50 Free Ways To Grow Your YouTube Channel Subscribers And Views
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YouTube presents a huge opportunity to business owners who are willing to take the plunge into video marketing. Think about this recent stat from eMarketer: While 41% of US small businesses use Facebook, only 9% use YouTube. While video can provide a serious boon when it comes to engagement for your business, the competition – at least in terms of other commercial enterprises – isn’t as fierce as on some other major social networks.
This article outlines 50 free ways to grow your YouTube channel subscribers as well as increase video views and engagement.
1. Upload new videos regularly, and preferably on a schedule. If your audience comes to expect a new video every Tuesday, they’ll look forward to Tuesdays! When you upload a new video, those who have subscribed to your channel will receive a notification (which helps trigger new views).
2. Post each of your YouTube videos on Facebook using Facebook’s native video uploader (Fact: Facebook videos now get more engagement than shared YouTube video links). Include a call-to-action within the Facebook video post to “check out my other videos on YouTube” with a link to your YouTube channel.
3. Keep your video titles to 50 characters or less. Any longer, and your title will get cut off, decreasing the chances it will get clicked in search.
4. Embed your YouTube videos on your blog and promote them to your social media audience. This will not only increase video views, it will increase your site’s pageviews.
5. Try keeping your videos to around 3 minutes. Research by Buffer Social shows the ideal length of a YouTube video is 2 minutes and 54 seconds.
6. When choosing keywords for your videos, run a quick Google search to see if there are video results for those keywords. If there are, your video has a better chance of ranking in search.
7. Organize your videos in topical playlists. Use relevant keywords to give your playlists more potential for ranking in search.
8. Include an intro for all your videos. Your intro is where you have a captive audience. Use it to present the content of your video while also reminding viewers they can subscribe to your channel.
9. Use relevant keywords in your title and description so your video has the best chance of showing up in YouTube and Google search results.
10. Include your YouTube video URL when embedding it on your blog. Adding the URL manually may increase clicks to your YouTube channel….and may just lead to your visitors sticking around to check out your other videos.
11. Create a captivating channel trailer to introduce yourself and let viewers know what you’re all about. Your trailer will autoplay when a non-subscriber arrives at the homepage of your channel, so it could be your one chance to convince people to stick around and get to know you.
13. Create evergreen video content as well as trending video content. Trending videos are great for getting short-term views, but your channel should also contain timeless, useful videos that your subscribers will find helpful over the long haul. These videos tend to rank well in Google search results over time, driving traffic and views over the long-haul.
14. Include subscribe buttons on your blog, especially next to your embedded videos.
15. Long-tail keyword search isn’t just important for your written content. Don’t be afraid to write long, detailed video descriptions so Google can find your video for relevant and highly-specific long-tail phrases.
17. Ask viewers to like your videos. When your video gets a lot of likes, it signals to YouTube that your video is popular, helping bump it up in YouTube search results.
18. Reply to comments left under your videos (even negative ones). It shows you’re listening and that you care about what your viewers have to say.
19. Work with other YouTubers to promote each other’s content. Create co-branded videos or promote each other’s videos via your other marketing channels.
20. Engage your most loyal fans. Look through your Creator Dashboard and Analytics to identify users who are most engaged with your content. Consider reaching out to them and asking them to share your videos with their fans, friends or communities.
22. Show the personal side of your business. People love seeing behind-the-scenes videos and bloopers to know there are real people behind your brand.
23. Promote your videos to your email subscribers. Direct them to embedded videos on your site to increase both video views and pageviews.
24. Invest a significant amount of energy into getting subscribers. Just as your email list is your website’s most valuable asset, your YouTube subscribers are your channel’s biggest asset.
25. Use YouTube’s autocomplete feature to find popular keywords for your video titles. Start typing out the topic or theme of your video, and see what words or phrases YouTube automatically suggests.
26. Leverage the connection between Google+ and YouTube by using Hangouts On Air. Your Hangouts will automatically be recorded and uploaded to YouTube, naturally cross-promoting your Google+ and YouTube accounts.
