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How To Get Your First 1,000 YouTube Followers – Graphic © WealthPowerBoost. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)
If you are seeking to learn how to get your first 1,000 Youtube followers then this is the free, full-length tutorial you’ve been looking for! 🙂
Let’s get straight into it!
Before you start to promote your channel and build followers, the first steps are going to be to create your branded channel and to post some content on it (either your own videos or some playlists), so that when people land on it, there is something there for them to enjoy, which will make them more likely to hit the Subscribe button.
Step 1: Create Your Branded Youtube Channel
A good name really helps and can make quite a difference to the pickup of a channel. Check my branding tutorial here How To Choose A Superb Domain Name For Your Blog (And Youtube Channel).
Once you have a great name, here is a great step-by-step video tutorial on how to create your own YouTube Channel:
For your profile image, use your logo if you have one or just choose something appealing. Make sure it also looks good in a small circle – as this is what will appear whenever you comment etc. A highly detailed image won’t be as effective here as a simple one. Don’t worry too much because you can always change this later.
Tip: If you are stuck for a profile image to use or dont have a logo yet, you can just grab a public domain (CC0 – free to use) image at one of these sites:
Once you have created the channel, it’s a good idea to add some content (either yours or other peoples) so that you have something worth following….
Step 2: Pad Out Your Account With Some Great Videos
If you don’t have any videos of your own yet, don’t worry. You can (and should) still create the channel – and you can create some playlists to add something interesting and make it not look like an empty “ghost town”.
Making playlists is super easy – first choose a topic that is related to your own content. Then go to a video in that genre and click the save button underneath it. Click “Create a new playlist” and then add your video to it.
You can add these playlists to your channel home page by going into “customize channel” and adding them as sections to the homepage. This will “pad out” the home page and make it look more full and interesting until such point as you have enough content to populate the homepage with playlists made from your own videos. Playlists of other people’s videos have other surprising benefits too! 😉 More on that later.
Creating and uploading your own videos is of course the most important aspect of growing a channel – however be aware that if you only create videos and don’t do anything to promote them, progress might be really slow. Ideally, make some videos AND promote them as best you can. There’s a lot you can do to promote your videos and we will go into that shortly.
When it comes to making your first few videos, just use the best materials you have available and get it cracking. Don’t hold back until you are super perfect – this is a mistake. In fact if you look at many of the top Youtube channels that have millions of followers now, you can see that their oldest videos are sometimes super basic “newbie videos” from when they didn’t have much clue what they were doing. Those videos didn’t hurt them! They stayed the course, gradually improved their skills and gradually built it up. In other words, it is best to “start now and get perfect later” rather than waiting to get perfect before you start making videos. Definitely study and learn best practices, but don’t get stuck forever in analysis paralysis. Super important.
I would say aim for 10 videos to begin with as a ‘base target’. This will give the channel enough interest to be worth following. Create some playlists too and add these to the homepage for additional interest. Theme your playlists around your main content topics and keywords, so that they pull in relevant traffic.
Now it’s time for actual strategies to pick up followers! 🙂 If you have done all the rest well you will rock this part. This is where the fun starts! Enjoy the ride.
Related Post: 18 Awesome Ways To Make Money With Youtube
Step 3: Understand Net Theory And Visibility
On the internet, “Visibility is king”. If I could put my content in front of everyone in the world for just one day, I could retire off of that (apart from the fact that it would break my web hosting! 🙂 )
The point here is that you can have the best content in the world, but if nobody sees it, you won’t make any money – and if lots of people see it, you will make lots of money (if you did everything else right. )
This visibility is not guaranteed at all. Don’t assume that “if you build it they will come”. Assume that they won’t. You have to put your stuff in front of people. Trust me on this one.
I like to picture visibility as a kind of giant fishing net. Net is a good word because collecting and building an online audience is like casting a fishing net into the giant “ocean” of billions of people who use the internet.
You are fishing for followers, so you want the biggest net you can make, right?
Fortunately there are numerous free ways to do this – most of which you probably never considered.
There are tons of places you can create visibility for your brand and use that net to draw in visitors to your Youtube channel, blog or whatever it is you want them to see. Every website that allows you to build a profile and / or post something (anything) for free, infact gives you some free visibility… little pieces of “fishing net” that all interconnect and increase your overall reach.
