Did you hear the latest social media stats? YouTube is more popular with teens than Facebook. Only 51% of teens in the United States still use Facebook while 85% say that they use the video-sharing platform. So, if you’re still saying your brand doesn’t need YouTube community building, you might need to rethink.
My team at Contentworks has created video scripts for some of the biggest finance brands and managed their YouTube channels. So, with that in mind, I’m going to tell you 13 YouTube community building hacks you never knew about. I’m going to split these tips into three sections: Attract, Engage and Convert.
These strategies will help you get people to your channel, where you can charm them.
1. Brand Your Channel
It sounds basic but branding your channel properly is one of the most important steps you need to take to build your community. If someone visits your YouTube channel it should be immediately obvious that it’s yours. Similarly, if people are searching for your channel, it should totally pop.
Check out Marcos Alberca, the world-famous photographer. His profile picture, custom designed banner and links to Instagram all tell you that you landed in the right spot.
Design your own custom cover image in Canva. Use your branding colors, guidelines, and ideal customer profile to create a compelling first impression.
2. Add Translated Captions
Do you know who you’re trying to target?
To attract them you need to speak their language. Would you want to watch a playlist that’s not in your native language? If you have a high budget, you can get your videos made in your audience’s languages.
If, however, you are keeping an eye on costs then you can add captions to your videos. I still recommend that you use a properly translated script for this. Here’s a great video which will explain how you do it.
If you are adding language captions then it may be best to keep onscreen annotations to a minimum. A viewer trying to read captions in Chinese will find it distracting to see English annotations happening in the background. This is key for YouTube community building.
3. Create Relevant Playlists
Here’s where most brands go wrong with their YouTube community building strategy. They have a ton of videos, so they throw them all on their channel. Perhaps they make a few playlists like “company videos” or “products” but that’s it.
You need to create relevant playlists that fit with your target audience. Check out the Apartment Therapy channel. Each playlist hits a different sweet spot and makes it easy for me as a viewer to find what I’m looking for. With playlist titles like “How To’s and Hacks” and “Organizing 101” viewers can instantly dive into the topic they want.
Notice the relevant thumbnails on each playlist and video? That’s super important. Thumbnails are often the bait that pulls in viewers so yours should be high quality, relevant and intriguing. Make your thumbnails in Canva sized to ‘1280×720.’
4. Add an Awesome Channel Trailer
Your channel trailer is the first thing visitors to your channel see and the best thing is, it plays automatically, even to non-subscribers. So, what does that mean? It means it needs to be awesome. It should be short and easily summarize for viewers what your channel is all about.
You could add a short brand video or you could highlight one of your most popular videos like Buzzfeed Tasty did here. With the caption “A little danger adds a lot of excitement to a meal!” and two cheeky looking guys on the thumbnail, we are instantly drawn to the channel.
Get creative. You have between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to grab some attention so even if your channel trailer is longer, the first part needs to be super interesting. Remember, the number one reason people bounce from a YouTube channel is an annoying or boring channel trailer.
5. Use Annotations Wisely
Annotations are the elements that pop up while a video is playing. Perhaps they say “Subscribe now” or “Watch next video”.
Annotations are one of the most powerful tools available on YouTube and they can really ramp up your subscriber list. There are other tools available for uploaders such as highlights and speech bubbles that can be added to your video. But beware. Too many annotations will have the opposite effect and turn off potential subscribers and even existing ones. Viewers want to watch your video and absorb what’s being said and annotations can be distracting.
Use annotations lightly to ask viewers to subscribe or visit a link in the description to learn more. Avoid constant annotations, pop-ups and text boxes at all costs.
The next few tips will show you how to engage your audience and start the transformation from casual visitor to life-long fan.
6. Get The Length Just Right
Engagement is all about follower/ brand interaction. But when it comes to YouTube engagement, it’s largely about viewers actually watching the videos in the first place.
Wistia conducted extensive research across 564,710 videos, and more than 1.3 billion plays to find the sweet spot. They revealed that video engagement is good up to the 2-minute mark. So, a 90-second video will engage a viewer as much as a 30-second video. This is something you should remember when creating your videos in the first place. Yes, you have plenty to say and yes, your product has a million features but break it down into bitesize chunks. That’s why we have playlists right?
Check out the YouTube channel for Travel Insider. They have nailed the art of video marketing and their 10,000 subscribers are proof that short but interesting videos work.
7. Leverage Comments to Get Superfans
The holy grail of engagement on all social media channels is a comment. Once people start commenting on your posts, tweets, and videos, it shows they are interested in what you’re talking about.
