My son the YouTuber + what he Learned about Social Media Engagement Rates

What can we, as online marketers and content creators, learn from this budding YouTuber story? Read on…
Mcalvin1y 12 year old son recently started a YouTube Channel of his own and has been obsessed with building his subscribers and views.

He relentlessly studies other famous YouTubers popular within his age group, like Ryan Higa, jacksepticeye (cringe…) and of course, PewDiePie– the 27 year old with more than 53 million subscribers and earning more than $15million.

But this post isn’t about young YouTubers making crazy money off of cringe worthy irrelevant videos. Or even about PewDiePie’s recent fall  after some poor judgement.

This is about what it takes to get fan engagement and what most content creators can expect.

Over the weekend, my son’s YouTube Channel hit 100 subscribers. Excitedly, he created a video thanking his fans, and asking them to vote on what challenge he and his buddies should take on in their next video.

“What’s it going to be?” he excitedly asked his fans, “Mannequin Challenge? Chubby Bunny? Ice Bucket challenge? I can’t wait to hear what my fans come up with! Comment below!” he tells his viewers.

I immediately got online and made my recommendation, “How about the ‘clean the house’ challenge!” I wrote.

“Mom! Stop!” he said as he waited for the comments to roll in.

To his disappointment, he only received 2 other comments. “Why is no one commenting!?” he asked.

I explained to him that it doesn’t mean his fans weren’t watching or supporting him, its just the nature of social media – not everyone feels comfortable commenting or even “liking” what they see online. In fact, 89% of people passively watch and listen, but will almost never make a comment. This means that you have to have a significant following to expect a large amount of comments or engagements.


Here’s an except from my latest book,  Social Media in Action further explaining this phenomenon .

 “No matter tsocialmediabook1he size, every online community has its loudest voices. And these voices make up only 1% of the total community. But they are a powerful 1%. This 1% are essentially the “creators”. They are the ones who start conversations and therefore tend to influence the attitudes and energy of the social group as a whole.  

Even though it may feel like a social network is not active, or no one is listening, this is because of the small percentage who actually creates content.  10% of a community is what is known as “editors”. These members will post and contribute to conversations started by the “creators”. They are the ones who will simply “like” something on FaceBook, or contribute a “me too” type blog comment.
So what are the remaining 89% of the members doing? Listening

So although you may think no one is listening to you, they are.  Social media provides a voyeuristic view of what’s happening in your community. The same reason reality television took off, social media offers a chance for people to listen in, see your ideas, and hear what’s going on. “

So, I told my son that getting 3 comments, and 5 likes on his video was actually industry standard. That’s about a 10% engagement rate on his 100 subscribers.

So what can we, as online marketers and content creators learn from this budding YouTuber story? Build your online audience before expecting engagement – this goes for planning online contests, expecting customer feedback or even asking questions. Finally, the lower the fan count, the easier you need to make the engagement activity for your customers and followers.

In summary, continue to create quality content for your target audience, build your followers, and have realistic expectations on engagement rates.

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