Build your community
Learn tips to help you foster a community on YouTube and have meaningful interactions with your audience.
Be authentic with your audience
Building a community on YouTube lets you have a deeper connection with your audience and can lead to long-term channel growth. If your viewers love what they see and have positive interactions, they’re more likely to share your videos and recommend them. When creators take the time to interact authentically with their loyal community, it can encourage audience participation and ultimately result in a larger fanbase.
Community building on YouTube is an evolutionary process -- it doesn’t always happen overnight -- so stay positive and keep moving forward even if you don’t see the kind of numbers or conversation you hoped for right away.
Remember, your online presence should reflect who you are and what you want to be known for -- on and off YouTube. Even if you’re playing a character on YouTube, this persona could get associated with you in the real world. Make channel decisions and foster a community on YouTube that reflects you and your long-term goals.
Share your creation story and creed
Your “creation story” is the unique journey that led you to YouTube. Sharing this can be a powerful way for viewers to relate to you and develop connections that run deeper than other topics or channels.
A creed is a mission statement that can help define what sets your channel apart from the rest. What are you inspired by or trying to accomplish? Narrate your creed and give viewers something to believe in. Whether you’re all about empowering Smart Girls, or just want to make people laugh, communicate what motivates you to create.
- Try producing a video that tells the story of your journey leading up to YouTube or summarizes your creed. Make it your channel trailer.
- Update the About section on your channel with your creed (or a summary of it).
See it in action
Be inspirationalUse your mission to give viewers something bigger to believe in and make them feel good about coming back to YouTube. (Video in English)
Be genuineShay Carl let his audience in on his struggle to lose weight. Many viewers could relate and followed him to his weight-loss channel. Think about how your creation story can help viewers relate to you. (Video in English)
Develop rituals specific to your channel
Rituals are repeated activities, such as your video formats or special lingo, that viewers can expect and look forward to over time. Being consistent is key to creating viewer habits a community can form around -- like a weekly upload or special activities built into the format of your videos. What moments during your videos does your community anticipate?
Just like a secret handshake, using fun or unique language can help make your community feel like insiders. Whether it’s an acronym (like Vsauce’s D.O.N.G.), or a completely invented word (Moosh, anyone?), code words can help your community identify with each other. Try reviewing comments to see if people in your community are referring to themselves in a special way that designates them as fans of your channel. If not, consider naming your viewers or introducing a few special phrases. Try looking back at your videos to see if you’ve unknowingly been using a catchphrase and, if so, play it up!
- Communicate rituals -- like when you’ll answer comments or upload new videos. Does it work with your channel aesthetic to illustrate your upload schedule in the channel banner?
- Consider adding a consistent intro or outro to your videos.
- Ask what does your audience look forward to in your videos? How can you capitalize on this?
- Lingo and iconography often go hand in hand. If you designed a t-shirt for your viewers to wear, what words or icons would it have?
See it in action
Have a weekly specialGrace Helbig uploads a “Fridiary” episode to her channel each Friday, which her viewers look forward to every week.
Consistency is keyWhether it’s a weekly special or a jingle at the end of each video, be as consistent as possible when incorporating rituals into your programming.
Cool kids clubOlga Kay refers to her community as her “Moosh Army” which makes them feel like they’re not alone when watching her videos.
Elite fans onlyLifestyle vlogger, Sprinkle of Glitter, refers to viewers who found her unlisted ‘secret video’ as ‘Elite Sprinklerinos.’
Be a (savvy and responsible) leader
Chances are, people subscribe to your channel because they like YOU! When you’re passionate about a topic, and it shows, inspiration can transform into leadership. Think of ways you can showcase leadership or authority on a topic.
As you build your community, keep in mind how others may perceive you and your replies. Pause before you post to consider if what you’re about to upload or respond to adheres to your channel’s voice. While you can always delete videos and comments, you never know if someone has taken a screenshot or recorded part of it on their own. Consider long-term consequences of sensitive videos and comments. If seen by unintended audiences, could your posts be misunderstood?
You may find that not everyone responds positively to your channel. It’s important to respect others’ opinions, even if they’re different from your own. Here are some tips for smart community moderation.
- Help viewers find the “real” you. Update social media accounts to match your YouTube channel so viewers can identify you across the web.
- Keep your online (and offline) presence in mind when posting anything.
See it in action
The obvious heroIf you’re the sole talent in your videos, like Michael from Vsauce, this is easy -- you’re the leader. Think of yourself as a ship captain, or a teacher. Your community trusts you to guide their experience.
Be conversationalBeing a leader doesn’t mean you need to sound preachy. As we’ve seen with other creators, the more casual and conversational you are when talking to viewers, the more likely they are to feel close to you.
How engaged is your audience?Try it now
Download the comments report to calculate the number of comments per view and compare how recently uploaded videos are doing in comparison to older videos over the same time period.
Are your videos attracting a new audience?Try it now
Look at the ratio of new subscribers to views over time to see which subscriber sources or videos were driving this increase, note the increases in the amount of new subscribers per view.
What sites are driving your engaged viewers to your videos?Try it now
Who are your top contributors and what are they saying?Try it now