So, once you start getting comments on your YouTube videos you need to take it up a notch. The great thing is, you can add your YouTube profiles to your Agorapulse dashboard and monitor them from there– in the same place as your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ and LinkedIn!
From there you can view/accept/reject/hide fan comments and respond to or assign them to other team members.
Plus, you can monitor keywords and listen out for conversations.
The comment section is a great place to pan for content marketing ideas. If your viewers are asking questions about your product or service, turn the questions into a blog post or a Q&A video. And be sure to thank and tag those who asked a question!
8. Use Analytics to Guide Your Strategy
Here’s one for those of you with a nice budget to play with. There are tons of cool video marketing tools out there, but the good ones do generally come with a price tag.
TubeBuddy is a sweet little tool that features bulk processing, end screen templates, emoji pickers, thumbnail generators and much more. Pricing is quite reasonable and scales up as your channel grows. If you aren’t ready to invest, try the free version. It’s basic yet useful. (We talk more about TubeBuddy in this article about YouTube tools.)
Another tool which is more analytics-driven is Bird Song Analytics. This suite allows you to tap into your video analytics, pull reports and use them to create better videos. Plus, you can spy on your competitors!
Remember that you don’t need to spend money to have an amazing YouTube channel. The key is engaging videos, great support in the comments section, and of course paying attention to your free YouTube analytics panel.
9. Embed Your Videos Into Your Blog
When you upload a YouTube video to your channel, that shouldn’t be the end of your marketing efforts – oh no! That video needs to be shared out to maximize viewing time.
One of the great things you can do is embed the video into your blog or site. Simply find the video you want to embed, select share and tap the “embed” icon.
Then, just copy the code into the code on your website in the space you want your video to appear.
The great thing about doing this, is that your web visitors will be able to open the video up in a new tab– your YouTube channel!
If you make lots of short videos, why not match them to your blog posts. For example, “How to embed videos into your blog” can become a video and blog post which fit together like apple pie and ice cream.
10. Promote Everywhere
We touched on this previously but let’s delve into it because YouTube community building is all about increasing subscribers and engaging them.
If you’re just uploading a video to your channel and moving on to your next task, then you’re missing out. When you upload a video, you will want to share it across to your Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin channels. Remember to make the caption different and relevant for each space. Then, using your Agorapulse calendar, schedule in some updates for the future which link back to your YouTube video.
Repetition is #coolnotcool so be sure to repeat your social sharing but with a different caption, thumbnail and call to action. You will also want to repeat at different times of the day to engage followers who may be in a different time zone.
The final tips will show you how you can convert visitors into subscribers.
11. Use Instagram to Dominate Image Searches
Instagram is another super popular channel but it’s image based so how can you use it to convert on YouTube?
Simple– create posts that match your playlists. Then get your designer to create amazing images that match the different videos in the playlist. Post them with a link to the relevant video and matching hashtags and watch your subscribers pour in. You can do the same thing over on Pinterest by creating boards that match your playlists. A beautiful image matched to a relevant video will grab user attention.
If the purpose of your video is to sell a product then be sure to include a URL to that product in your video description. There’s nothing more annoying than having to hunt around for the product that’s being featured.
12. Offer Incentives for Subscribers
You’ve got your army of loyal YouTube subscribers but how do you get them to buy your product? Well, your videos should be getting them interested but how about a sweet little promo to get the ball rolling?
Use your YouTube annotation tool to add relevant discounts or promotions into your videos. Leading retailer New Look hits the spot on this one.
With non-promotional, cool videos matched up to subtle call to action annotations, the channel lets you know that you can copy celeb styles at their online store. Plus, subscribers can be treated to exclusive discounts, limited edition products, and insider information. All treats to keep them coming back for more!
Don’t shout your promotions as that will just annoy your viewers. Instead, create the desire in your video and simply show your viewers where to go next.
13. Utilize Influencers
While using celebrities or industry influencers is a great tactic there are some drawbacks. Firstly, it doesn’t come cheap. Celebrity vloggers can command millions for their appearances. Secondly, it’s essential to find an influencer who reflects your brand values. If you’re selling vegan, organic skincare products, you will want to find a vlogger who matches up to your ethics.
Lastly, it’s important that your brand doesn’t become entirely dependent on the celebrity you’re using. Remember, celebs fall from grace and you don’t want your brand to go down with them.
Look to engage mid-level influencers who are also looking to boost their profile. Be sure to provide them with plenty of free products to try out (no obligation) before asking them if they would like to work with you. YouTube community building is also about networking with peers and influencers.
So, there you have it– 13 YouTube community building hacks you never knew about. If you need social media management for your brand, please contact me here.