The How to Empower a Fanbase panel took place on Friday in Panel Room A on Friday at Summer in the City 2018. It was chaired by Louise Griffin and featured New Hope Club, Daz Black, and Becky James.
Louise started the ‘How to empower a fanbase – Making people WANT to share your content’ panel by asking the panellists what made them want to share other creators’ content as viewers. Daz and Becky were on the same wavelength from the start, both agreeing that if something made them laugh, they were more likely to share it.
Louise went on to ask Becky if, as a smaller YouTuber, she feels she needs to work harder to get the audience to engage. She replied that actually, it is the opposite, as the audience feels more compelled to share because they feel a closer emotional connection.
Daz then spoke about his transition from Vine to YouTube, and how the audience didn’t really transfer. “I had to grow organically within the platform,” he said, as he explained that while Vine content was very shareable, YouTube is different and the way to engage with the audience is also different. He ended by concluding that YouTube was “the least shareable of all platforms”.
Louise then asked what it is about videos that make people want to share them. Becky said that she could get a sense of panels that would do well by the content and the thumbnail she’d created for them. Louise addressed this point by asking if that pushes the creators to make more videos of the type that do well. Becky replied that it did somewhat influence her decision, but the number one thing was to stay true to herself.
The conversation moved on to how the personality of the YouTuber has an influence on whether the audience wants to share their video. Daz’ response was “it’s key”, and he went on to explain that when it comes to gaming videos, there are a million walkthroughs of the same game, but people will watch the one that they can relate to.
Reece Bibby of New Hope Club added that for them, as musicians, personality is very important. “You can’t just keep promoting your music and not interact with people in a real way,” he said. Louise asked the panellists how they keep the balance between promotion and authenticity and Reece explained that they do their best to not force content. They talk about how they’ll be open to doing different types of covers but they won’t just cover something because it’s popular.
Before taking questions from the audience, Louise asked the panel what tips they would give small YouTubers who want to encourage people to share their content. “Do what you enjoy, that’s going to come through,” said Daz, and he went on to explain that if you only follow trends, it’s obvious. Becky agreed and added that if a content creator would watch it themselves, that’s a good sign.
An audience member asked the panellists how to make sure you’re asking people to share in a sincere way, and Daz answered that he tries to make it into a joke. George Smith of New Hope Club said that they always start by thanking the audience as that feels natural to them, and then they ask the viewer to consider sharing it.
Another audience member asked the panel how they feel about the term ‘fans’. This question divided the panellists. On one hand, Becky said her community does not like the word as their relationship feels a lot more like a friendship. On the other hand, George said he didn’t see the word fan as negative and he doesn’t mind it being used. Daz concluded by saying that it’s difficult to draw the line between YouTube and mainstream, so no word seems appropriate.
Photos by Emma Pamplin.
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