How to Get Subscribers on YouTube: A Complete Guide

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When you check out a YouTube channel, one of the first things you look at is the number of subscribers it has. Having a lot of subscribers creates an impression on most people and makes them want to subscribe. The common mindset is: “Thousands of people find this channel interesting, I’ll find it interesting too.”

YouTube’s ‘view velocity’ ranking, which is the number of views a video gets in the first few hours of its release, can only be obtained if you have lots of subscribers who get notified of every video. It therefore translates that the more subscribers you have, the higher your view velocity is, and the better you’ll rank on YouTube. There are other factors involved but you get the point: you need to get YouTube subscribers. Read on for effective tactics on how to do this.

You have to promote to get subscribers

You shoot a video, edit it, and upload it on YouTube. Don’t congratulate yourself just yet. You’re far from being done. You need to go out there and tell everyone in your niche about your video. There’s no room for timidity, so be aggressive in promoting your video on other social media sites. Cross promotion is an effective way of reaching out to more people, and here are some tips on how to do this:

  • Start with your friends: There’s no better place to start than with your own social media accounts. Ask your Facebook friends to share your videos, Tweet the link to it on Twitter – but do it in a nice way. Don’t tag them, or bombard their feeds with your video promotions every few minutes.

You know how supportive friends and relatives can be, and imagine the number of people all of them can reach.  

  • Engage with your target audience: Get to know your target audience so you’ll know what blogs or sites they usually visit, and comment on those sites. For example, if your channel is all about cooking, find out what websites and blogs cooking enthusiasts frequently visit, and engage with them there.  
  • Do reviews: If your channel focuses on products, or your topic has a lot of books written about it (gardening, cooking, baking, making money), write reviews on related Amazon products and include a link to your YouTube video.
  • Join Facebook groups: You’ll be surprised at how many targeted Facebook groups exist. Just search for your niche in the search box and it will turn up some useful results.
  • Subscribe and post on subreddits: Subreddits are forums dedicated to a certain topic on Reddit, and some draw a lot of people. Take a look at the subreddits on travelling in the image below and take note of the subscriber count of each one.

get youtube subscribers on reddit

  • All you have to do is type in your keyword and you will see a lot of subreddits related to it. When you click on one subreddit, you will be taken to[subreddit].

All these cross-promotion tips have worked for many YouTube channels, and it can work for you too. Work at it aggressively, and look for other platforms where your target audience is hanging out.

If you have the budget, you can promote your YouTube channel by running an ad campaign through Adwords for video. Again, you need to target a specific group of audience in order for any ad campaign to be effective.

Use YouTube hashtags and tags

YouTube hashtags give your videos the opportunity to appear easily in YouTube search results. With the right hashtags, your videos will be more searchable and it will gain more views, thereby attracting more subscribers. YouTube hashtags work differently compared to Twitter and Instagram hashtags since you are allowed up to 15 hashtags, but only three will appear above the video title.

The location of geotagged videos will also replace the hashtags above the title, so think about which link you want to appear in that strategic location.

get youtube subscribers with hastags

Since YouTube hashtags were introduced around the middle of 2018, there is a need to go back to your old videos and add hashtags to increase their searchability, and improve the overall performance of your channel. The more times your videos are found, the more opportunities you have to get subscribers.

Another important factor that increases your video’s searchability is your tag usage. Tags existed way before YouTube hashtags, but they are often overlooked by video creators. This is probably because you need to exert some effort in order to come up with effective YouTube tags before you add them during the uploading process.

How do you know what tags to use? Here are tags that should be present in your videos:

  • Brand-specific tags. These tags enable you to rank for your own brand so that when people search for your brand/channel name on YouTube, your videos will be the first ones in the search results. Once you’re successful, other channels may try to tag themselves with your own name so you need to establish this early.
  • Tags used by competitors. After thinking about brand-specific tags, you also need to look into what tags are being used by the competition. You can use third party apps to do this, but what I’m going to show you is a free method. To see competitor’s tags, open one of their videos and right-click on the page. Make sure that you do this outside the video. Click on “View page source,” and look for the tags by doing CTRL+F and typing in “keywords.”

view youtube source code (1)

  • You will see all the tags that the video creator placed in the video’s tag section. Take note of all these tags, but don’t use them just yet. It’s important to analyze which ones are effective. You can do this by looking at the tags of the top ranking videos of a search phrase and see which tags are common to all of them. When you see one or more tags that are present on almost all of the top videos, then you might want to include them in your tags.

Some people include the names of their famous competitors in the tags so their videos will appear when people search for that competitor’s videos. There are also video creators who use celebrity names as tags. Whatever your tag strategies are, keep in mind that YouTube is against misleading metadata.

Impress your visitors

Numbers matter to a lot of people, and again, one of the things that they are going to look at first is your subscriber count. Having only 18 subscribers will not impress them, so you may need to boost your numbers by buying YouTube subscribers. The more subscribers you have, the more people will be attracted to your channel. Be careful though because there are providers who provide low-quality services. Read our reviews to know which providers offer high quality subscribers and views that can benefit your channel.

Another way to impress your visitors is by designing your channel. You can build a successful channel by customizing it properly and attractively, and making sure that the design reflects your brand personality. Keep in mind that your channel is where your visitors can find out about you and what your videos are all about, so take time to design your YouTube avatar and your channel art.

get youtube subscribers with channel art

You can choose profile pictures for your avatar, but you can also design your own logo which will look more appealing and more professional to visitors. For your channel art or banner, YouTube suggests using 2560 x 1440 pixel image, and the file size must not be more than 4MB.