This is very important to know!
Some examples of places you can get yourself some free net include your social media profiles, your own blogs / websites, “freehost” sites that enable you to build some kind of a free page, comments sections, forums, link directories, direct messages, email and more.
For your Youtube profile / videos specifically, here are some examples of places that give you some visibility:
• Your profile on Youtube
• Your videos on Youtube
• Your videos embedded on other people’s blogs / websites
• The “About this video” text box of your videos
• First / pinned comment on your videos.
• Your comments on other people’s videos
• Your video links posted on Facebook and other social media, both by you and others
• Playlists you create (yes your profile link appears at the top of the playlist even if none of your videos are in it)
• Youtube search results
• Google search results
• Duckduckgo search results
That’s quite a lot of potential visibility, isn’t it? And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
You should aim to create as much visibility as you can and you link it all to your Youtube channel.
Some websites support this in useful ways: Post a Youtube link on Facebook for example and it will “pull” the thumbnail, which when clicked takes the Facebooker directly to your Youtube video.
All of this web presence also has the possibility of being found not only directly by viewers but by search engines. And I don’t just mean Google, Bing and Yahoo. Most of the world’s major websites now have search engines! Facebook has search. Youtube has search. Pinterest has search. Instagram has search. This is important. Finding content that tops the search results on other sites and commenting there can bring traffic in to your profile – and so long as you do it well and not in a ‘spammy’ way your comment will be welcome.
So you can see that it’s vital to avail youself of all this opportunty to create as much free visibility as you can through your own efforts. It’s there for the taking, so put your brand, images, hashtags etc on all of the major social media sites – and you are now suddenly in all of those search engines instead of just the one. You just multiplied your visibility severalfold.
Step 4: A Few Quick Ways To Promote Your Channel And Videos
• Announce your new channel to your brand’s Facebook audience (not your personal profile, forget that!) and email list if you have one, using a direct broadcast. Another thing that works well is to create a viral-style image post for Facebook, that will get a lot of shares because people love that stuff – and then drop your promotion of your channel in the text box.
• If you have a Facebook fan page with an audience, post your video link. Facebook will “pull” the thumbnail image. Add a caption such as “wow” or “great tutorial :)”. You will pick up some followers this way, depending on the size of the Facebook following.
• Embed your videos in blog posts. This is easy using the Share > Embed feature under every Youtube video. You can use the script of the video as the “article” for your blog and this will give your channel greater visibility.
• Put a big “Follow Me On Youtube” button on your blog / website if you have one.
• If you have an Instagram, create a free linktr.ee account and add your Youtube link along with any other social media profiles you have.
• Don’t bother pitching your “friends and fam” on your Youtube channel. It’s worse than a waste of time, trust me. You want real, engaged followers. This is important. You don’t want just empty numbers pushing up the number of follows, in fact this is a negative because those people won’t engage and this will cause the algorithm to interpret your content as weak and bury it.
Step 5: Ninja Commenting
Commenting to most people is just a way to express their feelings – however to the social media ninja it is a very powerful business tool to increase your visibility on the platform you are working on.
Commenting is a business tool?? Yes, you read that correctly.
Commenting skilfully on other posts will pull in a few visitors through curiosity – depending on your username, profile pic, the popularity of the post you are commenting on and the quality of your contribution. Depending on your brand appeal, you will get clickthroughs if you comment well on highly popular videos that are relevant to your topic – especially if your comment gets a ton of likes and sits at the top of the comment section.
Youtube is my favorite place for Ninja commenting… but you can also comment in almost infinite other places on the web. Commenting is in fact an entire traffic strategy and art form in and of itself that some have used to launch a successful business!
First things first – it’s important to be sure you are logged into the right account and commenting as your brand.
Commenting can have superb benefits if it is done well, but there is a gigantic difference between good and poor quality commenting. Let’s go deep on this because as I am sure you know, most people do a horrible job of this and clog up the internet with their low quality contributions…
The good way is to add real value to the discussion. Be well branded – have a highly clickable name and profile pic – and then have something to say that will benefit others and be appreciated, rather than just being a nuisance and trying to “leech” visitors onto your page in some sort of lame way. Don’t do that. It’s a form of spamming and would make you unpopular at best and infuriating at worst… which is not desirable for a brand.
