by Jessica Klein

If you really want to make your brand’s video content work on YouTube, there are two words you need to seriously consider: Social. Media. Because social media is, ahem, social, this is not the kind of promotion you’re supposed to make happen all by yourself. You need your audience’s help, and here’s how you can enlist them to help you, according to theYouTube Playbook for Brands.

1. Comment Back

When you first upload a video is when it’s going to get the most comments on YouTube. Knowing this, don’t just post your video and walk away. Stick around to see who writes what, and then write something back. The people who engage so quickly with your content are also most likely your biggest fans, so get to know them.

2. Keep Your Friends Close

Who comments the most frequently on your brand’s video posts? As long as they’re saying largely good things (as opposed to spam, or hate spam), they deserve reciprocation for caring so much. You can provide this by making a point to reply to their comments and by sharing your brand’s updates with them personally.

3. Maintain a Positive Conversation

If your video’s comment section is getting nasty, you’re not powerless to curb the trend. You can remove mean-spirited comments. You can also separate your brand from the ones that get too much attention prior to removal. Tell commenters that your brand does not support/hold this negative attitude, if that seems appropriate in the context.

4. Include Viewers in Your Content

This will make your fans feel like they’ve earned a promotion—from viewers to contributors. There are plenty of easy ways to do this, too, like by giving shout-outs to top commenters and inviting your viewers to ask questions that you’ll read aloud and answer in your next video installment.

5. Have Some Merch

Another way for fans to engage with your brand is through merchandise—outside of the main product. Say you’re an airline. Though you can’t exactly be giving away free flights all the time, you can offer shirts with a funny slogan that relates to your brand’s video content (or a stuffed airplane, perhaps ). Put an annotation at the end of your videos that leads to the place on your website where they can purchase these items. This lets fans engage with your brand outside the web.

6. Offer Special Content

Think “behind-the-scenes” or “exclusive sneak peeks”—that’s the kind of content you can use as an incentive for viewers to engage further or as a reward for the fans that do. You can share these as unlisted videos, making your diehard fans feel all the more inclined to stay loyal and watching.

7. Expand to Other Platforms

Figure out where else your most engaged fans have social media accounts. If they’ve all got Twitter handles (they probably do), you should probably get one, too, to stay in the loop and further promote your work.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.