How to get subscribers on YouTube: tips, inspiration and tools to help
Trying to figure out how to get more subscribers on YouTube?
With over 2 billion monthly active users on the platform, there’s plenty of attention to go around.
That said, competition on YouTube is fierce and building a community of dedicated viewers doesn’t happen by accident. This is especially true for branded channels.
The good news is that there are actionable steps you can take to boost your YouTube subscriber count.
In this guide, we’ll highlight how to get more YouTube subscribers and inspiration for brand channels starting from scratch.
Why do your subscribers on YouTube matter?
Despite popular belief, your YouTube subscribers represent more than just a vanity metric. Below are some key reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on growing your subscriber count:
Greater reach and audience engagement
The more subscribers you have, the more views you’re likely to score on any given video.
Accounts with bigger subscriber numbers experience a sort of snowball effect. That is, their videos receive more views and engagement and therefore are more likely to get recommended to others.
Simple, right? Although subscribers don’t guarantee views outright, anything you can do to increase your view count is a plus in the eyes of the YouTube algorithm.
Full access to YouTube’s business growth features
Keep in mind that there are a few features of YouTube that are exclusive to brands that’ve managed to grow their subscriber base.
For example, you need at least 1,000 subscribers to access the YouTube Partner Program to fully monetize your account. This represents a key milestone for fresh branded channels to achieve.
If nothing else, figuring out how to get more YouTube subscribers goes hand in hand with boosting your brand’s authority.
Think about it. Simply having more subscribers signals you as a serious player in your space. Likewise, a larger subscriber count opens you up to more opportunities to collaborate with influencers and other industry partners.
How to get more subscribers on YouTube in 8 steps
Growing your YouTube following is a long-term process. Bigger numbers don’t happen overnight.
Below are some key tips to help you get more YouTube subscribers and build the foundation of an engaged following.
1. Focus on revving up your upload frequency
No surprises here: consistency counts on YouTube.
While brands shouldn’t sacrifice quality for quantity, it’s no secret that brands with more frequent uploads typically see more engagement and high view counts. Companies like Sephora boast big numbers (including 1.31 million subscribers) thanks to their near-daily upload frequency.
But smaller brands don’t need to pump out video after video in pursuit of more subscribers. Instead, come up with a consistent content calendar and stick to your schedule. If you fail to upload frequently or go months without publishing content, you may get labeled as a “dead” channel.
Also, consider that one of the key incentives of subscribing to a channel is to make sure you never miss a new video. Upping your upload frequency makes that incentive even stronger.
If you’re stuck on “when” or “how often” to upload, look no further than your own analytics.
Tools like Sprout Social can help you not only schedule your YouTube content but also assess which upload times seem to score the most engagement. Based on these numbers, you can come up with a frequency and schedule that makes sense with your bandwidth.
2. Regularly engage with your YouTube community
Interactions with viewers are crucial to increasing your subscriber count.
Because paying attention to your audience shows that you care and likewise want to build a community. Rather than just blast content into the void, interactions with viewers and subscribers alike represent meaningful conversations to help you build your audience base.
Some low-hanging ways to engage with your community include:
- Responding to comments. You’d be surprised how many people will become subscribers or long-term viewers based on a simple reply (see below).
- Listening to channel feedback and suggestions. A passing comment like “Hey, your mic is too low” could have a huge impact on your future videos. Comments can also clue you in on new content ideas that people want to see.
- Featuring subscribers in your videos. From shout-outs to featuring comments within videos, this is a smart way to raise the stakes of becoming a subscriber.
3. Emphasize problem-solving and search-friendly content
Conventional wisdom says that people turn to YouTube because they want to be entertained.
However, note that so much of YouTube’s most popular and engaged content centers around education.
There’s a reason why “how-to” and “what is” content absolutely dominate the platform.
If you want to get more YouTube subscribers and immediately boost your visibility on the platform, creating content around such queries is a smart move. Doing so goes hand in hand with more YouTube views and signaling yourself as a leader in your industry.
If you’re looking for simple social media templates to get started with Creator Studio, check out our free YouTube banners that you can download today!
4. Come up with timely, trendy content ideas
Just like trendspotting is invaluable for social media, the same rings true for YouTube.
If there’s a burning question or heated debate among your followers on social media, chances are it’d make a great topic for a video (think: “Does [x] still work in 2021?”).
Again, listen closely to conversations on YouTube and across your social channels to spot trendy content ideas.
5. Spend time tweaking your YouTube SEO
Keep in mind that YouTube results absolutely dominate Google searches. This is why YouTube SEO is so important for visibility on the platform and getting more subscribers.