This is how it’s done – this Youtube comment is a Masterclass:
Football Club were commenting on a very popular viral football video showing a compilation of amazing goals. Note the superb use of the ‘check’ emoji to draw extra eyeballs to their comment. Emojis for the win! Their channel is obviously about football and they are commenting in the exact place where their target audience is hanging out! Look at how many people must have seen that comment. To get 823 likes, it’s not unreasonable to guess that this comment was seen at least 10,000 times. With so many likes on their comment, the comment ‘bubbles up’ to the top, so it gets even more visibility. They are certainly going to get some “curiosity clicks” – and will gain some views, new followers and even ad revenue from this if they have some great videos on their channel! Now you can see why I said build 10 pieces of content first 😉
Note that their comment adds value and good vibes to the discussion and it does not immediately come across as an obvious, weak-assed play to get clicks. It shows they actually watched / reviewed the video and genuinely loved it (copy-paste comments are very obvious spam and annoy everyone, don’t do that!) This is a fan comment that reaches out to other fans.
⭐ Pro Tip: Always remember that it is social media, not antisocial media!! 😉 Be cool! Your goal is to make friends, not enemies… and you do that by creating good vibes. Don’t be a “vampire”, a downer or a fake-ass. You know those people creating fake profiles with good looking women commenting “I need a boyfriend”? All. Over. Youtube. Yeah, don’t be them. And all those people posting some generic, weak-assed “nice video!” or “Who’s here in 2021?” type comment. That’s a fail too. Lazy, cheap, spammy and adds zero value.
⭐ Pro Tip: Here’s something that works beautifully in comments: Inspirational quotations. The example below was posted on a relevant video:
Note that the video’s owner not only liked it (red heart! Social proof and extra visibility) but pinned it! The pinned comment stays at the top of the comment section until such time as it is unpinned. It is a prime piece of real estate. Getting pinned is a “gold medal” for a comment and will create tons of visibility on a popular video! However in this instance the commenter was just a regular viewer – no branding and no reason to click. If a topically relevant channel with highly clickable brand name and image dropped this comment, they would get some traffic from this.
Here’s another one, posted on a “motivational” channel. Once again, liked by the channel owner! This one is perfectly branded too:
You can do this! Massive free visibility like this is available to your brand right now! Isn’t that amazing? All this free “net” has been available to you the whole time. Now you can start picking it up.
⭐ Pro Tip: From now on, start collecting screenshots of top ranking comments like this when you see them. Keep them in a folder: They will be gold for years! Scoop up only the ones that got tons of likes and that you might be able to either recycle or just get ideas from! You can add them to your arsenal – and remember, most people online will not have seen them – especially in a few years time.
Important: Don’t use the same comment all over the place – that is very obvious spam and will set off a spam trigger in addition to causing irritation. Even if you find that golden quote that hits it out of the park, don’t EVER go crazy and do a mass comment drop – big risk of getting banned. Watch the video, be genuine and be relevant. If you are borrowing quotes, it’s also good not to drop the comment on the same channel you lifted it from or on videos that are only one degree of separation away – where people will likely have already seen it!
⭐ Pro Tip: Even better – find winning quotes on one social media site and post them on another!
You can see that there is an element of effort required to do this well – however over time, especially if your comments are on point, you have an ongoing stream of fresh visitors coming through from them that will give your channel a lift. Even the greatest river is made from individual raindrops. Amazing huh? You can now see how just commenting alone could pick you up a following if done with skill and style. Be awesome.
They are sitting out there in front of their computers waiting to give you their likes, are you gonna take them? 🙂 10 points if you recognize the movie clip that this quote appeared on. This comment is Youtube gold…
Another possibility often attempted is dropping links to your video or article in the comments. Higher risk. This should only be done if your content absolutely adds value to the discussion. In general, not really advisable, however posting links to high value resources where relevant can get superb results.
Ninja commenting works on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and very many other places too.
