YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. More than half of consumers expect to spend more time on the video-sharing platform this year.

Despite its meteoric rise in popularity, YouTube’s influence has slipped under many marketers’ radar. While 51% of consumers are turning their attention to YouTube in 2022, only 35% of marketers are investing in the platform. Now is the time to take advantage of the whitespace and turn up the heat on your YouTube strategy.

A graph from the Sprout Social Index™ that reads, "The top platforms consumers and brands anticipate using most in the next 12 months." Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are the top five platforms.

If you want to take your channel to the next level, you must be proactive about connecting with viewers and subscribers alike.

From responding to questions and comments to crowdsourcing content ideas, the benefits of an active channel can’t be overstated. Cultivating a brand community is crucial for your channel’s long-term growth.

In this article, we’ll help you create a game plan for YouTube community management so you can build and maintain a successful presence for the long haul. Let’s dive in.

Why YouTube channel management matters

As your social media users consume more and more video content, having a YouTube presence is more than just a box to check in your broader social strategy.

Ultimately, effective YouTube channel management increases your visibility. As the world’s second-largest search engine, the YouTube algorithm ranks content based on relevancy. The more comments and interactions a video receives, the more likely it is to rise in the rankings and signal that your content is worthwhile. This results in greater YouTube viewership and subscribers over time.

Publishing videos and calling it a day isn’t an option. Your channel needs examples of positive interactions between you and your community to nurture views and build loyalty.

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What do YouTube channel managers do?

YouTube community management represents everything related to interacting with and growing your audience on the platform. Here’s an overview of the tasks YouTube channel managers perform.

Launch and optimize content

Managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of running a YouTube channel, like creating a content calendar and publishing videos.

Like this job description from Blizzard Entertainment shows, the role also includes monitoring audience sentiment and generating analytics reports.

A YouTube community manager job description from Blizzard Entertainment that lists the role responsibilities in a bulleted list.

Managers then use the reports to evaluate their content and make real-time adjustments to their video strategy. By paying close attention to your audience’s reaction to your videos, you can optimize your video topics, length and frequency. Keep reading to learn more about how to conduct a YouTube channel audit.

Serve as community moderators

YouTube viewers are encouraged to make their voices heard. Unless you’re outright deleting comments or hiding your videos’ like-to-dislike ratio, how people feel about your content is always front-and-center.

Viewers will use your comments section as a forum for asking customer service questions and providing feedback about your brand. Channel managers should promptly and thoughtfully respond.

As this YouTube Channel Manager job description from Upwork demonstrates, this company is looking for a manager to “own all communication” and “respond to user feedback.”

A YouTube Channel Manager job description from Upwork. The responsibilities are listed in a bulleted list.

Of course, you don’t need to respond to every comment if you’re a bigger channel or strapped for time. For the sake of efficiency, prioritize personalized responses for more pressing questions and use canned responses for neutral or simple comments.

Build relationships with viewers

Replying to people who comment on your videos is a good start, but your effort to build relationships with your fans shouldn’t stop there. To go the extra mile, consider how you can turn comments and feedback into content.

For example, many brands conduct Q&As or live streams where questions and feedback drive videos themselves. Some creators will also incorporate comments from previous videos on-screen.

In this Social Media and Community Manager job description from Bluevine, they call out the importance of developing a community engagement and growth strategy that is grounded in understanding audience behavior.

A social media and community manager job description from Bluevine that lists job responsibilities in a bulleted list under the heading "What You'll Do."

YouTube channel managers should get to know their audience. Learn as much as you can, from what delights them to what confuses them. Use your intel to deepen your relationship and inform your overall content strategy.

How to master YouTube channel management

Below we’ve broken some key tips to maximize engagement as part of your community management efforts.

Whether you’re starting a channel from scratch or have an existing community to connect with, these tips will help you grow and scale your audience.

Start with a content plan (before you launch your channel)

A consistent content plan is key to success on YouTube. If you haven’t launched your channel yet, take time to create a content calendar before you do. Define your goals. Research YouTube trends you’d like to incorporate. Determine your posting cadence (and stick to it). Repeat these rituals on a quarterly or monthly basis.

A reliable content plan will help you set expectations for your audience. They will know when you will be rolling out new content, which helps you engage them more effectively.

While you don’t need to post everyday, the more frequently you upload new videos, the higher your engagement rates and view counts will be.

Take National Geographic’s YouTube Channel, for example. They post new videos on a regular basis, which has helped them accrue over 20.4 million subscribers and reach over 20,000 views on most videos.

A screenshot of National Geographic's YouTube channel. There are 10 YouTube video thumbnails shown. The images vary from a chicken to overhead views of National Parks to sharks.