Don’t neglect opportunities to include relevant keywords in your titles, descriptions and tags. Integrating keyword-rich videos into your content strategy will ultimately set you up for more subscribers. This playlist from Guitar Center highlights how to master YouTube SEO without being spammy about it:
6. Vary video lengths to figure out what your audience wants
Fact: there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long your YouTube videos should be.
The reality is that video length best practices vary from brand to brand. Although some brands rely on shorter, bite-sized content, other businesses build their community from long-form videos and live streams.
Many big brands with high subscriber counts mix things up with a combo of short-form and long-form videos. Figuring out what your audience wants means looking at your own numbers and experimenting with different video formats.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for subscribers directly
If you want to get more subscribers on YouTube, being shy isn’t going to help.
There are plenty of tasteful, non-spammy ways to ask people to support your channel. This includes:
- Making a passing mention (and visual cue) to subscribe in your intro or outro
- A call-to-action screen or YouTube cards at the end of your video
- A link to subscribe in your video description
8. Promote your content beyond YouTube
Growing your subscriber base on YouTube means tapping into your engaged audience beyond the platform.
That means publishing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any social network in-between.
Tools like Sprout make it a cinch to cross-post your YouTube content across multiple networks when people are most likely to be engaged. Funneling social traffic and converting your existing followers on social media to YouTube is one of the most effective ways to grow your subscriber count.
How to set up your channel to get more YouTube subscribers organically
Below are some tips surrounding your channel setup that can encourage new subscribers beyond direct promotion.
Verify your Google account
If you haven’t already, make sure you verify your Google account. Doing so allows you to upload 12-hour videos up to 256GB in size.
Don’t get Google verification mixed up with YouTube’s own verification badge, though: those are reserved for channels with 100,000+ subscribers. That said, earning the badge is definitely a worthy long-term goal!
Create attractive channel branding
With so many channels and so much competition, effective branding is key to standing out from the crowd.
In short, use eye-popping imagery and spend time customizing the creative elements of your channel. This includes your:
- Banner art
- Channel icon
- Channel description
Add a custom channel trailer
The function of a channel trailer is pretty self-explanatory. Note that YouTube allows you to include two separate trailers on your channel: one for current subscribers and one for non-subscribers.
In short, a customer channel trailer serves as a way to hype up up your content and give prospective subscribers a taste of what you’re all about.
Implement “Sections” on your channel homepage
“Sections” in your YouTube channel allow you to organize playlists and series and put them front-and-center on your homepage.
This is a great place to highlight your best content and signal yourself as a helpful resource to potential subscribers. Implementing sections is particularly useful for brands uploading a wide variety of content that needs to be organized beyond your “Uploads” page.
Use clickable subscription tools within YouTube
As noted earlier, just asking is a no-brainer for getting more YouTube subscribers.
And the platform includes a few features to help you do exactly that. This includes:
- Customized end screens
- Recommended video cards to keep viewers hooked on your channel
- A “subscribe” call-to-action watermark at the end of your videos
Why you should never buy YouTube subscribers
Much like you should never buy Instagram Likes or any other type of social media engagement, the same rings true on YouTube.
We don’t need to lecture you as to why, but as a cautionary tale you should consider the negative impact on your brand such as:
- Violating YouTube’s fake engagement policy, full-stop: this could result in a channel strike or the loss of your account
- Hurting your chances for potential partnerships as other accounts suspect your engagement isn’t legitimate
- Skewing your engagement numbers and making your actual subscribers feel like little more than numbers
Translation? Do not buy YouTube subscribers.
How to check your current YouTube subscriber count
Making all of the tips above work means keeping a close eye on your subscriber count.
As a quick refresher, note that YouTube makes it easy to keep a constant pulse on where your numbers are at. Simply:
- Log into your YouTube account and access YouTube Studio.
- Select “Analytics” on the left-hand side of the screen (on desktop).
- Click on the “Realtime” card in the overview tab to see your current subscriber count and subscribers over time.
We also recommend you check out our guide to YouTube analytics and how to take a deeper dive into your numbers. For example, the platform’s reporting can show you how many of your viewers are subscribers versus non-subscribers:
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
Do you know how to get more YouTube subscribers?
There’s no denying that getting more subscribers requires some serious legwork.
But as video content continues to take over social media and the web at large, having an engaged YouTube community is more valuable than ever.
Sticking to the tips and best practices above can help you build yours sooner rather than later.
And if you haven’t already, make sure to test out a a free 30-day trial to see Sprout’s in-depth publishing and analytics features for YouTube in action.
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