Over a year ago YouTube invited a select group of creators to test out a new function, the YouTube Community tab, to connect with fans in-between video uploads. The Community tab provides creators a new simple way to engage with their viewers and develop their presence beyond videos.
Now channels are able to use text, live videos, images, animated GIFs and more, creating ways to engage with fans more frequently and between uploads. Fans will see channels’ posts in the Subscriptions feed on their YouTube Mobile App and can also elect to be notified when a channel posts.
Recently, YouTube announced that the Community tab would be made available for all channels with 10,000 or more subscribers and will replace the Discussion tab. Any comments from the the previous Discussion tab can be accessed or deleted for 30 days after creators receive the Community tab, as detailed in this YouTube Help page.
To help you, YouTube provided some suggestions on how to best use the Community tab in a Creator Academy lesson. These suggestions include involving your community by using polls to gather feedback for what videos fans would like to see most, building anticipation for new videos by posting sneak peeks, and increasing reach by collaborating with other creators to cross-promote each other’s channels.
The Community tab is also being developed by YouTube to improve discoverability by showing the right Community posts to the right users. To do this, YouTube has made updates to how these posts reach audiences. The most engaged users will now see Community posts in the Home feed, whether they’re subscribed to a channel or not. Fans can also receive notifications for Community posts from the channels they subscribe to. Users can manage these settings by tapping the bell icon next to the Subscribe button and selecting to receive None, Highlights (including Community posts), or All notifications.
In addition to expanding the availability of the Community tab, it was also announced that YouTube will be launching a beta for a Snapchat-esque feature called YouTube Reels. Reels will be YouTube’s take on the popular stories feature found on most large social media platforms, but targeted and developed specifically for use within YouTube. Unlike most stories, Reels will not expire, and users will be able to link to other YouTube videos and use YouTube-specific stickers. Similarly to the Community tab, Reels will remain a beta version until enough feedback is gathered to expand the feature’s availability.
All of these features indicate a renewed commitment to developing the social aspect of YouTube’s platform and providing creators and users with new spaces and ways to interact. Compared to previous efforts like linking channels to Google Plus pages, the Community tab may prove to be a more effective way to engage audiences.
To learn more about YouTube’s Community tab, check out the video below and watch the lesson from YouTube’s Creator Academy.