Avoid sacrificing quality for quantity, though. Develop a consistent cadence you can maintain with your team and resources.

Nurture relationships with viewers

If someone leaves a valuable comment or feedback on your brand’s video, you should respond in a meaningful way. Rather than simply saying, “thank you,” take the time to write a thoughtful reply. This will not only deliver a positive experience for that viewer, but will also let other audience members know you care about your community.

However you decide to respond to comments, make sure you let your personality shine. Note three out of four YouTube users seek out content that’s “genuine, authentic and relatable.” Rather than present yourself as a faceless brand, you have a chance to make a meaningful impression on your viewership.

A screenshot of Solo Stove's comment section. The Solo Stove account is answering three questions from curious viewers.

Maximize the reach of great conversations between you and your community by pinning comments. Pinned comments are static exchanges that sit atop your comment section.

Pinned comments can help facilitate community discussion and consolidate comments into a single thread that’s easy to monitor. For example, REI’s Miranda in the Wild!! channel pinned this comment to highlight positive feedback on a recent video. The comment received 524 likes and 10 replies.

A screenshot of a pinned comment from REI's Miranda in the Wild!! channel. The comment is praising the video for how well it shares relevant content that this viewer cares about.

You can also use pinned comments to tease upcoming video topics, hype up giveaways, remind your audience of events and pose questions.

Take advantage of YouTube’s Community tab

There is a ton of different YouTube features to help businesses and brands keep in touch with their communities. For example, the aptly named “Community” tab.

Reserved for accounts with 500+ subscribers, the Community tab is a publishing and discussion hub on YouTube that allows you to go back and forth with viewers. The Community tab is like a newsfeed you’d see on Facebook or Twitter.

For example, brands can publish updates, announcements and polls to the tab.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to using the Community tab. You have creative freedom to engage in the ways that work best for your subscribers.

Having trouble getting started? Use one of these ideas to guide you.

Some brands, like Khan Academy, repost popular videos in their Community tab as an extra resource.

A screenshot of Khan Academy's Community Tab. In the image, you can see one video thumbnail and description. The video is titled HOW to study.

Other brands like Chewy use polls as a playful way to gain insights from their community and ignite discussions.

A screenshot of a poll in Chewy's community tab that asks "What's your most-wanted pet Halloween costume?"

Analyze key takeaways from Community tab discussions and polls to inform your engagement and content strategies moving forward.

Commit to a regular channel audit cadence

A YouTube channel audit can help you assess how your channel is performing and identify opportunities to grow your audience. When conducting your audit, you should:

  • Complete and update your profile
  • Dig into YouTube audience data
  • Evaluate your content
  • Check and optimize your channel for search
  • Conduct competitive research

Some of the best feedback for your audit will come from your audience. You might see recurring compliments and requests that influence your content, like this feedback on Salesforce’s video.

A screenshot of positive comments on one of Salesforce's most recent YouTube videos.

On the flip side, you might notice negative or constructive comments. Don’t shy away from them. Feedback like “Your mic is too low” or “This video is way too short” is invaluable for improving your content in the future.

You should also keep an eye on your like-to-dislike ratios to better understand which pieces of content are resonating with your audience and which aren’t.

Once you complete your audit, let your audience know their input matters to you. For example, highlight how you’re incorporating content requests in your next video. This demonstrates that you’re delivering what your YouTube community wants to see—which builds trust and loyalty.

Like your posting cadence, you should perform audits on a regular basis.

Cross-promote your YouTube content

Remember: Your video marketing strategy doesn’t start and end on YouTube. Your video strategy is a cross-channel effort that can help you promote your YouTube channel.

Find ways to repurpose your YouTube videos into short-term snippets on other platforms, and invite social followers to check out the full videos on YouTube. If you have hundreds or thousands of followers elsewhere, bringing them into the fold of your YouTube community will help raise awareness and grow your channel.

Use a tool like Sprout Social’s publishing tool to cross-post your YouTube content between networks. This will help you stick to your content calendar and keep your followers informed at every touchpoint.

A screenshot of Sprout Social's Publishing Calendar. In the image, you can see a weekly view of upcoming social content, including YouTube videos.

Manage your YouTube channel with care

If you’re investing in growing your YouTube channel, you’re on the right track. YouTube is growing at an incredible rate and many brands are missing out.

The sooner you can build your strategy and start publishing, the better. Your audience wants to connect with you. Stay tuned in with them by making sure you’re actively involved in YouTube community management.

If you need help getting your video content calendar off the ground, check out these YouTube video ideas to inspire your brand’s channel.