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How to use Social Media to grow your YouTube Channel


If wielded well, social media can be a powerful tool. It can reach new audiences, boost your old videos, and might even make your video go viral. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first start with what doesn’t work. We’ll get to what works later, down to the strategy for each section.

3 Ways that DON’T work

  1. Relying on just Automation. You can easily run a social media account for your YouTube channel by simply automatically letting a bot post all your updates. This is most commonly done with IFTTT. Doing this won’t grow your YouTube channel however. Because a twitter feed that is just posting your videos every couple days is just plain boring. It may have some value to existing subscribers who for some reason prefer to be notified via twitter, but for everyone else it’s just spam. You also aren’t reaching any new audience with this.
  2. Replying to everything and everyone. Social media is great to get talking to strangers. But it also is easy to get carried away: If you start chatting with folks all day long, you might find some new followers and maybe even friends – but these people aren’t inherently interested in your videos. So going for this strategy is at best very inefficient, and at worst will make you procrastinate your day away instead of working on your videos.
  3. Self-Promotion on Reddit, Discord and Facebook groups. This is especially true when using channels or communities that are aimed towards creators, and towards self-promotion. In essence, you’re just not reaching any audience in these places, you’ll only reach other creators who also want to share their content. It’s like you’re a plumber at the world plumber’s conference asking around if anyone needs a leak fixed. It’s just pointless.
    Now, it is possible to promote your content in places where your audience is. However, it’s more difficult than just finding the right community and posting your video link – actually, let’s make an entire section on this

Promoting your Videos in Reddit/Discord/Facebook Communities

As we’ve established above, you shouldn’t promote your videos in self-promotion communities. But where else should you? The answer is probably as simple as it is obvious: In communities that are about your content. If you make beauty content, share your video in beauty tips communities. Outdoor content might fit well in outdoor, nature and maybe even fitness communities, or communities about the place you visited.

Outside of being a great place to share content, these communities also are a place for you to find inspiration and collaboration partners. Maybe another person will talk about an insider tip, only known to locals. Maybe you’ll find people who do great text analyses, which you can use as basis for a video. And maybe it’ll just be a pleasant community to be around.

When looking for communities, you’ll find some with millions of members, all the way down to some with just dozens of members. Sharing in all of them is fair game. More members means more potential viewers, but it might also mean less focus and more competition. This means for example that if you share a video about a specific brand of shoes in a general shoe community and a community for just that brand, it may get way more views from the brand-specific one, even if the brand community is orders of magnitude smaller.

… but it’s not always so simple

So, assuming you have a video about a game, you might go for the subreddit and discord that is about the game – and quickly find your video get ignored, downvoted to hell, or worse, removed by a moderator. What happened? The problem is twofold:

On one hand, your video might be something the community sees every day. Especially in the gaming genre, chances are, if you’re doing any sort of video series of you playing one game, there’s dozens of others doing it, too. This makes your video rather redundant, and also not very interesting. This even can still be true if you only collect the highlights: In the grand scheme of things, your highlights may not be super interesting.

On the other hand, the audience you serve with your videos may be different from the community. For example, if you have a maths video that first talks about the basics necessary to understand it and only then has the grand reveal, you may alienate a community mostly consisting of maths professionals. Simply because it’s too simple.

I can’t really offer a solution to the first problem. If your content isn’t interesting to a community, there probably isn’t much you can do. Some content just isn’t super shareable, like personal vlogs. As an aside, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should switch up the format. Hub content (or anything optimized primarily towards subscribers and seriality in the SEE-NTS model) is very useful to keep subscribers happy and turn subscribers into fans. You just won’t reach many new people with it.

For the second problem there is a solution though, which is applicable not only to communities, but social media in general.

Create Teasers for your Content

Social media sites have recognized that images are better than links, so they automatically try to embed one when you share a link. But what’s better than still images? Moving images! This means that if you share your video on social media, you may want to use a short video clip or GIF from the video along with it.

