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How to Develop an Ongoing Rapport With Your YouTube Viewers and Fans

Follow these tips to keep your audience coming back for more.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

Once you get people to watch just one of your videos, you'll want to make it easy for them to watch your other videos as well. This can be done within the videos themselves, on your YouTube channel’s page, via email announcements of new videos, and announcements on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Remember, within every video you produce, it should contain some type of call to action—a request that your viewers immediately do something. This call to action should be accompanied by a reward. For example, say something like, “To save $50 off your first order, click here to visit our website.”

You can add a direct call to action within a video in a handful of ways:

  • Add a message inviting people to watch your other videos.
  • Embed easy-to-find links to your other videos within each of your videos and on your channel’s page.
  • Encourage your viewers to like and rate your videos.
  • Make it easy for people to share your videos via online social networking or email by enabling the “Share” function.
  • Ask viewers for ideas for future video topics, so they feel like they’re part of the creative process.
  • Pose specific questions, and encourage viewers to post their video responses. You can also ask survey questions or solicit feedback. For example, if you’re using a YouTube video to demonstrate a new product, ask people to post their thoughts about the product itself or their own ideas about how they’d use it.
  • Ask fans, customers, potential customers or subscribers to send you questions via email, Facebook or Twitter, and answer the most common questions in future videos. When you do this, be sure to credit the questioner. For example, begin with, “Bob Smith from White Plains, New York, asks . . .”
  • Encourage people to visit your website, read your blog, visit your Facebook page and follow you or your company on Twitter.

If you’re using YouTube video to communicate with your potential or existing customers, it’s essential that you publish your contact information in conjunction with your videos. However, only do this within your videos and/or on your YouTube channel’s page if you intend to actually respond quickly and, potentially, personally. Otherwise, simply ask your viewers, fans and subscribers to post comments related to your videos through YouTube, and make it clear that you read them all.

When it comes to your overall online presence, think synergy. Promote your YouTube videos and channel via your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc., and at the same time, provide links and mentions of your other online activities within your videos and on your YouTube channel’s page, as well as within your videos. You’ll probably discover, however, that it’s easier and more efficient to interact with your audience through a Facebook page or Twitter feed.

One thing to avoid when interacting with your YouTube audience is engaging “haters” or “trolls”—people who continuously post negative or hateful comments related to you, your company or your videos. Responding to these people in either a public or private forum often leads to an escalation of their behavior. If you determine someone is simply trying to be a nuisance by posting negative information, delete their comments and do not respond to them.

Obviously, if one of your viewers, customers or potential customers has a legitimate gripe, address that on a one-on-one basis by phone or email. But be aware that there are many “haters” on YouTube who simply make a habit of posting negative and potentially reputation-damaging comments on the service for no good reason whatsoever.

Determine Who in Your Audience Has Influence

Using tools available online, such as a service called Klout or simply by reviewing the number of friends your viewers, fans or subscribers have in conjunction with their own Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you can see firsthand how much influence each person has over others in cyberspace.

As you’re working to promote your videos and YouTube Channel, analyze your audience, figure out who the influencers are, and try to cater to them through direct contact. At the same time, figure out who is producing videos that are similar in focus or content to yours, as well as YouTube channels that are catering to the same target audience, even if their content is vastly different from what you’re offering.

In addition to reviewing the video content, production quality and approach, pay attention to how they’re being promoted, what keywords are being used and who is their intended audience.

You can find similar videos using a keyword search on YouTube itself, or you can use a service like Pixability to help you find videos that are somehow related to yours, or that have a similar target audience. 

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