He’s gone off the deep end. He used to post selfies on Instagram, sure, and once he tried to live tweet that episode of Pretty Little Liars because he thought it was a Thing that people do after watching a little too much of Donna in Parks and Rec. But now he’s really crossed the line.
He’s put up a few awkward videos. Maybe one of them even made you laugh.
Like that time he made a video about all his weird #lifegoals.
Maybe he’s even (god forbid) did a story time about some horrible life experience or got drunk on camera.
He’s posted a few times about his channel and his Facebook wall is one video after another and he’s probably asked you to Like his page.
But six months later, he’s still fucking talking about it. He’s all about YouTube (and possibly his blog) but he’s still sitting at 300 subscribers and like 200 followers on Instagram. You probably have more friends on Facebook than he does.
It’s honestly almost pitiful. It’s like he’s got this big dream of being a famous YouTuber someday, but he’s not being practical and realistic and you can’t decide if you want to give him a cookie, a reality check, a hug, or a swift smack to the face.
But you love him. And you want to help him. You just don’t know how.
This is how to support your YouTuber.
First and foremost: just watch
YouTube operates on an algorithm. If your video meets certain criteria, YouTube is far more likely to promote your video to other people and place it highly in search engines.
Your YouTuber is going to have to work his ass off on the video creation side of things – working keywords into his script, choosing a good title and tags, writing out a good video description, and creating a thumbnail that really sticks out and makes the video clickable. And beyond that, he has to optimize his video for everybody who will watch it, so he has to plan his content, make it engaging, edit it well, work on his color grading skills and audio quality and etc.
But the other half of that equation comes from the audience.
He needs watch time. He needs eyeballs – lots of them – to stare at his face while he talks. He needs those people to watch the entire video (even when it’s painful) so that his audience retention score will be high (and so his watch time is up). It’s not just about views – it’s about attention.
He also needs you to hit the thumbs up on every video you watch. He needs you to comment on his videos. He needs you to ask questions and give him praise and even offer suggestions to ‘fix’ his content (more on that later).
If nothing else, do this. Watch his videos. Tell him you watch his videos. Give him that watch time.
As a side note, he also needs you to watch the ads (like, the full, complete ad) because that’s how he gets paid.*
* Unless you’re on mobile. Don’t bother watching ads on mobile.
What do you think?
I went on Twitter and asked my fellow small YouTubers for their best tips on supporting your YouTuber! Lady Sapheira offered a point I didn’t consider: live streams!
Many of us broadcast live on Periscope, Facebook, YouTube, or even YouNow as a way to help us build a following an engage with our audiences, but often we end up talking to ourselves for an hour while we wait for someone to show up.
Don’t let your friends’ live streams be empty! Get on there (even if it’s just for a few minutes) and talk to them!
Subscribers are important on YouTube because they give a certain level of credibility to a YouTuber. Social media is all about social proof. If you’ve got a lot of subscribers, you’re going to look more popular (and thus more talented, valuable, entertaining, etc.) than someone with fewer.
And it is a numbers game. Even those of us who focus heavily on creating (rather than numbers) still get wrapped up sometimes. Plus, YouTube requires certain subscriber counts for access to creator tools.
We need 100 subscribers to get a custom channel URL (which is important for branding). We need 1,000 to offer sponsored content. 1,000 is also the “jumping off point” for a lot of us, where our subscriber counts start to increase like crazy and pick up momentum. That’s when the struggle starts to end for a lot of us and we can start to feel like we’re making progress. 99% of the people who try never make it to that point.
So one day while you’re watching those videos, click the subscribe button. You will make your YouTuber’s day.
YouTube isn’t the only social media platform, nor is it the easiest to get noticed on. Many small YouTubers have to head over to Instagram, Twitter, and even Pinterest to find their audiences.
If you ever want to make your YouTuber the happiest man on earth, add him on Snapchat, StumbleUpon, Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and every other platform he has a presence on overnight.
If you find yourself struggling to get through a lot of videos, let your friend know why. Is he too monotone? Does he have too low of energy? Does his microphone make him sound like he’s talking through a straw into an old Nokia brick from the middle of nowhere? Is his content just kind of boring, or too long-winded, or completely irrelevant?
Maybe don’t use those exact words.
But if you’ve tried to be supportive and haven’t been able to, let us know what turned you off. Let us know why you had trouble paying attention. You don’t have to say, “You’re not funny and you’re kind of boring and rambly,” but you do have to be honest.
And maybe you don’t see anything wrong with his content. Maybe it just doesn’t appeal to you because it’s not something you’re interested in. Maybe you don’t need make-up hacks or fitness tips or you only think slapstick humor is funny. That’s okay. Just let us know so we don’t have to feel so terribly insecure.
If you do notice a glaring way to improve (e.g. his thumbnails and titles seem boring as fuck), also holler at us. We’ll work on improving that.
Go above and beyond: Sharing is caring!
What I once assumed was obvious is actually kind of shrouded in mystery: we need you to share.
Remember how I talked about eyeballs and attention and how important those are to us?
That means we want your friends to watch our videos, too.
Now, there are exceptions to this. If you think our videos suck (see the previous point), let us know what needs improving – tell me why you’re not sharing my content.
If our videos aren’t going to be helpful, entertaining, or valuable to your friends, sharing won’t do much for us.
But if you do have a friend who would get a kick out of my latest comedy sketch, or someone’s going through a divorce and you think our short film talking about our feelings would make that person feel less alone in the world, or you’ve got a friend who’s struggling with her weight and progress (or lack thereof) and Karen’s latest inspiring, bitingly honest progress report would help, share it! Send it on!
And maybe they’ll hate it and click away. But maybe they’ll become a fan. Maybe they’ll be one of the loyal, supportive, beautiful audience members that really pushes us forward.
And if you do share it, share this guide with that friend as well so that they know exactly how to care for your small YouTuber.
(I’m including this because I’ve had a lot of friends who didn’t realize that I wanted my content spread to others – they hit the Like button or even commented, but they had no idea that they could also send it to other people and make my day.)
Now, what are you waiting for? Go watch some videos, hit the like button, and share ’til your heart’s content (starting with this article, maybe?)! Let me know if I forgot any important parts of supporting your YouTuber in the comments down below. Also let me know if you can think of any ways that we need to be more mindful of you – our friends, rather than our audiences.