If you are running a YouTube channel, there are plenty of features built into YouTube that can help you gain greater visibility, bring viewer traffic to your videos, and help you win more views and subscribers. Knowing how to use the features YouTube gives you to your advantage won’t skyrocket your channel to success on its own, but when combined with a strategy of good, well targeted content, it can certainly help you gain an edge.
One feature YouTube provides for content creators is Community Posts. This feature gains quite a lot of press, with some YouTubers claiming it is an absolute essential when it comes to building and growing an audience, and others simply using it as an additional way to keep their audience engaged between video uploads. Here, we’re going to take a look at what this feature is, what the options are, and some strategies that can be used with it to help promote your channel.
What Are YouTube Community Posts?
A community post is a non-video update you can post on your YouTube channel. From the user perspective, these appear on their own tab when they visit your channel page, but what is more important is that they also appear on a section of the homepage. Your community posts will mainly be shown to your subscribers, but they are subject to their own algorithm and SEO, so may also be pushed out to other people YouTube thinks may be interested in the content of your post based on the kind of content they usually watch – if your post is doing well for engagement.
Community posts can take a number of forms. They can be simple text updates, images, text and images together, or polls. Users can engage with the posts in much the same way they can engage with videos, meaning they can leave comments, or they can like the post. Nobody knows how any of YouTube’s algorithms work exactly – that is a closely guarded corporate secret – but we do know that community posts have their own algorithm separate from that used for videos, and that used for YouTube shorts. Many people believe that it is easier to obtain engagement with community posts than with videos, which means a well performing community post will garner some good exposure for your channel for considerably less effort than a new video. We’ll be discussing that more later in the article, but first, let’s look at how you use the feature from your YouTube dashboard.
Creating Community Posts
Creating a new community post is extremely simple. You can either create them from the ‘Community’ link in the side menu, or from the button in the top right usually used to start the process of uploading a new video. Click on it, and you will see that there is also the option to create a new community post.
Who Can Create Community Posts?
Unfortunately, there is a chance you may not actually have this feature enabled yet. Currently, community posts are unlocked when you reach 1k subscribers, which means if your channel has not reached that threshold yet, you won’t be able to use community posts until it does. Bear in mind that this is distinct from joining the YouTube Partner Program, so the only requirement for community posts is 1k followers – if you haven’t yet reached the 4k hour watch time requirement for monetization, or you choose not to enrol in the partner program, community posts should still unlock for you within a few days of your channel hitting 1k subscribers. Until you unlock community posts, be sure to keep engaging with people in your audience through your comments section. There are rumors the threshold may be reduced to 500 in the near future.
It is something not every creator knows, but YouTube actually unlocks more and more features for you to use as your channel grows. YouTube Stories, for instance, is unlocked at 10k subscribers, though most people consider this feature far less useful than community posts. Channel memberships, another popular feature, was previously at 30k subscribers, however YouTube regularly invites channels with much smaller sub counts into this program so at present it seems somewhat arbitrary when this feature becomes available for each channel – though as a monetization feature it does require your channel to be enrolled in the Partner Program.
Strategies for Using Community Posts
The easiest way to start using community posts is simply to use them to provide some extra material supplemental to your videos, updates about your channel, and to tease forthcoming content. This can be a good way to make sure you’re still appearing in your audience’s timelines between videos – especially if you upload weekly or less. This can help keep your audience engaged, and can allow you to give updates or thoughts on topics you don’t want to make a whole video about, or to give your audience some nice extras, like behind the scenes photos.
Of course, that type of content is really only of interest to people who already watch your channel, and so what many YouTubers recommend as a means of getting more engagement from people who aren’t currently aware of you, by hitting the community posts algorithm, is using polls.
Polls are considered to be the most ‘powerful’ type of community post, because votes count as engagement in theoretically much the same way as likes or comments. Generally, when people are scrolling through their YouTube homepage, especially on mobile, they will vote on polls that catch their interest because it’s just a single tap, and so this means a poll that is interesting and relevant to your niche can perform well for engagement.
Engagement isn’t the only advantage, either. Polls can also be used to get a feel for what your audience wants by way of content, allowing you to use smart polls to plan your videos.
However, the power of polls is something that has been pushed quite hard by a lot of YouTube ‘experts’, and so there is a pitfall to be aware of, and that is overusing the polls feature. Due to this advice, a lot of channels post virtually meaningless polls every day just because they feel they have to to remain competitive, and that just isn’t the case. Polls that aren’t interesting or relevant to your audience will only annoy your audience, and nobody wants to be ‘that annoying channel that’s always asking me which color I like best’.
Instead, think about some fun or interesting questions you can ask your audience (staying within your channel’s niche) or questions that can help you decide on future video ideas. You can make a list so you have some ready to use in advance, or if you make more topical content, think about ideas relating to what your audience is currently talking about.
As you can see, community posts can be a great way to engage with your audience and even bring in new eyeballs to your channel, so why not start exploring this feature today?