27. Use a keyword suggestion tool like Ubersuggest to find relevant long-tail keywords to use in your video titles and descriptions.
28. Optimize your YouTube channel for search. It’s important to make sure your channel is optimized, not just your videos. Here is a great primer on how to get your channel ranking for your chosen keywords.
29. Use YouTube video transcripts to help the search engines find and index more relevant keywords.
30. Include a YouTube video in a popup box on your website. A tool like Video LightBox can help.
31. Aim to write video descriptions that are between 300-500 words. This is long enough to provide a detailed description of your video, but short enough that it won’t be overly burdensome to read.
32. Use tags liberally. It may be best to use your keyword tags first, as some people believe that YouTube gives more weight to the first tags.
33. If you want a better chance of your videos ranking in Google search results, try using the word “video” in your title. While this won’t help with YouTube search rankings, it may give you an advantage in the search engines.
34. Promote your channel, not just your videos. Just like your individual website pages benefit from the increased rankings of your entire site (and vice versa), the rankings of your videos increase as your channel authority increases.
35. More isn’t always better. Periodically cull your outdated or unsuccessful videos to keep your channel as fresh and appealing as possible.
36. Create an eye-catching custom thumbnail to help you stand apart in the search results. Here’s how to do it.
37. Transcribe popular videos in multiple languages. If you’re targeting users in multiple countries or languages, this strategy can help increase your chances of ranking for multi-language search queries.
38. Use close-up photos in your thumbnail images. While detailed photos may look better when expanded, close-up images may be most eye-catching in the search results.
39. Periodically mention your videos in your blog posts. You don’t have to make a big deal out of every video you post, but casually mentioning, “Hey, here’s a recent video I made about this topic” can be helpful both for increasing views and for providing value to your visitors.
40. Create a video response to someone else’s popular video. Let the creator know about your response, and they may share it with their audience!
41. Add closed captioning and subtitles to your videos. Not only does this help your international and hard of hearing viewers, it adds more keywords that Google and YouTube can use to figure out what your videos are about.
42. Use featured channels to cross-promote with another user. Find a complimentary channel in your niche, and ask the owner if he or she would like to feature your channel on their page (and offer to do the same).
43. Consistently add unique, valuable content. This may be obvious, but it’s important to focus on adding videos that offer a unique or interesting perspective on a topic. Don’t rehash topics that have been done a thousand times before…think about how you can add value to the conversation.
44. Use this simple trick to add a subscribe popup box to your user and subscribe pages.
45. Post holiday-themed videos in the weeks preceding a major holiday (e.g., “How to cook the perfect turkey” right before Thanksgiving).
46. Increase interactions in your comments by responding to and thanking commenters. The more interactions your videos get, the better your rankings.
47. Use annotations to encourage viewers to watch complimentary or related videos.
48. Create spin-off videos to capitalize on trending content. Take advantage of popular and trending searches by creating videos that will rank for these trending keywords. Google Trends can help you figure out which ones to target.
49. Link building isn’t just for written content. Work at attracting and building natural, authoritative links to your YouTube videos, both on your own site and on other sites. This greatly helps improve your videos’ rankings in Google search results.
50. Comment on other people’s videos. Be part of the YouTube community to form relationships and spread the YouTube love. Leave thoughtful remarks and ask intelligent questions, and your views and subscribers will increase organically!
Bonus: 3 Paid Ways to Grow Your YouTube Subscribers
51. Pay for Facebook ads to send relevant traffic to your most popular videos or to your YouTube channel homepage.
52. Pay for StumbleUpon Ads (which are cheap – usually $0.10 to $0.15 cents per click) to send traffic to your most popular videos or your YouTube channel homepage.
53. Pay for Twitter Ads to promote your most popular videos or your YouTube channel homepage.
When using paid ads, make sure you have a clear and enticing call to action so you get as many subscribers from your ads as possible.
What would you add to this list? What are your best tips for increasing YouTube channel subscribers and views?