they troll Facebook twelve hours a day, that’s another important thing to know (although, we hope they don’t)! The “Playbook for Brands” mentions some Google tools to help you answer these questions, like the YouTube Trends Dashboard, Our Mobile Planet, and Google Think Insights.
- Take Advantage of YouTube’s Tools, As Well
Using YouTube Analytics, you can find out information about how your content is doing with your target demographic. If the people you target are shying away from your YouTube content, Analytics will let you know. Then use our other tips to help reign your desired audience back in.
- Work Backwards
Imagine how you’d want people talking about your video content and work back from there to create that vision. It might help to type in keywords that relate to your brand and see what web content pops up. This can help inspire you, and let you know where your competition is at in the great keyword race.
Now that you know your viewers, grow your YouTube audience via engagement:
- Comment Back
When you first upload a video is when it’s going to get the most comments on YouTube. Knowing this, don’t just post your video and walk away. Stick around to see who writes what, and then write something back. The people who engage so quickly with your content are also most likely your biggest fans, so get to know them.
- Include Viewers in Your Content
This will make your fans feel like they’ve earned a promotion — from viewers to contributors. There are plenty of easy ways to do this, too, like by giving shout-outs to top commenters and inviting your viewers to ask questions that you’ll read aloud and answer in your next video installment.
- Offer Special Content
Think “behind-the-scenes” or “exclusive sneak peeks” — that’s the kind of content you can use as an incentive for viewers to engage further or as a reward for the fans that do. You can share these as unlisted videos, making your diehard fans feel all the more inclined to stay loyal and watching.
Make your videos more inclusive by expanding beyond your native tongue:
- Help Out Deaf/Hard of Hearing Viewers
According to the World Health Organization, some level of serious hearing loss affects upwards of 5% of the world’s population. To help that 5+% understand your videos, use the Transcribe and Sync tool on the digital video platform. All you have to do is type out the words to your video, and YouTube will do the rest (i.e. sync them to the video’s action).
- Translate and Add Subtitles
Making your videos accessible to those speaking languages from all over the world is actually very easy. All it takes is one caption track upload and your viewers will have access to a transcription of your video in 58 languages. These captions might not always be the most spot-on, so use Google’s Translator Toolkit to make edits yourself or invite others to create better translations for you.
Also, keep in mind that providing other language translations in your videos makes them searchable in those languages, too, allowing for more viewers to accidentally come upon your content.