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Audience Engagement 101
September 20th, 2018 by Terri Pinyerd

What’s a successful brand without an amazing audience to build it up? Loyal, enthusiastic customers and fans are what social media is all about, but when you’re first starting out in the digital world it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Knowing the right questions to ask and how to respond to feedback (both positive and negative) is an important and necessary aspect of any social media presence.

Even if you’re a long-time user of social media, you can still improve your methods of communication in order to grow your online community even further.


Today we'll teach you how to gain (and maintain) a community around your brand, whether you're a YouTube veteran or just beginning to take your first steps on the platform.


In this post you'll learn how to:


  • Create a welcoming environment for your viewers
  • Start a conversation around your YouTube content
  • Master online etiquette and respond to tricky comments
  • Stay positive while you reach your goals!


Let's get started!


Audience Engagement 101


Create A Welcoming Environment


How to build a loyal audience on YouTube

Viewers don’t want to comment on a video that no one else has commented on - it gives the impression that your content isn’t worth discussing.


Even worse, it can sometimes make viewers feel like you don’t welcome other opinions on your video.


Think of your YouTube comments section as a party where you're the host. It's your job to get the conversation started so that your guests (viewers) feel comfortable continuing it. The more comments your video already has, the more your viewers are likely to keep commenting and replying to current comments.


If you're not sure where or how to start, consider building up a foundation of viewer engagement through subscribers, likes, comments, and comment likes in order to encourage new audiences to participate.


Again, the more comments your video has, the more likely you are to receive even more comments. Before you know it, your video engagement will be higher than ever before!


Start A Conversation


Aerial view of woman using a laptop


So now that you’ve built up a foundation of subscribers, likes, comments, and comment likes, it’s time to keep the conversation going!


If you're not sure where to begin, don't worry - and don't be shy! Remember, you're the host here, so it's your responsibility to get the conversation started. Your viewers want to hear from you!

Many YouTubers end their videos by asking their audience a question and encouraging them to comment below with their answer.


This ensures that your viewers have an idea of what to say, rather than forcing them to come up with their own questions, comments, or ideas.

Ask your audience about their experiences, opinions, and struggles - you’ll be surprised by how many will respond! Be sure to keep the questions relevant to your content, as the comments section plays an important role in YouTube SEO.


You can also add the question you mentioned in your video, or additional questions and prompts, to a pinned comment. This way, your conversation starter will be the first thing that new visitors see when they scroll through the comments on your video.


Not sure what kind of questions to ask? No problem! Even a simple pinned comment with a greeting to your viewers, some timestamps, and a brief description is enough to help start your comments section.

Here's an example of a strong pinned comment with some timestamps and a friendly greeting:

YouTube pinned comment screenshot


Let your personality shine through and the rest will follow!


Online Etiquette


How to get higher engagement on YouTube

Interacting with your audience can be tricky, especially if you begin receiving negative or offensive comments on your videos. Regardless of your content or personality, negative comments are inevitable - so don't let them get to you!


It’s important to consider every comment as feedback on your content. Good or bad, a comment is valuable to your brand.

Respond to every comment as if you were responding to a friend - be relaxed, friendly, and kind.


If a commenter expresses that they disliked your content, ask them why - you’ll find that many times they can provide you with valuable feedback that you can use to improve and grow.

Of course, offensive or violent comments should be removed and reported as per YouTube's Community Guidelines. Don't let rude viewers spoil the fun for everyone!


You can also create a blacklist of words to filter comments preemptively. That way, the most offensive or unnecessarily rude comments don't even have to cross your path. And if you receive consistently offensive comments from the same user, you can even block a commenter from your channel altogether.


A fun way of interacting with your audience can be done through shoutout campaigns.


At the end of each video, you can display the top (or favorite) comment from your previous video, and give a shoutout to the viewer who posted it.


This will provide your viewers with a reason to comment - free exposure is always a great motivator! You can offer to share their Instagram handle, YouTube channel name, or other social media info as a way to spread the love and use your platform to lift up others.


However you choose to interact with your commenters, make sure it's authentic, friendly, and appropriate.


Staying Positive


Man browsing a tablet device


Interacting with your audience can be tricky, but done correctly you can see some amazing results.
Don’t worry if your channel engagement starts off slow - everything is a learning process and we are all beginners when we start out.


Even the most popular channels started from scratch, so stay consistent, positive, and friendly and you’ll be sure to see your channel grow over time.


While you wait to see the results of your efforts, why not create a welcoming channel and take your engagement to the next level by building up a foundation of subscribers, views, likes, comments, and more!


Reach your social media goals today
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