20 Best YouTube Growth Tips for Building Community

Strategic Tips for Building community

Here’s what this article covers

1. Create a bingeable catalogue of content

The goal on YouTube is not just creating great content. It’s to create content that consistently brings people back to your channel.

Getting an audience hooked early on is easier if you have multiple videos for them to watch after the first. Make sure your videos connect to each other. Either in an ordered series or in an unordered playlist where someone watching one video will immediately be interested in the next.

Group videos together by topic and add them to a playlist. Your playlists should represent the core content “pillars” your channel is about. Think of them like a quick way of summarizing what your channel is about and what content topics your community should expect to see from you.

The YouTube rabbit hole of suggested traffic

If you’re a beginner on YouTube without many videos, plan future videos to build off previous uploads so that people who watched the first video will watch the following ones.

2. Plan for how people consume your content

If you’re selling a product or service with your YouTube videos, be mindful of where in the funnel you’re expecting this video to land. Not everyone will be equally bought-in to your brand depending on when they watch your video.

If a video is designed to expand your audience by reaching new people, make sure to introduce yourself and your channel.

If the video is targeting search traffic, make sure you are providing value by answering the search query and showing it since YouTube is a visual platform.

3. Get people to come for the content and stay for the community

Your community isn’t just you and your videos; it’s also your viewers engaging in the comments. The more you engage by asking questions, replying to all comments, and starting conversations between comments, the more your viewers will return for the community.

The traffic source = the audience

If you notice people asking the same questions or commenting something similar, tag other commenters in your reply to a specific comment and get them to have a conversation together.

Plus, this is a great way to boost engagement since every comment adds to your video’s performance metrics!

4. Use storytelling as a type of content

If you have a good story to tell with relevant lessons and tips for your audience, make a video about it! But keep in mind whether that video is aimed at search traffic or browse so that it’s still relevant to people who have never seen your content before.

The Power of Storytelling

For example, if you’re making a video about how you accidentally lost $25,000 during a Black Friday sale campaign, talk about what happened to you, what you did, and then share what you learned so that others can avoid this mistake in the future.

Making a video that’s just one long rambling personal story that isn’t helpful to anyone else won’t do as well as if you include an analysis of what happened. Explain the main takeaways that are valuable to other people who are in a similar but not identical situation as you.

How can your community avoid the mistakes you made? What should they look out for? Share the learned experience you got from your mistakes!

5. Get inspiration from successful communities, not successful channels

The biggest YouTube channels with the most views or the most subscribers can be misleading. Subscribers don’t equal community.

The number of subscribers means a channel has performed well before but doesn’t mean it’s performing well now. It also doesn’t tell you anything about the community surrounding that channel.

A YouTube channel can have millions of subscribers, but if nobody is liking or commenting, it lacks a sense of community. Pay attention to videos that have more than 3% like rate by views and more than 1% comment rate by views.

Then check out that channel and see if all their videos have this kind of engagement rate or only a couple videos. What are those videos doing well to increase likes and comments?

Having more comments could indicate a stronger community, but it could also just mean a lot of people had questions, critiques, or opinions on the video.

6. Have quirks for your community to talk about

Having a personality is key to building an audience on YouTube. Show it! One way to do this is to talk about your opinions, habits, and lifestyle. If you have something uncommon about yourself, telling your audience this is a great way to be memorable because people remember unusual things.

It could be as random as saying that you have a dog that only drinks filtered water or explaining why you only wear green socks on Fridays. Having a quick makes you stand out and cut through the noise with your brand.

Weird people are attracted to equally weird people. Give your community some nuggets about yourself they can connect with.

7. Figure out what your community actually wants

Easier said than done! If you’re replying to all the comments on your videos, you’ll start to get a sense of what lands well and what doesn’t.

Trust me, people will be very direct if they don’t like something about your video. If they think you should have done something differently, they’ll let you know.

Rather than feel bad that a video didn’t land well, take this feedback and implement it into future videos. If your comment section has repeated questions, or the same feedback on what they want to hear about, use these comments for inspiration in future videos.

