Are you looking to grow your audience and effectively engage with viewers on YouTube? There are a number of strategic actions you can take to optimize the effect of your videos and your presence on YouTube to attract new viewers, engage with followers, and incentivize your audience to keep watching…and click subscribe!
Read on for some key tips…
Create content that keeps your viewers hooked
What do we mean by this? Views are no longer the only key valuation for how successful a video is compared to others on YouTube — it’s also how long your audience watches your content (in addition to the number of views, comments, and subscribers). So you want to produce content that draws the audience in and keeps their attention for the majority of the video (and not just for the first few seconds).
Focus on one topic at a time
When you’re looking to grow the audience of a YouTube channel, it’s best to have a central theme or subject area to focus on so viewers know what type of content they’ll be getting from it. Individual videos should center on one main idea that is echoed through the title, description, visuals, audio, and metadata. All this information influences how well your content will fair against videos with similar topics, which therefore affects who will come across it.
Be mindful of the time
The length of a video often affects how long people will keep watching. While it’s generally recommended to keep videos between 3 and 5 minutes long, the content and purpose of your video may be more important than the length, as long as it is well-produced. If you can create clear content that appropriately entertains, engages, informs, or teaches, then viewers will likely stay invested.
Take time for metadata
Viewers find videos on YouTube because of good metadata, which is essentially the information that defines and describes the video, from the title, description, keyword tags, and end screens. So the words you choose to use make all the difference, especially for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You want your title to state exactly what your video is about so that a search engine will pull up your video on the first page of links when someone searches for keywords related to that topic. Keep in mind: it’s recommended to include the main keywords at the start of the title.
It’s also important to tag the right keywords when you’re uploading your video to YouTube and completing all the backend information. Tags can be made up of single or multiple keywords, like “yoga,” “yoga equipment,” or “how to do yoga without a mat.” Think about your audience and the range of terms they’re most likely to search in relation to your video topic. But remember: you don’t want to clutter your tags with unrelated keywords; this could hurt your ranking in search engines or even cause your video to be taken down.
End screen on Runtastic video directing users to click on the next workout video.
Add end screens
Have you ever noticed boxes of images + text that appear in the last ~20 seconds of a Youtube video, usually referring you to additional videos or asking you to subscribe? Those are called “end screens”. They’re a great way to insert ‘calls to action’ asking the viewer to like your video, subscribe to your channel, and explore more video content from your playlist. To add end screens, you’ll need to go to your YouTube account > Creator Studio > Video Manager > Video > End Screen.
Customize visual thumbnails
When viewers come across your video after a quick keyword search on YouTube or another search engine, the first thing they’ll probably notice is the thumbnail image that sits next to the title. Your thumbnail is basically your ‘cover image’, so it has to make a good impression and say something concrete about the content of the video. Many YouTube users choose to include text in thumbnail images to reinforce the topic or to add more context to the video, which can be quite effective. So be sure to upload a custom thumbnail that includes text and high-resolution visuals that are clear and eye-catching.
Take advantage of the Community tab
Alongside your YouTube channel’s row of tabs, you should see one titled “Community.” This is where you can go to share posts (written messages, images, links, and even GIFs) with your audience, and your viewers can respond with their thoughts and feedback through comment boxes. This is an amazing chance to share important information (like reminding your audience to subscribe or to turn on notifications for your channel) or offer additional content to your subscribers. By maintaining communication with followers through this tab, you can build an additional level of engagement outside of video comments.
Check your YouTube Analytics
When you have your own channel on YouTube, you can access the “Analytics” page through the “Creator Studio” and see data collected about your video viewership, including who makes up your audience, how long they watch certain videos for, what your engagement levels look like, and a lot more. Youtube even offers online courses through its “Creator Academy” aimed at helping you make the most of the platform to build your channel and audience.
Strategically market across other social media platforms
Nowadays, it’s quite easy to share content across multiple social media platforms — and the effort is worth it! You can link to your YouTube videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and share snippets of content to encourage your audience (and potential subscribers) to hop over to YouTube to watch the full video. And if you have a blog, website, email newsletter, or other online platforms you use to reach followers, you should include your videos in those forms of online media so your viewers don’t miss your YouTube content.
Want more information on how to build engagement and subscribers on YouTube? Check out these informative articles:
4 Quick Wins to Increase Your YouTube Engagement
5 Noteworthy Ways to Increase Engagement for Your YouTube Videos (Infographic)
YouTube Ranking: How to Get More Views on YouTube
How to Use the YouTube Community Tab to Engage Subscribers