Doing community management on YouTube is especially important and challenging.

If someone had told me before I started making videos on YouTube about the amount of pressure I was going to get from the community, I’d never have believed them.

It’s really easy for someone who is not in the business to undervalue the stress that YouTubers go through when trying to manage their communities. And the hardest part is that if you let it get to you, it affects your entire channel. I’m here to give you a few tips on how to manage your YouTube channel community.

It’s all about the viewers.

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economics researcher from Duke University and he once said: “It’s not enough to work hard on a relationship, you have to show that you are working hard.” I realized this from Day 1 of my YouTube career. When I started getting the first comments on my videos, I immediately realized that I needed to give people an incentive to comment even more. Not only would I respond to their comments in the comments section, but I’d also make a video answering every comment. That worked for two reasons: it showed the viewers that I cared about them, so it encouraged them to come back and keep commenting on the video. It also increased user interaction with my content, bringing in even more people and thus, more comments.

Create a sense of community.

People want to belong! That’s why online media is so strong, and why traditional media is losing power. On YouTube, the viewer has the ability to directly interact with a content creator, liking, subscribing, commenting etc. You need to cherish that. If someone takes the time to spontaneously make an intro to your channel, acknowledge that. Maybe use it in a video, like and comment. Also, keep the comments section clean, get rid of spam that might get through the filter on YouTube and make sure to get rid of people being rude to each other for no reason. Would you comment on a video, knowing that it’s going to be sitting there among lots of Minecraft gift card links and hateful nonsense? Yeah, neither do your viewers.

Don’t force anything.

It’s pretty well-known that giving a nickname to your community increases the feeling of being in a group. But what people don’t talk about is that you can’t force it. PewDiePie didn’t wake up one day and decide to call his audience “bros.” It’s something that happened naturally and over time. That’s why it works. Your viewers can sense when you are not being honest and spontaneous, and they really dislike it.

Listen to criticism, but don’t take it too seriously.

This is a weird one. You have to listen to your audience, but not too much. Steve Jobs never relied on marketing research: he said that people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

So, the comments section gives you an idea of how people feel about your content and can point you in the right direction, but definitely don’t let them tell you what to do.

Dealing with people is already hard for someone with a normal social network. Can you imagine what it’s like for a YouTuber who has to deal with hundreds of thousands, maybe millions? It’s funny how the human mind works: you can have hundreds of positive comments, but it only takes a couple of negative ones to ruin your day. So listen to your audience, but don’t take it too seriously.

Doing community management on YouTube is especially important and challenging because you are constantly getting your work evaluated. Negative responses can affect your mood, which directly impacts your ability to produce good quality content and this can have a snowball effect. But it also works the other way around: if done right, it can really improve the channel’s overall quality.

Eric Hamers is Head of Brazil for Brazucas, a Bent Pixels Community, and Bent Pixels Select (Brazil).

Be sure to come back for more tips and tricks on how to promote your YouTube channel, and don’t forget to check out our awesome communities while you’re here!