On this episode of Friday Lives, usual host Anya Razina was on vacation, so Restream’s Head of Marketing, Victor Bous, took over the mic. He spoke with Rob Balasabas, Brand Evangelist at TubeBuddy. Rob is also a community manager, video content creator, and live streamer. The two spoke about Rob’s experience on YouTube and with live streaming, and how to use live streaming to build engaging and thoughtful communities around your brand.
🎬 Rob’s start in live streaming
Working previously for a company called Thinkific, Rob was tasked with finding influencers and content creators to serve as potential marketing partners. He realized that the best way to connect with these partners was through video and live video. So he taught himself how to live stream, loved it, and has been doing it weekly ever since!
👌 Three-step content creation process
Rob uses a model on his YouTube channel for keeping his viewers engaged. Many of his on-demand videos are tutorials about content creation, social media, or live streaming. He uploads two new videos per week, gives viewers a few days to try out his advice for themselves, then answers questions they have during live Q&A sessions on Fridays.
Not only does this approach help his viewers learn, but answering questions also gives Rob more ideas for content he can create later.
[Live streaming] is a good way to build your community as well. You're not just speaking to people, you're actually interacting with them in real time. You get to understand where their pain points are and what questions they have. It helps you create better content and build products and courses that will help them.
🚀 Rob’s YouTube journey
Rob started out creating and editing videos for LinkedIn and had nothing to do with YouTube. But once he saw how well his videos were doing on LinkedIn, he wanted a platform where his content could get more traction. Knowing that YouTube is a powerful search engine and that the discoverability potential is much higher on YouTube than on LinkedIn, Rob shifted to YouTube. He started slowly, just uploading his LinkedIn videos to YouTube. Then, his audience was growing so much he started creating videos twice a week.
I was able to grow an audience faster there [on YouTube]. Even if I'm not uploading, there's people that are watching videos from a year ago that I created. The shelf life of a YouTube video is so much longer.
😎 How to stand out on YouTube when you’re just starting out
People come to YouTube and watch your content usually for one of three reasons:
It’s important to know what kind of value you’re bringing to your potential audience. Rob considers his channel mostly educational, with a little motivation thrown in. After you know you can provide beneficial content to your viewers, you can show off your personality and let them get to know you.
In the beginning, they [your viewers] don't care too much about you as a person. They just care about the question and the pain point that they have. So address that first, then you get to share a little bit more of your personality.
In addition to understanding your value to your audience, you should focus on keyword research when starting out on YouTube. Before deciding on your topics, research them to see if there are good opportunities for your content there. Look for keywords that have some search volume but aren’t as competitive. Even when doing a live stream, think about keywords first so users will more easily find your replay.
🤑 The best way to monetize your YouTube videos
For Rob, there’s more than one great way to monetize your YouTube videos. He offers six suggestions for generating revenue from YouTube:
- Ad Sense: Some content creators play ads before, during, or after their videos to monetize. But to be able to do that, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time on your channel over the last 12 months.
- Affiliate marketing: You can feature products, software, or services in your video and include an affiliate purchase or sign-up link in your video description. For every purchase or membership through your link, you earn a small commission.
- Sponsored content: You can ask a company to sponsor a video you make about their product or service.
- Courses: If you want to make courses, you can create a free tutorial on YouTube to upsell your paid course or paid membership.
- Consulting: If you’re an expert in using some product, software, or service, you can offer one-on-one consulting to people who want to learn more. You can also charge more for consulting than you can for a course.
- Traffic generator: You don’t have to earn income directly from your YouTube videos; you can use them to generate traffic for your blog or website, where you sell your products or courses.
There are so many people on YouTube looking for answers to their questions. If you are providing value and you're answering questions, people will gravitate to you. They'll want to support you and work with you when the time comes.
👀 The biggest challenges YouTube creators face today
Rob mentions two big challenges you could face when creating content on YouTube and ways to overcome them.
- Your content isn’t performing how you’d like. You may not get a lot of views or engagement. Even if you’ve been on YouTube for a while, performance can be very up and down. When your content doesn’t do as well as you’d like, you should reach out to other YouTube creators for advice and support. Finding a community that understands what you’re going through is essential.
- Your results aren’t coming in fast enough. YouTube is a long game, unlike other social media platforms. It may take a while before you see traffic to your website or other results. Rob advises patience and consistency.
You need to do this consistently, to put things in place. You need to block out time on your calendar each week to create videos. YouTube is not going to all of a sudden go crazy and spike up.
