Are you actively managing your YouTube community?

Because views, satisfied subscribers and video shares don’t happen by accident.

Food for thought: recent statistics note that YouTube is the most widely-used social media platform by far.

Even if you don’t see YouTube as a traditional social network, there’s no denying the need to nurture your audience if you want long-term engagement.

And so publishing videos and calling it a day isn’t an option.

Instead, you should strive to be proactive about connecting with viewers and subscribers alike. Doing so means having a game plan for YouTube community management. That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this guide.

What is YouTube community management, anyway?

In short, YouTube community management represents everything related to interacting with and growing your audience on the platform. This includes actions such as:

  • Responding to (and moderating) comments from viewers and subscribers
  • Uncovering opportunities to incorporate viewers into your content (through gathering feedback, asking questions and publishing updates)
  • Building relationships with viewers while maintaining your brand voice

Given how glued to YouTube the average viewer is, nurturing your brand community should be a top priority for long-term viewership and loyalty.

Why community management on YouTube matters so much

At a glance, YouTube community management might seem fairly straightforward.

That said, there are some key differences between interactions on the platform and community management elsewhere on social media.

Community satisfaction on YouTube is totally transparent

The YouTube community at large is encouraged to make their voices heard.

Unless you’re outright deleting comments or hiding your videos’ like-to-dislike ratio, how people feel about your content is always front-and-center.

And so building positive relationships with your YouTube community is a must-do. Besides, having a good rapport with existing subscribers with positive comments and interactions signals that your content is worthwhile to new viewers.

More community engagement = more views and subscribers

Piggybacking on the point above, greater engagement spells good news for the YouTube algorithm.

The more comments and interactions on any given video, the more likely it is to rise in the rankings. This ultimately results in greater viewership and subscribers over time.

Community management is central to your YouTube marketing efforts. Although your content is key to growing your subscriber count, so is connecting with your audience on a more personal level.

Effective management makes you more relatable

Speaking of personal, note that three out of four YouTube users seek out content that’s “genuine, authentic and relatable.”

Engaging in conversations with your community is key to creating a sense of relatability. Rather than present yourself as a faceless brand, you have a chance to make a meaningful impression on your viewership.

6 tips and best practices for better YouTube community management

Below we’ve broken some key tips to maximize engagement as part of your community management efforts.

Whether you’re starting a channel from scratch or have an existing community to connect with, these tips are fair game.

1. Respond thoughtfully to your comments

Much like with social media, responding to key to community management.

If someone is taking the time to compliment your content, shout you out or ask a question, acknowledge them. It’s really that simple.

That said, you should also try to engage in meaningful conversations with viewers versus a passing “thank you.” Taking the time to type out a thoughtful reply not only engages your viewer but also provides to other audience members that you care about your community.

Screenshot examples of YouTube comment responses.

However you decide to respond to comments, make sure you let your personality shine. Remember what we said earlier about relatability? That’s why so many replies on YouTube incorporate emojis or slang.

Screenshot of YouTube comment responses: liking and reacting with an emoji comment.

Of course, you don’t need to respond to every comment if you’re a bigger channel strapped for time. Doing so is a smart move for growing brands, though.

For the sake of efficiency, you can prioritize personalized responses for more pressing questions and use canned responses for neutral or simple comments.

2. Use pinned comments to drive discussions

Pinned comments are static discussions that sit atop your comment section on any given video.

Many brands fail to take advantage of this valuable real estate. You shouldn’t, though!

Because pinned comments are the perfect place to get a discussion going and likewise consolidate comments into a single thread that’s easy to monitor. For example, REI uses pinned comments to pose a question to subscribers that’s relevant to the video in question:

Screenshot of a YouTube channel pinning a comment and asking a question relevant to the video posted.

You can likewise use pinned comments to hype up upcoming videos, events or giveaways.

Screenshot example of a pinned comment on YouTube sources ideas from viewers.

See how that works?

3. Listen carefully to comments both good and bad

Although you obviously shouldn’t be influenced by YouTube trolls, you should listen to what legit comments have to say.

