How Businesses Can Prepare in Advance for YouTube Community

Oct 06, 2016

YouTube recently introduced its new Community tab, a feature which helps channel owners interact with viewers outside of uploaded video content. As a post on the YouTube Creator Blog explains, “Now you can do things like text, live videos, images, animated GIFs and more, giving you easier, lightweight ways to engage with your fans more often in between uploads, in real time.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the new feature is currently only available to a select group of YouTube creators such as Lilly Singh, the Vlogbrothers, and The Game Theorists, who consequently also helped Google’s online video site create the Community tab offerings. But just because the Community tab isn’t yet available to your business’s channel doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead on how to best use the feature.

And plan you should. The Community tab has the potential to fix a lot of YouTube’s problems, while also offering new marketing opportunities to brands and companies running their own channels. For example, YouTube Community could be a way the site is trying to combat the idea that it’s just a temporary destination for entertainment as opposed to a serious social platform (it didn’t help when YouTube tried integrating Google+ into its comments in 2013, a move met with severe backlash).

By building a native social destination within the platform, YouTube is encouraging users to stick around and engage with the content on the site instead of passively consuming it. What this means for your business is that you should be thinking now, before Community is widely available, about how you can use the feature. It’s likely going to help you increase your watch time, view counts, and more, while also providing you a new way to drive traffic to your website, blog, or product pages.

Here are several preparation ideas on how to leverage the upcoming YouTube Community tab for your business:

  • Share business updates: You can use the upcoming text ability of Community to share updates on your company’s latest news. If your goal is to keep subscribers around on your channel for longer, you can post a longer update in the Community tab. Alternatively, if you want to capture leads for a new product or drive traffic to your own website, you can simply post a quick snippet in Community and provide a link where subscribers can learn more.
  • Conduct a poll or ask a question: Need feedback from your customers on a new product idea? Curious about their thoughts on your latest release? If so, treat the Community tab as you would any other social platform online and conduct a poll or ask your followers a question to help you make business decisions and receive feedback. It will be a fantastic chance for you to interact with your subscribers on YouTube, and instead of having to crawl through comments one-by-one, you’ll have direct responses to your prompts right within the Community tab.
  • Use live streaming to your advantage: One of the neat features about Community is that any of your subscribers using the YouTube app on their phones can opt to receive push notifications of new posts. You’ll also be able to live stream using the Community tab. Combine the two and you have a plethora of ways to use live streaming to engage your subscribers, such as announcing a new product, conducting a giveaway, providing a behind-the-scenes tour, etc.
  • Suggest videos to watch: If you wished some of your videos could be seen by more viewers, the Community tab will be a way to make that happen. In a post, you will be able to draw attention to older or more recent videos made by your business you feel your audience would enjoy. This tactic will be especially useful if you don’t have news to report and need filler content, or if you need to draw attention to a particular video on a repeated basis (like promoting a clip about purchasing your latest product before a sale ends).

Your business is likely to benefit from the YouTube Community tab once it’s available. Sure, you probably have communities built up elsewhere, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even “hipper” platforms like Periscope and Snapchat. But if your business places any emphasis on regular video updates to your channel, you’ll want to start viewing YouTube as more than just a place to host your videos. The Community tab could very well become one of the best ways for you to engage with your audience in the future.