Once you get beyond the stigma of it being “impossible” to be successful on YouTube, it can be both a challenging and rewarding endeavor, just like when you create a website. In the beginning, there will be a clear emphasis on on the “challenging” part, like getting a satisfactory number of views for your videos and building your subscriber list.
While you should define what YouTube success means for yourself, many see it as the amount of subscribers a channel has, and this will be the biggest challenge. So while we might not be able to tell you what your niche will be when you start your own YouTube channel (Mini food baking? Emoji makeup styles?), we do know a thing or two about raising follower numbers. To start building your audience, follow these tips below to help you get more subscribers on YouTube.
How to get more subscribers on YouTube
01. Have no shame and ask
Let’s get this one right out in the open first. At the end of your videos, don’t be afraid to ask viewers to like and subscribe. This is especially important if you're looking to make money on YouTube based on your number of fans. Sometimes viewers are simply in “YouTube” mode and aren’t thinking to engage with the videos they’re watching, they just want to watch. Reminding them of this solid they could do for you could be your ticket. Some people think that asking for subscribers and likes is desperate, but let’s just put things into perspective here: This is YouTube, which isn’t known to be an overly-tactful place. There’s nothing wrong with asking. Just because asking for “more” didn’t work in Oliver Twist doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Plus, it’s not uncommon to see well established channels still ask in their videos.
02. Ignore the YouTube “hacks”
You know what you don’t have time for? Other people wasting your time. That said, if you believe you’ll get something valuable out of a video that’s titled “Secret YouTube Hack: How to Get 5k YouTube Subscribers in 5 Minutes,” you apparently have plenty of time to be wasted. Videos that promise something that sound too good to be true are too good to be true. I wish I didn’t have to spell this out, but sadly, I do. Plus, a lot of the videos end up being pranks at the end. You will grow your list by a combination of tactics and not one magic fix, so don’t listen to the siren song of false YouTube promises.
03. Advertise everywhere (cross-platform promotion)
We get it, you like YouTube, but you should be always be pushing your channel to other platforms and social networks to get more exposure, and there are several ways to do this.
Sharing is caring: Any and every time you publish a video on your channel, plan to publish a post with a link to said video on your other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Are you super lazy? Fine, you can set up IFTTT so that when you publish a public YouTube video, you can have a link posted from Facebook and a Tweet sent out telling everyone to check out your latest video. Another smart way to keep your YouTube channel at the forefront is to add a link to it in the profile of your other social networks.
Create a stunning video site: Having a dedicated website for your YouTube videos not only gives your content a home away from home, but it allows you to control so much more. You aren’t confined to the layout of YouTube, allowing more of “you” to shine through from a design perspective. It’s also incredibly easy to sync your channel with Wix Video. You also have the ability to sell your videos to your viewers, which is something you can’t do directly from YouTube.
Send newsletter to your subscribers: Don’t forget about your website subscribers when you post a new video on YouTube! Craft the perfect newsletter to tell your fans about your latest video and either post a link to your channel or, if you added Wix Video from the above tip, they can check it out on your website.
04. Engage with your community
It’s vital that you engage with your community. They are the ones who are liking, subscribing, and telling others about your channel. Frankly, it really doesn’t matter what your goal is, whether you’re just getting started on YouTube, looking for more views, or more subscribers – treating your community with respect and regularly engaging with them will be paramount to your success. Not only does interacting with your audience on your videos help get your community buzzing about your content, but YouTube will reward you for the social hype. Plus, your fans will be happy to spread the love with likes and shares.
05. Reassess your channel’s design
Not everyone was born with an eye for (YouTube) design. And that’s okay. You may have an “ideal audience” in mind for your content, but you should aim to appeal to as many people as you can, however you can. One thing to take note of is how your channel looks when someone lands on it. While the content you produce is ultimately what should get viewers to subscribe to your channel, in order to give your videos the glory they deserve, make sure your channel is eye-catching and appealing. Go over your channel art, profile icon, channel trailer and ask yourself how it could be improved to broaden its appeal. Ask a friend that won’t sugar coat it for you. This is obviously subjective, but getting the perspective of others can be invaluable to shaping how your channel is portrayed. As part of that make sure to consider the impact of your YouTube Channel name and how it conveys your design and branding.