The good news is that gathering feedback is a cinch if you’re already responding to questions and comments. You might see recurring compliments and requests that influence your content.

Screenshot of a viewer commenting on a YouTube video and the channel owner responding.

And on the flip side, you might see negative comments that serve as constructive criticism.

“Your mic is too low” or “This video is way too short” might not be what you want to see on your video, but such comments are invaluable for improving your content in the future. Besides, you might not even be aware of such issues unless you’ve actively engaged in YouTube community management.

On a similar note, make sure to keep an eye on your like-to-dislike ratios to better understand which pieces of content are resonating with your audience and which aren’t.

4. Incorporate your YouTube community into your content

Continuing with the point above, consider how you can take comments and feedback and turn them into content.

For example, many brands conduct Q&As or livestreams where questions and feedback drive videos themselves. Some creators will also incorporate comments from previous videos on-screen.

Screenshot of a YouTube Q&A video with livechat.

Additionally, you can highlight requested content to show that you’re delivering what your YouTube community wants to see:

Screenshot of a

5. Set expectations for uploads to keep your community in the loop

Managing expectations goes hand in hand with community management.

Note that competition is absolutely fierce on YouTube when it comes to content.

If you want people to tune in regularly, it helps to stick to a schedule and create a pattern of regular viewership. Doing so is as simple as highlighting when you’ll be uploading (see below):

Screenshot of the Canva YouTube channel and banner.

Consistent publishing means more consistency in the comments section, too.

6. Nurture your YouTube community beyond the platform

Remember: your video marketing strategy doesn’t start and end on YouTube. Not by a long shot!

Promotion and publishing to your social platforms should be a top priority. Anything you can do to funnel traffic to YouTube is a plus.

Don’t be shy about inviting social followers to check out your videos. If you have hundreds or thousands of followers elsewhere, bringing them into the fold of your YouTube community is as simple as raising awareness.

This is where a tool like Sprout Social can come in handy. With our platform, you can cross-post your YouTube content between networks when people are most likely to be engaged. This ensures that you stick to your content calendar and your social followers never miss an upload.

Screenshot of the Sprout Social publishing calendar.

These represent the foundation of effective community management on YouTube and highlight just a few ways you can make connections with your audience.

What is the YouTube Community tab?

Keep in mind that YouTube has features help businesses and brand keep in touch with their communities.

Case in point, the aptly named “Community” tab.

Reserved for accounts with 500+ subscribers (as of 2021), the Community tab is a publishing and discussion hub on YouTube that allows you to go back and forth with viewers. You can almost think of the Community tab as a secondary social media wall or feed you’d see on Facebook or Twitter.

For example, brands can publish updates, announcements and polls to the tab. Below is a great breakdown from YouTube themselves:

 

How to use the YouTube community tab to drive engagement

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to using the Community tab: you have plenty of creative freedom.

For starters, you might hype up or announce your latest (or upcoming) videos. Consider crafting unique captions for your YouTube feed to create a sense of anticipation.

Example of a brand using the YouTube community tab to share the latest video.

Meanwhile, polls are a playful way to pick your subscribers’ brains and get yet another discussion going. This is a brilliant place to ask for content ideas directly, too.

Example of a brand using the YouTube community management tab to poll viewers.

Heck, some brands even use YouTube as a place to source user-generated content such as customer photos or contest entries.

Example of a brand using the YouTube community tab to call for UGC.

If nothing else, it’s yet another place to pose questions that get your target audience talking.

Example of a brand using the YouTube Community tab to ask questions.

Just make sure that you don’t leave your YouTube Community tab totally bare. Any combination of these post ideas can get you started to keep your feed fresh and full.

And with that, we wrap up our guide!

Are you engaged with your brand’s YouTube community?

If you’re regularly creating video content and reeling in views and subscribers, you’re on the right track.

Just make sure you’re actively involved in YouTube community management, too.

From responding to questions and comments to crowdsourcing content ideas, the benefits of community engagement can’t be overstated. Creating that sense of community is crucial for your channel’s long-term growth.

And if you need help in that department, make sure to check out our best practices to promote your YouTube channel to build buzz and get more eyes on your content.

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