Pro tip: If you make a video based on a suggestion from someone’s comment, reply to that comment again when the new video is posted and ask them to watch and give you feedback!

8. Use comments to deepen the relationship

Having a lot of comments on your video is good. Replying to all the comments is great. Using your responses to develop a relationship with the audience is fantastic!!

What should you say in a comment to deepen the relationship?

Ask questions. Show that person that you read and acknowledge their comment by asking something to continue the conversation. Where are they from? Have they experienced something your video talks about? If they asked a question, what are they working on or struggling with that lead them to ask you that question?

Ask them how they found your channel, what they think of it, and what they’d like to see in the future, and then respond to them again if they reply!

Pro tip: Make sure to use the @ + channel to make sure people get notified when you reply to them if they have notifications turned on. And make sure you have notifications on for when people reply to you in a comment.

9. Use other platforms to connect with your community

Once you start to grow on YouTube, give your audience another platform to connect with you on. It could be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, or all the above. Ask them to follow you, and when they do, send them a DM or a comment to say hello on the next platform!

Whatever platform you’re using to deepen the relationship, try to make sure you’re posting content that’s different but still relevant to your content on YouTube. It won’t make sense if your YouTube channel is about bitcoin investing and you ask people to follow your Instagram which is nothing but pictures of your dog.

Pro tip: Use other platforms to show more of your personal life to build trust with viewers from YouTube even faster.

10. Use audience data to create targeted content

Once you’ve built a solid library of at least 10-15 videos, YouTube will give you more accurate data on your traffic sources. Pay attention to your search traffic to identify keywords that drive the most views to your channel. Go into YouTube analytics -> overview -> see more -> traffic source -> click on “YouTube Search” to see your top keywords.

You might discover that there are search keywords you haven’t made videos for that are currently driving a lot of traffic.

Do the same with suggested traffic to see which other YouTube channels are driving the most views to your channel. Go into YouTube analytics -> overview -> see more -> traffic source -> click on “Suggested Videos” to see your top referring videos.

Note: some of the top suggested videos will be your own, and others will be from similar YouTube channels.

11. Use different video structures based on traffic source

This ties in with tip #2 of optimizing for how people watch your videos. Search-oriented videos should provide the information people are looking for and continually educate viewers throughout the video.

Videos aimed at browse that are meant to be more viral, entertainment videos should have a hook that grabs attention and gets people to stay for the whole video.

Avoid starting your videos by introducing yourself or saying “welcome back to the channel.” Do this slightly further into the video once you’ve given context for what the video will cover after you’ve given some initial value to the viewer.

12. Educate, entertain, & inspire all in one

There are dozens of ways to create value on YouTube with different types of videos. But they all boil down to either entertaining or educating your audience. Good YouTube videos do both. Great YouTube videos will entertain, educate, and inspire your audience.

How do you inspire people? Get them excited about your topic! Show your passion for the industry, talk about things you’re excited about, and tell people why they should be excited about it too.

Pro tip: If you’re showing people how to do something, get them excited to use these new skills! If you’re informing, be enthusiastic and get people eager to use the new knowledge you just gave them.

13. Run a contest or giveaway

People love free sh*t. If you’re offering a service or a product, run a contest where people can win something. This could be something big like a gift card, gift basket, travel, or some kind of reward where you only give a couple away.

You could also do smaller giveaways but give out more things, like free subscriptions, stickers, merchandise, or other low-ticket items to get people excited.

Give back to your audience in some way by giving them some treats, and they will turn into a loyal community that loves your brand.

14. Brand your channel

Use recognizable features in your videos and thumbnails. It could be using the same colors, fonts, symbols, or faces across different videos.

optimize youtube thumbnail, title, content and editing to optimize ctr

Develop your own thumbnail checklist so you can make sure each thumbnail has common elements with previous ones that your community will easily recognize.