06. Spend some time on your video thumbnails
The power of a good video thumbnail on a YouTube video is surprisingly boundless, so you’ll want to make sure you’re spending a decent amount of time crafting it. With the bulk of your work confined to producing your actual video content, it could be tempting to think that investing time into a simple thumbnail is a waste. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thumbnails that are attention-grabbing get more attention. (It doesn’t get any more profound than that.) However you go about creating your thumbnails, be sure that they each carry a unique style that you can apply to all of your video thumbnails. This type of consistency looks great on your channel and adds a sense of professionalism.
Tip: From a neuromarketing perspective, it’s smart to use a face in your thumbnail, as we are naturally more drawn to them. Of course, if it doesn’t make sense regarding the content of your video, then don’t fret. You can go for a more descriptive thumbnail.
07. Put a greater emphasis on your SEO
Discoverability is crucial for any channel, especially newer ones, so if you aren’t obsessive about your YouTube video SEO, that should change. Crafting a solid title and description is a job of its own so while this is markedly the most boring part of the process, it holds the potential of determining how well your video will be found, so it’s nothing to take lightly. You can increase your chances of making an SEO-friendly title by doing research on your keywords and deciding whether you’d like to chase the more popular (and competitive) keywords, or the more specific long-tail keywords. It’s more than just the title, though! You should also make sure your video description is properly filled out with the appropriate links and that they are in line with the tags you used on your videos. Don’t skimp on your tags – make sure they’re relevant. Check out our guide in case you need to brush up on your YouTube SEO skills.
08. Curate playlists for your audience
If a viewer stumbles upon one of your videos through a search, make it easy for them to continue to watch similar videos by compiling a playlist you’ve created for just this occasion to automatically offer up more content. Not only does this get your channel more view time, but you’ll also save your audience from the dreaded YouTube rabbit hole. You know what I’m talking about.
09. Keep their attention with CTAs
The attention span of just about anyone on YouTube is admittedly abysmal, which is why you need to intrigue viewers with your content to keep them interested. If they’re going to be distracted in any way, it should be with one of your CTAs. You can add links to your other videos that the viewer may find relevant, or even a CTA telling them to like and subscribe.
10. Incentivize your audience
Just like asking for subscribers, incentivizing people to subscribe can be seen as a “shady” way to up your numbers, but when done right, it can certainly work. Holding a contest that requires someone to subscribe to your channel in order to enter is basically a surefire way to get subscribers. As long as what you’re giving away is worth entering a contest for, and your channel is discoverable enough for people to know how to enter, then let the games begin. If the latter proves to be an issue, you could perhaps make it a short-term contest and hold it during a YouTube live stream. Importantly, make sure that any and all legalities are upheld where you live.
11. Continue to produce quality content
This one may sound like it’s laughably obvious, but it’s very relevant. Just because you’ve “found your groove” when it comes to making YouTube videos does not mean that you’re producing quality content. In fact, your “groove” could actually just be “autopilot.” This is true regardless of what video platform you use (and in case you were wondering "What is Vimeo?", this useful guide can help.)
Sit down with your channel and watch your videos from different periods of time. Even though you’ve painstakingly edited the videos and can quote them all, try to watch the videos with fresh eyes and take notes of what you think worked in one video versus another. Preferably, ask people who would be considered to be your target audience or friends who haven’t seen all of your videos yet (but really what kind of friends are they?). Learning from your mistakes will always remain one of your most valuable assets and the drive for continually evolving in your content will help you to be a successful YouTuber in the long run.
In addition to a strong focus on quality content, you can always look to your past videos and check your stats in the YouTube analytics section of your account. This can allow you to identify past trends of what worked and what didn’t. It’s a very powerful tool that shouldn’t be ignored.