As for what clip to share, there is a range of options:

  • The part most relevant to the community. If your full video wouldn’t do well in a community because they expect something that only is a small part of your video, share it to them! You won’t lose out on views, since the full video wasn’t really appreciated by that community anyway. It’s not the most effective, but you’d still get your name (and maybe even some nice backlinks for SEO purposes) out there.
  • Trailers. Just like you can do a trailer for a movie, you can make a trailer for a YouTube video. A trailer should state the premise of your video, some clips of what makes it interesting, as well as some funny or memorable lines. In the context of a YouTube video, this may be you laughing hard at something. Or it may be something impressive which makes the viewer want to get the full context of.
  • A meme. This doesn’t need to be the standard internet meme, you can also make part of your content intentionally memeable and try to leverage the creativity of your followers to make the meme somewhat widespread.
  • A distilled, vague version. Something that would work on Tiktok (or even a different YouTube channel for #shorts). It would make sense standalone, but maybe leave some questions open which your full video then would answer. For example, if you did a phone review, using a conclusion as the teaser in the style: “this video is the best phone on the market for it’s price, as long as you don’t mind the big flaws with it’s screen. Why? Watch the full video” might work well.

(there’s another option, but before I get to that, let me first give you some context)

Using Social Media well

You probably know the rules to grow your YouTube channel: Post frequently, find your niche, optimize your content and so on. The very same rules apply to any social media. This is because these rules aren’t necessarily YouTube rules, they’re audience growth rules. You can even apply them to TV shows quite well! So of course, you can use them for your social media as well.

This also is where the point I left out earlier comes back into play:

  • The heart of the content. This is a scary option to choose. You just show the main thing a potential viewer wants to see from your video. Doing so means that your video is entirely redundant and doesn’t need to be watched, since this short clip satisfies all curiosity.

Doing this would be a bad idea in the context of promoting your YouTube channel. You basically are just giving up views and ad revenue for what? Facebook likes? Well, yes! The point of doing this is to grow your social media presence, not just by posting companion pieces to your YouTube channel, but by letting it be valuable even to people who don’t follow you on YouTube.

And perhaps surprisingly, this isn’t a total waste of money. Your new followers might watch your future content, sure, but where this actually gets interesting is brand deals. If you have a million YouTube followers, but no real twitter/Facebook/Instagram presence, it tells brands that you might make good videos, but aren’t a good influencer. That is, a person who gets others to do (and buy) stuff. If you do have lots of followers and also a few viral posts you can point to, you can make increase the pay for brand deals significantly. Speaking of which, don’t undersell yourself! Just maybe use the heart of older videos that don’t get too many views anymore instead of always the latest.

Social Media Strategies

I already touched on a few of them, but here’s some more for completeness sake. This section really is more “how to grow your twitter” or whatever than really YouTube-related, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it might be useful:

  • Use relevant (preferably: trending) hashtags, appropriate for the platform. (few on twitter, more on Instagram)
  • Post regularly.
  • Use automation where applicable.
  • Re-share old content when it’s relevant (dates, events).
  • Engage with your audience and fellow creators in your niche
  • Have every social media account valuable enough on its own to warrant someone to follow

Grow your Brand, not just your Channel

If you employ all the strategies listed above, you’re probably doing that already. The point is, a strong brand across various social media is going to let you reach new audiences, it will get you better sponsorship deals, it will give you a backup net should any one of your social media accounts get terminated, and yes, it’ll help you grow your YouTube channel, too.

It also is a lot of work. So make sure you don’t spread yourself too thinly by trying to run all the social media at once. If necessary, you can hire some additional folks so you don’t have to do everything from pre-production to via production, analytics and marketing to social media management yourself. And while we’re not social media managers, we can help you in other ways. You can consult us for content strategy, help with sponsorship deals, analyzing your channel, and yes, for your social media strategy. Though I suppose if you’ve read this far, you kinda know in general what we’d tell you for your channel specifically. Welp. Maybe we can help you in other ways, too?

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