How brands build subscriber bases

Every brand knows it should be on YouTube: billions of visitors and viewing minutes are hard to dispute. But how your brand should be on YouTube is a tougher question, especially when you’re faced with the proposition of driving subscriptions to your channel. How can your brand grow its YouTube presence while staying authentic and (ultimately) driving sales?

It’s easy to point to Red Bull and Old Spice as examples of brands winning on YouTube. It’d be great if everyone’s brand could organize a free fall from the stratosphere or have Terry Cruz and his prodigious chest burst through a bathroom wall holding their product. But even if you can’t have a million people see your logo in outer space, you can still attract and engage a YouTube audience for your brand—as long as you know what to do.

After working with top brands for more than two years, we on Fullscreen’s Channel+ team have found three key factors for success on YouTube.

CONTENT AND COMMUNITY ARE STILL #1

Successful brands understand that building a strong YouTube presence starts with quality content and is fueled by a thriving community. YouTube is just as much a hub for compelling content as it is a hub for social community.

But YouTube shouldn’t be just a dumping ground for content. YouTube is an inherently social platform that weeds out disingenuous brands and rewards those who build communities with loyal and evangelical fans. So take the time to create content that’s both on-brand and engaging for your audience.

Last year, Pepsi released the phenomenally successful “Uncle Drew” campaign, featuring a prosthetically aged NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, who in the words of ESPN’s Stuart Scott was “straight dunking on fools.” The videos earned the channel 26 million views and 11,000 comments while establishing Pepsi as a legitimate content creator on YouTube.

Uncle Drew

But compelling content shouldn’t stop there. Once you’ve created a strong piece of content, use YouTube to actually communicate with your audience. Ask them questions, thank them for subscribing, announce upcoming content—and do all these things all of the time.

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX

At Fullscreen, we’ve created tools that help your brand easily identify and interact with your most influential fans. Our Channel+ channel management service offers an entire suite of audience development tools that gives you insight into your top fans, where they go before (and after) viewing your content, the best time of day to post content, and many other metrics, helping you pull back the curtain on who’s watching your content.

Fullscreen Toolbox

Once you have a better sense of your audience, you can use other audience development tools more effectively. Execute a paid promotion strategy using YouTube’s TrueView ad network to surface your content before other relevant videos. Or try Gorilla—a Fullscreen product that embeds organic in-video shoutouts about your brand into videos from the top channels in a targeted demographic. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at scale, directly from top YouTube creators.

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS

Identifying your top fans is important, but how do you go about attracting new fans? One proven way: work with established online video creators.

Many brands are new to the game when it comes to YouTube. The nice part is that many channels have come before them and attracted similar fans, so all you have to do is enlist established creators to amplify your message. This can be as simple as having creators comment on your videos all the way up to placing your product directly into one of their new video releases. Just be sure that once a fan reaches your page they aren’t disappointed by what they find: have engaging content waiting for them, or they’ll take their traffic elsewhere.

Creating a successful brand presence on YouTube is one of the most effective ways to develop an engaged audience. Though success can be just one viral video away, it’s more than likely built by continuous and concerted effort: a mix of compelling content, engaging community, actionable data, and help from established creators.