💬 The secret to building a greater community
For Rob, engagement on YouTube is all about the comments. When people leave comments on your video, always try to reply within 24 hours. In your reply, answer their question, then ask one yourself, just like you would in a real conversation.
Also, invite people to leave comments on your video by asking a question during the video. Tell your viewers to leave any questions or concerns they have in the comments because it will help you understand who your audience is and what their pain points are.
🔗 Which live streaming platform should you focus on first?
With so many choices for live streaming platforms, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for your content. Rob recommends using multistreaming with Restream to broadcast your stream to multiple channels at once when you start out. Then, pay close attention to the types of questions people ask on each platform. People might have more top-of-the-funnel queries on Facebook and bottom-of-the-funnel questions on YouTube. Know which platforms people go to for certain information, then use those platforms for their specific purposes.
Rob also recommends multistreaming to push viewers to one platform. His primary profile is his YouTube channel, and he wants to promote it the most. So he goes live via Restream on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook and tells his viewers that the stream is happening on YouTube, and if they want to watch, they should head there. Then he stops streaming to other channels and finishes his broadcast on YouTube only.
💪 How to moderate your community so it aligns with your brand goals
Rob differentiates between free communities and paid communities. Moderation won’t look the same on free platforms (such as Slack, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn groups) as it will in a community of paid subscribers. For free communities, one technique that keeps everybody on track is to not let people self-promote whenever they want. If community members want to share their videos, webinars, or other content, make a dedicated, weekly thread for those resources.
In paid communities, moderators should be much more attentive. If people are paying to be there, then you need to do your best to meet their expectations. When it comes to building communities, Rob likens inviting guests to your online community to inviting people over to your house. You wouldn’t invite someone into your home, then just leave. You shouldn’t do that with online communities, either. When you’re the host, people look to you to get the conversation going. Once the community has grown, there will be enough guests to start their own conversations.
You definitely have to be present. You have to set the expectation of what people will get.
🧑💼 How to approach live streaming on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great platform for branding yourself as a thought leader, according to Rob. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you can create videos, live streams, webinars, and other content specifically for LinkedIn to share with your network and develop your brand authority. Creating content helps start a conversation with other professionals on LinkedIn in a natural way.
As Rob points out, you wouldn’t approach someone in real life and immediately hand them your business card, so you shouldn’t do it on LinkedIn either. Create content that’s geared toward asking and answering questions in your industry, not just selling your product or services, and it’ll give you and people in your network something to talk about.
Consider creating content specifically for LinkedIn; create a lot of videos, engage, join the conversation, comment on other people's posts, add value to their conversation, and make sure you're connecting. But don't approach it like a commercial.
🤩 Where to pull positive energy and inspiration from
Rob keeps a positive attitude about his content creation because it doesn’t feel like work to him. He likes to think of making his videos or going live as hanging out with a friend. He also draws inspiration from his audience members when they ask him questions about his content, and it drives him to create even more helpful content.
👍 Overcoming failures and mishaps on a live stream
Like anyone, Rob has had some technical difficulties with creating videos and live streaming. His audio might not work, or his camera may not be set correctly. For him, those kinds of errors are just part of the live streaming experience. If you make a mistake, you can delete the live stream later and try again. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.
Rob’s advice to manage the risks that come with live streaming is to have a checklist. He also suggests taking improv comedy classes to learn how to respond quickly to comments in the chat.
🖐 Five ways to grow your community
Rob has five tips for growing a community around your brand online:
- Always ask questions. Ask questions in your videos and get people to comment. Reply to comments with a question to keep the conversation going.
- Live stream. Live streaming is a great way to interact with people in real time.
- Stream on a regular basis. Consistency is the key to keeping your community interested and engaged.
- Build a community outside of YouTube. Use Slack, Facebook groups, or another similar forum to build up your community on another platform.
- Collaborate. Invite people in your industry to a live stream with you, to interact with your audience but also grow a community with your peers.
💫 Let’s wrap up
On this episode of Friday Lives, Rob Balasabas shared some great advice on how to use live streaming to build a community that supports your brand. Rob emphasizes reaching out to your viewers, starting conversations by asking questions, and using their questions to inspire more great content. He gave advice on monetizing a YouTube channel and how to build active communities outside of YouTube. Hopefully, Rob’s conversation with Victor on this episode of Friday Lives has inspired you to work on your own community building!