YouTube comments provide a quick and easy way for a creator to get immediate feedback on the videos they produce. When utilized correctly, these comments can be one of the simplest ways for a creator to interact with their audience. While comments may not measure engagement to the same degree that likes and views can, YouTube comments can serve the greater purpose of keeping an audience interested in your content. But how should you respond to the comments on your YouTube channel?
Tend to your garden
Unfortunately, these days comments on YouTube can get a bad rap, littered with chants of “first” and muddled discourse. For this reason, it can be helpful to think of a comment section as a garden. If you steadily water your garden — by engaging with comments and fuelling discussion — the garden will continue to grow even when you are away from it. However, if you completely ignore the garden, the conversation will stagnate. Overtime this garden can begin to grow weeds as offensive comments and spam comments begin to take root. These will make your garden appear sickly no matter how many constructive comments remain.
Creators can often become “lost in the weeds” in terms of what to do when increased audience numbers cause comment sections to turn sour. This is why it is crucial to look into moderating your comment section early on. Whether this means, blacklisting offensive words, holding comments for review, moderating comments yourself, or hiring someone else to moderate them for you, there are many options available to those who seek them out.
Cultivate a positive comments section
Once you have developed a good system for filtering out negative comments, what comments should you respond to? If you have a relatively small channel, responding to as many comments as you can is a fantastic way to build up a faithful audience. Viewers will be more likely to watch your videos and leave feedback if they feel that you are listening to what they have to say.
Rude, offensive or even regular spam comments are never worth a creator’s attention.
However, this does not mean that you are obligated to reply to every single comment you receive. Rude, offensive or even regular spam comments are never worth a creator’s attention. Though a small creator might initially make it their objective to respond to every single comment, there are some comments that will never warrant a reply. Not only is responding to offensive comments often a waste of energy; it also communicates to an audience that the best way to get your attention is to say something rude.
How does one know if a comment is worth responding to? There are some easy ways to figure this out. Ask yourself: Is this relevant to the content of my video? Does this comment add something to the conversation surrounding my video? Did this comment make me smile? A comment does not need to be entirely positive in order to prompt a yes from some of these questions. Critical comments can be just as meaningful as compliments so long as they are respectful and relevant.
Planting the right seeds
Once you know which type of comments you want to respond to, your next step is to consider how you should respond to them. Think about the tone of your channel, is your content educational or comedic? Lighthearted or serious? Remember that the way in which you choose to interact with commenters will reflect back on your channel as a whole. With this in mind, it is often best to engage with comments in a similar fashion to how you would engage with a viewer if you were speaking to them in person. Keep it polite and casual.
Your replies are more likely to be read if they are short and to the point, so there is no need to type out an essay in the comments of your video. If you put time and care into your responses, an audience will appreciate your efforts. Remember that if you enjoy a comment but do not feel that it warrants a reply, you can always pin it to the top of your comment section or give it a heart. Pinning comments is a great way to set the tone of your overall comment section by ensuring that your viewers will see lovely, supportive comments before anything else.
Managing rapid growth
As your YouTube channel grows, it can become increasingly difficult to respond to each and every comment. Thankfully, there are many strategies one can employ to maintain a substantial presence in their comment section, without becoming overwhelmed. In these situations, it is much better to “scan” a comments section, rather than carefully reading every message. It is common among popular channels, to see comment sections riddled with a slew of nearly identical comments. If you find multiple people asking the same question, there is a solid chance that one of those comments might be worth answering.
Lastly, remember to pace yourself when reading and responding to comments. YouTube comment sections can be amazing sources of feedback, but there comes a time when it can no longer be productive to scroll through an endless sea of opinions about you and your content. If you find yourself getting lost in your comments section remember that you can always reply to messages another day. Your audience (and yourself) will thank you for it.