Ultimately there are limitless possibilities here. Think “laterally” about your ‘ideal client’. Describe first their ‘demographic’ – this includes age group, location, gender. Then… think about all their ‘related interests’. What else would the person who is going to resonate with your work, already be into? It could be products they would likely enjoy. Or other interests they may have. Writers they probably love. What channels do you think these people already follow? Especially start thinking about major brands that already have a big fan club and loyal followers. These are your people and you can see where they have already congregated online!
You might be able to pick up hundreds of followers, gradually, just using just this simple technique alone! It stands to reason (via simple maths of course) that the more awesome comments you drop, the more visibility you will create, the more clickthroughs and the more follows. But the exact percentages will vary depending on the quality of your profile and content, your branding and your overall awesomeness.
Branding, for these purposes, typically includes how good looking your profile pic is (love it or hate it, it is well established that conventionally good looking people, especially females, get more clicks and followbacks), how good your profile name is, how appealing your logo is and what you have on offer. But regardless, if your profile is well put together and relevant to the people you follow, you will still get some followbacks. And you don’t have to use your own photo if you prefer to remain incognito. Your logo or even a cute kitten from Pixabay will do! 🙂 Don’t get bogged down! Just do it! You can always go back and optimize the profile later.
Don’t spam. Comment with style and you will only be limited by how much time, finesse, determination, skills and tools you have at your disposal.
Always do it in a way that makes you friends, not enemies. Always remember that it is social media, not antisocial media. Add value, set out to make people glad they saw your contribution and you will be ok.
⭐ Pro Tip: One more for the road. Here’s another awesome ninja tactic. Go to Youtube and type your main keywords into the search engine. The kind of simple questions and phrases that your “ideal customer” is typing in. Go to the top ranking videos that come up in the search results and engage with your audience on those. 😉
Step 6: Buying Followers – Should You Do It?
When buying likes on any platform I consider it a hard and fast rule to ONLY do it via the platform itself i.e. Facebook advertising for Facebook likes. On Youtube, you can buy Youtube ads to promote your videos directly and if you have the budget to do this and the skills to do it well then “hell yes”, do it! You can even target your ads down to individual channels or even individual videos, so you can show your stuff to the exact people who would appreciate what you have to offer.
There are lots of third parties offering to “sell followers” on the major social media platforms and I would not touch them with a ten foot pole, seriously; not only is it almost certainly against ToS but often these may be either fake accounts or created through some other type of spam. Another reason is because they may not even be from countries where your language is the primary language. And for various other important reasons. Just don’t!
This is worth explaining in a bit more detail. Avoiding buying crappy followers from third party sources is actually extremely important and I learned why the hard way: Back when I was still new to all of this, I attempted to kickstart another new Facebook page with 5,000 cheap “likes” purchased from some dodgy seller (might have been on Fiverr or somewhere, there are lots of them). I got the likes but then watched in dismay as the page completely failed to pick up any sort of traction, no matter what I posted. The followers were low quality, untargeted follows from some random country, quite possibly entirely fake accounts – and, seeing that my content was not engaging my audience, Facebook then buried the content because the algorithm only rewards good engagement with greater visibility. The fake followers did not like, share or comment, the page tanked and I was never able to get it off the ground – because the fake followers ruined the statistics both of the posts and of the entire page, causing the algorithm to interpret everything I posted as weak. It was hopeless, a lost cause. The only thing to do was delete the ruined fan page and move on – which I did. Lesson learned.
Don’t ever get involved with any sort of “like for like” schemes or “follow groups”. There are worse than a waste of time for the same reason. Yes you get “likes” but those people don’t have any genuine interest in your content. They are worse than useless followers that will harm your overall engagement scores and literally prevent you from going viral. It’s very hard to recover from this, and again, the only thing to do in many cases is scrap the “polluted account” and start again.
Step 7: Existing Contacts & Personal Outreach (Is It Worth It??)
If you already have any kind of relevant fan base – either in an email list, contact database or on any other platform – promote your channel to them. You have a shiny new venture and something worth looking at!
However an important thing to note is that I built over 4.5M social media followers WITHOUT doing any “personal outreach” whatsoever. In fact only a handful of my real-life friends are followers of my business pages! I never “pitched” to them to try to get them to join – and actually strongly recommend you to avoid doing this. Let me explain why, and how this dovetails nicely into the important topic of targeted followers.
