How to Develop an Ongoing Relationship with Your YouTube Viewers and Fans

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now at Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | iBook | IndieBound

Once you get people to watch just one of your videos, you’ll want to make it easy for them to watch your other videos as well. This can be done in the videos themselves, on your YouTube channel page, via email announcements of new videos, and announcements on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

Remember that every video you produce should contain some type of call to action, a request for your viewers to do something immediately. This call to action must be accompanied by a reward. For example, say something like, “To save $50 on your first order, click here to visit our website.”

You can add a direct call to action to a video in several ways:

  • Add a message inviting people to watch your other videos.
  • Embed easy-to-find links to your other videos in each of your videos and on your channel page.
  • Encourage your viewers to like and rate your videos.
  • Make it easy to share your videos via online social networks or email by activating the “Share” function.
  • Ask viewers for ideas for future video topics, so they feel like they’re part of the creative process.
  • Ask specific questions and encourage viewers to post their video responses. You can also ask survey questions or solicit feedback. For example, if you’re using a YouTube video to showcase a new product, ask people to post their thoughts on the product itself or their own ideas for how they would use it.
  • Ask fans, customers, prospects, or followers to send you questions via email, Facebook, or Twitter, and answer the most common questions in upcoming videos. When you do this, be sure to credit the questioner. For example, start with “Bob Smith from White Plains, New York, asks. . .”
  • Encourage people to visit your website, read your blog, visit your Facebook page, and follow you or your business on Twitter.

If you use YouTube video to communicate with your potential or existing customers, it is essential that you publish your contact information in conjunction with your videos. However, only do so in your videos and/or on your YouTube channel page if you intend to respond quickly and, potentially, personally. Alternatively, simply ask your viewers, fans, and subscribers to post comments related to your videos via YouTube, and make it clear that you read them all.

When it comes to your overall online presence, think synergy. Promote your YouTube videos and channel through your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc., and at the same time provide links and mentions of your other online activities in your videos and on the page of your YouTube channel, as well as in your videos. You’ll likely find, however, that it’s easier and more effective to engage with your audience through a Facebook page or Twitter feed.

One thing to avoid when interacting with your YouTube audience is engaging “haters” or “trolls” – people who constantly post negative or hateful comments about you, your business, or your videos. Responding to these people in a public or private forum often leads to an escalation of their behavior. If you determine that someone is simply trying to be a nuisance by posting negative information, delete their comments and do not respond to them.

Of course, if any of your viewers, customers, or potential customers have a legitimate complaint, address them individually by phone or email. But be aware that there are many haters on YouTube who simply make a habit of posting negative and potentially reputation-damaging comments on the service for no good reason.

Determine who in your audience has influence

Use tools available online, such as a service called klout or simply by looking at the number of friends your viewers, fans, or followers have in conjunction with their own Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, you can see firsthand the influence each person has on others in cyberspace.

As you strive to promote your videos and YouTube channel, analyze your audience, figure out who the influencers are, and try to satisfy them through direct contact. At the same time, consider who produces videos that are similar in purpose or content to yours, as well as YouTube channels that cater to the same target audience, even if their content is very different from what you offer.

Besides looking at video content, production quality and approach, pay attention to how they are promoted, what keywords are used and who their target audience is.

You can find similar videos using a keyword search on YouTube itself, or you can use a service like Pixability to help you find videos that are somehow related to yours, or have a similar target audience.

Shirley K. Rosa