YouTube comments are a great way to engage with your audience. As we said in our blog How to choose the best social channel for your video, posting your videos on YouTube is a great way to raise awareness of your goods or services. But that’s only the start of the process. In this blog, we look at why you need a comments strategy for your YouTube videos and how you put one in place.
YouTube isn’t just a place to watch videos. People also use it to interact and comment on what they watch. This might be with the person who posts the video or with other viewers. Like all social media channels, it is a two-way street. If you want to use YouTube to raise awareness about your brand and what you sell, you need to build a relationship with your audience. The comments section can play a big part in this.
Research by Tubular Insight estimates that with a few exceptions, every video with 5,000 or more comments has at least one million views. True, this is a bit chicken and egg as you need the views to get the comments but the point is that views and comments go hand in hand. YouTube is an excellent place to host videos that are at the awareness stage of your customer journey. This might be a video version of your elevator pitch, for example. This type of video is likely to be more about your brand and values than your specific products or services. At this stage of the journey, you are trying to get your video seen by as many people as possible. The comments you (and other people make) can encourage people to re-watch the video, watch it all the way all the way through or share it with other people.
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Just gaining views isn’t the only the reason to have a comments strategy, though. Another is that the comments you post give you the chance to amplify the messages in your video, reaffirm your brand values and direct viewers to more of your content. Now you need a strategy. Here are 5 ways to put in place a comments strategy for your YouTube videos.
Post your own comments
YouTube videos without any comments look a little sad and people may be shy to kick off them off. There is nothing wrong with you starting the conversation. It shows that you are open to feedback and encourages viewers to interact with you. It also gives you the chance to direct what people talk about. The most important thing to remember is to be authentic and add personality. No one will bother to engage in a conversation with a generic, boring brand.
Reply to comments promptly – ideally within an hour or two
We should say here that you will need to look at your comments settings. These let you hold all comments until you have reviewed them or you can allow all comments to be posted immediately. You can also blacklist certain users or specific words and phrases. It is important to respond promptly while the video is fresh in the commenter’s mind. You want the conversation to gain momentum so don’t hang around.
Answer constructive criticism
There are no hard and fast rules about what comments you allow but you need to be conscious of how you deal with critics and trolls. Commenters with constructive criticism should be welcomed. By replying to them you show your authenticity and that you take viewers’ comments seriously. This will give a positive view of your brand.
You should probably have a policy of dealing with abusive trolls as they can discourage people from engaging. Having said that, YouTube’s algorithm puts the top comments first so the chances are that unless you have a high troll to comments ratio these won’t be seen anyway (unless someone is determined to read all the comments from top to bottom).
When you respond to comments you have the opportunity to forward links to your website or other videos that may deal with issues raised. This is a chance to send potential buyers further along the customer journey and should be part of your blended approach to video marketing. Even if you don’t respond to each comment, a simple thumbs up shows that you are listening. All these are steps will help build a community around your brand.
Use your videos to fuel the conversation
You should think of your videos as the opening gambit in the conversation. You can use them to ask for comments, likes or for people to subscribe to your channel. You can also get feedback on what types of videos the audience would like to see in future. Another thing you can do is showcase in your videos specific comments you have received. Shouting out to individuals is a fantastic way to add a personal touch. You could even include your biggest fans in a future video or invite them to submit their own videos.
Reward your community and build deeper engagement
You can reward your loyal fans’ in a variety of ways. One way is to produce exclusive content that is unlisted or private and only available to subscribers. Jamie Oliver did this to give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his daily life. Another is to offer exclusive giveaways or competitions (although be aware that YouTube doesn’t allow you to offer a reward in return for likes or comments).
Produce great videos
It sounds obvious but the better the video, the more likely you are to attract comments. (Actually, that’s not strictly true. Controversial videos are good for gaining attention, too.) As a rule of thumb, though, an outstandingly produced video that tells a good story and grabs people’s emotions is a good place to start.
To discuss how Element 26 can help your business manage its YouTube channel, contact Nathan Haines at firstname.lastname@example.org.