Let’s pick a very arbitrary number and say you know 200 people personally. Of those, how many are actually interested in your topic? Perhaps 20.
The rest are people you know through social circles, family and friends. There is about as much point in doing outreach to them as there is in selling embroidery tutorials at a heavy metal concert.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that you go ahead and pitch your “friends and fam” and you get 20 new followers.
Big whoop. As they are your friends, they will expect freebies… and will probably want to chit chat and waste time. Worse: they will not engage with your content in the same way as “real fans”. Social media does not reward polite clapping. It rewards when people go bananas.
Forget it. Let it go. It’s all bad! You can go onto Youtube, make some awesome comments on related videos and pick up 20 targeted followers with minimal effort, within a few days or less! And these people will be people that have already professed an interest in your niche or topic!
Keep all outreach efforts tightly focused around your target audience. This is extremely important. Targeted followers are vital for your enterprise. There are two reasons why.
1) Because they are actually interested in the topic; thus they are more likely to buy, follow, share, like, repin, link or whatever.
2) Because the social media algorithms use weighting. This means that they detect the stuff that gets the reactions and they reward it with much greater visibility. The sky is the limit for this visibility but it only happens if the core audience engages strongly. Followers who are not interested in the topic are worse than useless, they are harmful!
The rationale behind this extreme disparity of content distribution makes perfectly logical sense: The platforms want to keep people hooked in all day, because then they can display more ads and make more revenue. Showing “everything to everyone” would be a disaster for them because then every single mundane “I had a sandwich for lunch” post will appear and make their platform boring as hell! 95% of what most people post on social media is either very boring or just irrelevant to most people. This is a very big part of the reason (let’s not get into conspiracy theories) why they control the reach of posts and dial down all but the most engaging content.
Let’s say you make heavy metal music. If you were to play your amazing new song to 1000 “random people”, you might get 25 likes. However if you play it to your people – 1000 metal fans – you might get 500 likes and you have a chance of viral growth. The social media platform will recognize that 50% of viewers engaged with the post and will give it some distribution to a wider audience.
So if all you did was collect random, untargeted followers who are not even fans of the genre, it creates weak future engagement which is not a good look and will cause the social media site to bury not only the video but bury your entire channel. If your subscribers don’t even care about your content, why would anyone else? So you can see that not all followers are worth having and in fact some are worth avoiding. Find the videos, channels etc that your demographic already hangs out and focus your efforts there.
By all means dig into your existing contact databases and promote to the ones that are relevant. Thus if you are already in an established business and are building a new social media channel, you should definitely see if you can pull email addresses, business cards etc of all past clients / fans and notify them of your new enterprise.
Step 8: Youtube Playlists
⭐ Pro Tip: Now here’s another “ninja tactic” from my secret vault… I bet you never thought of THIS: Using Youtube playlists to get new fans via the Youtube search engine.
A playlist is not just a collection of something cool… it’s another way to get into the Youtube search results! Yes! When someone searches Youtube, playlists can rank at the top of the results – especially if the name of your playlist is an exact keyword match! The searcher can also filter their results by Playlist! So if you create a playlist with a name that is an exact match for a phrase someone is searching for (use the autocomplete feature to find the long tail searches that are not saturated!), you have a good chance of your playlist ranking and getting clicks. This is probably the easiest way to get into a major search engine I have ever come across. Create an awesome playlist of top content and you can also sneak your own video into the playlist. 😉 How stealth is that?
Once again, make it worth the click. Make a great playlist that is 100% relevant to your channel – either using your videos or those of others. Your brand name gets exposure (with profile pic) in the search result and (without profile pic) in the top right hand corner of everything they are watching! If you have a great brand name, you can pick up a some targeted followers this way – and you don’t even need any content of your own if you have a great collection of playlists!! Another tip – make the #1 video on the playlist something that got a high view count because this is a slamming thumbnail and this is the one that will appear in the search results! Gold.
Do you even know how many searches get run on Youtube? It’s the world’s second biggest search engine and processes 3 BILLION searches per month.
