I remember running excitedly towards the common room at Amina Hall at the University of Lagos to see ‘Salvador’, a show that held almost every student spellbound, and dominated every conversation from 9pm every day. The struggle for the prime spot at the common room was real, and students would go to great lengths to ensure they had the best seats saved for themselves and their friends; it really was an experience! I ponder on these memories as I reflect on the lessons I have learned from premiering live on YouTube, and I hope you will learn a thing or two as you take time out to read this post.
FIRST TO COMMENT
Now that I think about the way every student fought to retain a good seat just to see ‘El Cuerpo Del Deseo (that was the actual name of the show, but everyone called it ‘Salvador’ because of the hot Latino lead male character), I am reminded about the behavior of the average YouTube commenter.
At the top of the comment section of almost every Nigerian YouTube video, you can be sure to see a “first to comment” post. That’s your audience doing the most to save themselves a good seat, and that is your cue as a content marketer/community manager to explore the ways in which you can boost engagement using this insight. Most times, members of your audience want to feel like they are part of the entire experience, and so, a little acknowledgement will go a long way. Consider ‘crowning’ the first commenter under every video you publish by interacting with them, and watch engagement grow organically on your channel.
I can imagine that there were self-appointed acolytes of ‘Salvador’ back then in Unilag, the ones who would tell you when it was almost time for the show to begin. Premiering on YouTube will never be complete without these set of people, and I call them the #NotificationGang.
Think of the #NotificationGang as an extension of your ‘first to comment’ group. These set of people take things a little further by boasting about their status on social media platforms. They are your existing subscribers, and if you engage with them from time to time, you will be deploying an army of recruiters for your channel. Consider perks for subscribers of your channel so that they feel proud enough to get you more members to join your #notificationgang.
It also helps to use this hashtag in your social media marketing, especially if you are trying to build your subscriber base.
WATCH PARTIES ARE IN!
Look, there was nothing better than watching ‘Salvador’ with your friends in school. In fact, students would share hot takes about each scene when the breaks came in between the show, and if you have even the faintest memory of communal viewing like this, you would definitely love YouTube Watch Parties. Since YouTube launched the premiere feature , online watch parties have become an essential part of online content marketing.
Typically, you can build the hype for the release of your content hours before it is scheduled to begin. This helps you build engagement on your video even before it goes live. In my experience, setting your premiere timer at least 3-4hrs before the actual release will help you build excitement among the audience and will help your video get to the trending tab quickly.
It is important to ensure that your social media marketing maintains the same pace as your YouTube channel. Ensure that you are using the right words to butter up your audience, teasing them with snippets and images that would get them excited for your content.
The Live Chat is also an integral part of the watch party and you should use this feature as an avenue to communicate with your audience. Your tone of voice should be relaxed and fun, making use of simple language (and sometimes slangs) that is familiar with your audience. Remember, the more relatable you seem, the more your audience loves your brand.
Here’s the thing, a lot of people who would be clicking in to watch your live premiere would most likely be posting their thoughts about your content on social media. You must ensure that the messaging for your hype includes hashtags that would help interested users track conversations about your live premiere.
This is a real engagement booster, so you may want to make your hashtags short, sweet and memorable. Depending on the title of the content you are premiering, coming up with a hashtag should relatively easy. Longer titles should be broken into acronyms to keep everything tidy.
Effective communication is the key to executing a highly engaging live premiere on YouTube, and the ride becomes easier as you go. Step out of your comfort zone (especially if you represent a big brand) and get down to earth with your viewers. Remember, they see you as THE BRAND, and every interaction will mean the world to them.
Good luck on your next live.