Another way to impress your visitors is by creating good intro and outro animations. These can work two ways. Intro animations make your viewers stay, or they can make your viewers click on the next video. Outros, on the other hand, can encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel, watch another video of yours, or go to the other videos suggested on the right. Obviously, you want your viewers to do the first two actions.

The components of an intro and outro are background images and music or sounds. There are several intro and outro makers out there, but keep in mind these things when creating an intro and an outro:

  • Keep it short: Analytics show that videos with intros of longer than 20 seconds have a low retention rate compared to those whose intros are only five seconds or less. That’s how short the average attention span of people is.
  • Tell your story: Within five seconds or less, show your audience your brand. It’s tempting to just choose just any image, any music background, and type in any general text. However, it pays to invest time in making intros and outros, no matter how short they are going to be.

Check out the intro and outro of the video above and notice how the channel’s brand is represented in the intro. In the outro, the video creator placed a clickable thumbnail of one of their videos, which will increase their watch time.

Focus on your content strategy with a niche

You need to make sure that your videos address a need or a want, and you can only do this by targeting a specific niche. Don’t try to create content for everyone. That’s impossible anyway because people have different interests. Some people love watching cat videos, while some go to YouTube for specific how-to tutorials.

Therefore, create content that’s targeted to a niche since this will make you a lot more interesting. The more specific your niche, the better your chances are. Take a look at the two YouTube channels in the images below, and notice that although Mind Checker is a year older than 7-Second Riddles, the latter has way more subscribers than Mind Checker.

Mind Checker offers different mind enhancement activities like tests, puzzles, quizzes, and riddles. 7-Second Riddles, on the other hand, focuses on riddles, and 7-second ones at that. There are certainly other strategies that 7-Second Riddles is using to gain subscribers, but targeting is pretty much a major strategy. Instead of targeting “people who are into mind enhancement activities”, they are targeting “people who loves riddles,” and even goes as far as targeting “people who loves short riddles.”

Stick to a posting schedule

Post frequency is also an important factor to get new YouTube subscribers and keep the existing ones interested. You don’t have to post every single day, but you need to establish what days you’ll publish and stick to it. Some video creators do a Tuesday uploading schedule, some post every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while some let their subscribers decide.

Whatever schedule you choose, make sure it’s doable. Sticking on a schedule not only brings in more subscribers, but it also helps you avoid being burnt out.

Start delivering right away

We talked about intro animations earlier and how it should be five seconds or less. Intros are traditionally placed at the very beginning of the video, but doing this can potentially decrease retention rate and watch time since viewers may use those precious few seconds to look at the suggested videos on the right of or below the video.

The first eight to ten seconds of your video are crucial, so you have to get your audience hooked from the very start. How to do this? Start delivering your channel’s promise right away. If you’re a music video creator, start playing music right away. If you’re into how-to videos, start telling what your audience will learn right away. Only then should you insert the intro animation. Look at the most famous videos in your niche and you’ll see this being done more and more.

Add subtitles

YouTube is an international platform, so adding subtitles allows your video to reach more people. You need to have your video transcribed and then add the transcription to your video through the video manager. YouTube also has automatic captioning that are automatically published on the video. Automatic captions are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Don’t let viewers go – create playlists

Watch time is an important metric to make your video rank better and appear more in search results, and the best way to increase this is by creating playlists. This way, your viewers will stay longer on your channel, watching your videos, giving them more time to subscribe.

YouTube allows users to create multiple playlists. There’s no definite number, but some channels have hundreds of playlists. Group your videos according to specific categories such as location, age, and type.

get youtube subscribers with youtube playlists

Food Insider grouped their videos into location and type of food. You can also see a playlist for food challenges and comparisons. Also, there’s no point creating playlists with only two or three videos in it. Make sure that each playlist has 10 or more videos.

Use but don’t overuse annotations

Annotations are oftentimes overused, making viewers ignore them altogether. It even led YouTube to remove them, stating that they are outdated and ineffective in the mobile world. However, YouTube replaced annotations with cards, which you can actually use for annotations.

With end screens and cards, you can create call-to-action and click-to-action annotations, and integrate them with your outro animation. Your annotation must make it easy for viewers to subscribe to your channel.

Complete guide to getting YouTube subscribers

There are so many articles on getting YouTube subscribers, and sometimes you can’t help but be overwhelmed. However, when you examine all these tips, tactics, and proven methods above, all of them sum up to these steps:

  1. Drive traffic to your videos by cross-promoting on other social media sites such as Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. Then run an ad campaign through Adwords for YouTube video if you have the budget.  Don’t forget to increase your video;s searchability by using hashtags and tags.
  2. Once you have that traffic, impress your visitors by designing your channel’s art, buying subscribers, and creating a content strategy.
  3. Keep viewers on your channel by creating playlists.
  4. Finally, make it easy for viewers to subscribe by using annotations properly.

These are the basic steps you need to take in order to grow your YouTube channel. The very first step is to drive traffic because without this, you won’t be able to reach as many people as you want. So be aggressive in your promotion. Don’t be lazy. When your subscriber count goes up, that’s the only time you can sit back and congratulate yourself. However, never stop promoting and creating targeted content.

Date: December 18, 2018 / Categories: Subscribers, / Author: Rich Drees


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