See why I said build your branded channel anyway even if you don’t have any content yet? 🙂
I did some research to find out how many playlists you can create and some are saying 200, some are saying 500. That’s a lot of keywords in the search engine! 🙂 You could literally pad out an empty channel with 100 awesome playlists related to your niche and pick up a beautifully targeted following by this alone! Note that there might already be some kind of cap to prevent people abusing this feature, so don’t go bonkers and create 100 channels or 100 playlists in one hour or something. Make real playlists – once again it is all about creating value but this gives you a great opportunity to create value for your target audience and let them find you.
Step 9: Volume Scale
Let’s say you published a video about how to care for Collies, a type of dog.
You are going to get X traffic seeing your video just from the Youtube search engine, plus maybe some more from Google. And from that, depending on the quality of your work, you will get Y new followers, perhaps a single digit percentage of X.
But what would happen if you had a series of 10 videos, each focused on a different popular breed of dog?
It’s not unreasonable to expect that you would get (very approximately) 10X the amount of search traffic coming “into your funnel”…
… and 10Y the number of followers.
This is called volume scaling. A simple way to expand your web presence is by simply doing more of something. If you 10X your number of Youtube videos, it’s not unreasonable to expect that you will get very approximately 10X the number of overall channel views – an important number because you need more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months plus 1,000 followers before you can place YT ads on your videos!
You can view the full Youtube Partner Program requirements here
Volume theory applies to all forms of content and all forms of visibility. If you have 10x the number of original articles, you have 10x the number of keyword phrases that can possibly rank in search engines. If your blog has 10X the number of unique content pages, you can get 10X traffic from search engines.
However there is always a further compounding effect and I would be confident that if you created 10X the number of videos you would get more than 10Y the number of followers.
This is because a percentage of your viewers will be interested in learning about more than one dog breed. Also, your videos will start appearing on the right hand side in the suggested video section and maybe even as the “next video”. Some people will watch more than one video, which will (if the video is good) improve its metrics and its visibility further.
There are numerous of these compound effects and they all add up.
Furthermore – with more content you will get more data and will be able to see what worked and what didn’t. Taking 10x the shots will improve your game! Your skills will grow and you will become better at giving your audience what they want.
On the internet, big is beautiful. This is universal. A big audience can gain new fans faster than a small audience. Whereas a newly-sprouted tree might put out 10 new leaves and draw in 10 leaves worth of sunlight, a big tree can put out 100,000 leaves, thus can gain biomass at a correspondingly higher rate.
⭐ Pro Tip: It is in fact completely unreasonable to expect that a small Youtube channel with only 6 videos will be highly successful. Most of the big, successful channels have 100+ videos, sometimes many more – with each of these getting search traffic, generating visibility and pulling more people in to the channel. If you don’t create a lot of content, you almost certainly won’t build a big following. However you have to keep the quality at least as high too!
Step 10: Utilize All Your Free Real Estate
⭐ Pro Tip: There are numerous other prime opportunities to drive traffic from your social media profiles and content to your YT channel. The real pros utilize all of these because they all bump up clicks and sales.
Here are some of the ninja tactics you should be making full use of:
• First line of the about box on Youtube is a prime spot for a highly visible link. Use this to promote a related or one of your top videos. The first line is “prime real estate” because ff the link is buried and they have to click SHOW MORE to see it, most won’t see it and won’t click it! Still, you can add a kind of mini-directory to your other videos down in there too, it all helps. For even better results use emojis next to the link to “catch the eyeballs” as they scroll from the video to the comment section.
• Pinned Comment on YT videos – put your link in a comment and pin it to the top! (Do this AND use the “about box” link!)
Well done! If you have done a selection of the above correctly, you should have 1000 followers. If not, simply rinse and repeat. Make some more great videos and then run through the steps again as appropriate. At this point it’s time to start getting focused on creating and publishing an ongoing stream of videos as it’s pretty much going to be a requirement from here on.
Check your data. Some of your content probably got noticeably more traction than the rest and some probably got less. This is normal. Figure out why (if you can), and you can remove anything that tanked relative to the rest, replacing it with stronger posts.
If you now have 1000 followers – well played! Now focus on your content and scale up.