How to Get Your First 100 YouTube Subscribers

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It can be very difficult to get a new YouTube channel off its feet. You post your latest web series episode or monologue and wait and wait and wait for the likes, comments and subscribers to come pouring in. Instead… crickets. But don’t worry—here are ten quick tips to help you get your first 100 subscribers on your YouTube channel.

1. Narrow your audience
A lot of novice content creators create random videos that they think everyone will like. What usually happens is because they’re trying desperately to appeal to everyone, they end up appealing to no one. Think hard about who you’re creating content for. Are they TV actors, Game of Thrones fans, Harry Potter fans or horror film lovers? Be specific. Before you create any content do some research on YouTube to see what kind of content they like. What keywords are in this content? Then you can create content you know your audience will enjoy.

2. Create a Trailer For Your Channel
You can upload a trailer for your channel that will only autoplay for people who are not subscribed to your channel. Keep your trailer short, exciting and end with a call to action to subscribe.

3. Create an Interesting Profile
Don’t ignore your YouTube account’s ‘About’ section. This is where you can sell your channel to potential subscribers. Tell the viewer what they will gain by watching your channel and why they should subscribe. The keywords in your ‘About’ section will also help your channel rank higher in search results.

4. Choose Searchable Titles
When choosing a title for your videos, think about what your audience would actually type in search to find your content. Pro tip: only the first 45 characters of your title are viewable in search, so keep your keywords toward the front.

5. Create Better Thumbnails
Your thumbnail is like a mini movie poster for your content. Its only job is to get people to watch! Your video can come up in search, but if your thumbnail is boring no one will click on it (and, obviously, never subscribe). Remember, people are visual and you need to stand out from your competition. Bright, high-resolution, compelling thumbnails (containing the title) usually perform very well.

READ: 21 Twitter Mistakes Actors Have to Stop Making

6. Add a Watermark!
YouTube allows you to add a branding watermark to your videos that allows non-subscribers to become subscribers with one click. The watermark can be easily uploaded in your Channel Settings.

7. Use YouTube’s Free Analytics
Find the Audience Retention Graphs in your YouTube analytics. These will teach you what your audience likes. People could be clicking away from your video at the same time. Maybe your intro is too long or maybe your video is too long and many people leave after five minutes. Keep them watching! The longer they watch the better you’ll show up in search and the more subscribers you’ll get.

8. Create Consistent Content
If your goal is channel growth, create a schedule for your content. Decide whether you’ll publish weekly, bi-weekly, etc. and what days you’ll publish. Viewers like structure and will be more likely to subscribe if they know how often they’ll be getting a video.

9. Create Playlists
Playlists (like this one) are one of the most underutilized growth hacks on YouTube. Most people don't realize that playlists show up in YouTube search results just like videos do. If you have a web series, for instance, playlists are a great way to ensure your audience will watch them the way you intended. If you don’t have a lot of your own content yet, you can curate other people’s content in playlists that your targeted audience will also enjoy.

10. Just Ask
Don’t assume that if someone liked your video they’re going to subscribe. You need to tell them what you want them to do. Invite your users to subscribe at the end of your video so they can receive even more awesome videos like the one they just watched.

Try these ten tips on your YouTube channel and let me know how it goes! To give all of your social media platforms a makeover, grab your copy of my Ultimate Social Media Checklist for Actors here. It’s a 30-page ebook that will have you rockin’ your social media in no time.

*This post was originally published on Oct. 24, 2016. It has since been updated.

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Heidi Dean
Heidi Dean is the industry’s top social media expert for actors. She was a working professional actor for over 20 years and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Now she combines her years of industry experience with cutting-edge social media strategy to help actors open more doors for their careers.