15. Add captions

Using accurate captions is a great way to make your videos accessible to international viewers who aren’t fluent in English.  Luckily YouTube automatically generates captions for your uploads. It might take a while to see the captions immediately after you upload a video into the YouTube creator studio. When captions are available, double check for accuracy so it’s easy to follow along if someone prefers to watch videos with subtitles.

It might be tedious, but ensuring your captions are accurate will make it easy to keep people engaged by making sure your videos are easy to understand with captions enabled.

16. Use cards to link related videos

You can use up to 3 cards per video on YouTube. Any time you mention a topic or reference another video on your channel, make a note of the timestamp where you make the reference. Insert a card to the other video where you mention it, ideally towards the middle or end of the video.

That way, if someone is getting bored or wants to watch another video, you’re giving them a reason to watch another one of your videos rather than a different creator’s content.

If you’re creating bingeable content with tip #1 in mind, use the card for a playlist instead of a video to give people options for what they want to watch if the playlist is relevant to what you’re talking about.

17. Be authentic and show your personality

Getting views on YouTube is easy, but building an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you is the real challenge. Building a community on YouTube is much easier when your audience has the inside scoop on who you are and what you do and don’t like. Tell stories about yourself, even if they’re only loosely related to the topic of the video.

If you’re talking about how to do something or giving information on a topic, tell a story about your experience learning it as a beginner or mistakes you’ve made along the way. Open up about your insecurities, fears, and failures along the way of getting to where you are now.

Pro tip: Brainstorm a couple ideas of personal stories you can tell for each video you plan out. They don’t have to be perfectly connected to the subject of the video. Try to tell a different story in each video. If you can, reference a story you told in a past video and give the quick version so people can start to put the pieces together of your life and the things you’ve done.

18. Create longer videos that still engage

A video is only too long if it doesn’t provide enough consistent value. If you can cut out fluff and your video still makes sense, do it. But if you can add extra information, explain nuances, and add your own personal stories to the topics you discuss, you’ll create longer videos that keep people engaged.

Go back and forth between giving information, providing entertainment, and telling bits and pieces of your own story and background throughout the video. If you’re reviewing a video outline and it’s pure information, try to add a story or two about your life, family, hobbies and interests that might be relevant to the information you’re teaching.

Pro tip: Tell people the life hacks you’ve learned and tell the story of how you learned them. The crazier the story, the more memorable it’ll be for your community and the more you’ll stand out as a figure people will want to follow.

19. Use engagement analytics to improve content

When you have videos that have been published for a while with at least a couple hundred views, check your video analytics to look at engagement. Go to the “content” tab in creator studio -> click “analytics” for a video you’re interested in -> scroll down to “Key moments for audience retention”

If you see a gradual slope downward, the video is doing a good job keeping people engaged.

If you see a sudden drop somewhere, watch the video to see what happened. Did you say something that might cause people to leave? Is there an awkwardly long pause in the video? Are you using a call to action that caused people to tune out?

Try to figure out what happened here and avoid it in future videos. If it’s a CTA, try integrating it more naturally into the video. If it’s an awkward gap, make future videos faster paced. If you said something controversial, check what people said in the comments.

YouTube calls to action that build community and audience

Pro tip: Anytime someone comments a timestamp of your video, check the timestamp to see what they’re talking about. It could be something they found funny or something they disagree with in the video. Make a note of this and do it again in future videos if the feedback is positive.

If it’s a negative comment, decide if it’s’ something worth mentioning in future videos. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean you’re wrong for including it in a video. Sometimes controversial videos can be great at building community because they repel the wrong people and attract the right ones.

20. Engage in real time

Plan a livestream in advance, and let your audience know about it! Don’t just try it once, try it a few times and see how it goes. You might only get a handful of people who join for a few minutes then leave, so prepare some talking points to cover during the livestream in case not many people join.

When you get people in the watching room, ask questions, get them to comment and try to have a conversation with them based on what they say. Your past livestreams will remain on your channel, so if you prepare helpful information beforehand, your lifestream will still be a watchable video even after the live ends.