How To Get Free YouTube Subscribers (The Real Way)
YouTube subscribers are the be-all and end-all of any successful channel. These regular viewers can maximize your organic reach and provide you with a consistent view base every time you post new content.
If your goal is to make money on YouTube, meeting subscriber milestones is critical. For example, you need at least 1,000 subscribers to become a YouTube partner and generate advertising revenue. And the more subscribers you have, the higher you climb the YouTube "benefit level" ladder (think of awards, managers, and production aids for 100,000+ subscribers).
What if you want to use YouTube for branding and marketing instead of making money out of the box? You still need subscribers. They increase the number of games you play, watch time and interaction – all important signals for the YouTube algorithm.
So, should you just go out there and buy YouTube subscribers? Or use a service that quickly promises 1,000 YouTube subscribers for free? Read on to find out (although the next section heading is likely to be a clue …).
Then find out how to get people to hit the subscribe button and get free real YouTube subscribers using legitimate strategies to grow your channel.
Bonus: Download the. down Free 30-day plan to grow your YouTube followers quickly, a daily challenges workbook to help you grow your youtube channel and track your success. Get real results after a month.
Why You Shouldn't Buy YouTube Subscribers
See, we understand the urge to buy YouTube subscribers. We will not shame you on this.
But we're going to pop your bubble: it won't work. The truth is, the creators of the world's best YouTube channels don't spend their time or money on seedy growth plans. You are too busy making great videos.
First, let's take a look at how "free" YouTube subscription services work. (Note, however, that nothing is really free. As the saying goes, if you don't pay for the product, you are the product.)
You earn your "free" subscribers by subscribing to and liking other channels as indicated by the service. Most ask you to subscribe to 20 channels and like a certain number of videos. In return, 10 channels subscribe to yours.
Essentially, you rent yourself out as a one-person click farm. It's similar to the time we tried Instagram engagement pods.
The service hopes that after a few days you get bored of all that endless clicking and decide to pay for YouTube subscribers instead. Either way, the service wins: they either get your time or your money. Whether you get it through a free program or you pay for it, what do you get?
- Bot subscribers who don't get involved
- A bad look for your real audience, who are likely very concerned about authenticity
- The risk of violating YouTube's fake engagement guidelines (tl; dr: you could get banned)
- Potential stink-eye from any brands that might want to work with you
At the end of the day, it's just not worth it.
There are plenty of clickbait videos out there that claim to tell you how to get 1,000 YouTube subscribers for free. Or even a million! Of course, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The fact that this video is a joke, for example, should definitely be clear when it comes to drawing polygons …
These videos garner tons of views – over 1.2 million in this case – from people looking for a quick and easy secret to get their YouTube subscribers growing. But they are only clickbait. You are not real. Don't waste time unless you just want to laugh.
The fact is, there is no workaround. You have to put in the work. But there are some simple, real-world tactics you can use to start building a legitimate YouTube follower right away. Let's dive in.
How to Get Free YouTube Subscribers: 15 Tips
If you're just starting out, take a look at our guide on how to create a YouTube channel. You should know the basics of your channel before delving into the tips below.
Here are our best practices for converting viewers into subscribers, from the simplest to the most complicated. Don't tackle them all at once. Try one of these tips for every new video you post or implement one or two a week.
1. Ask your viewers for a subscription
It's that easy.
Sometimes your audience just needs to be reminded of it.
Does the request for the subscription seem too promotional to you? It can be if you ask too soon or too often. But a quick reminder to subscribe at the end of your video will only make it easier for your fans to keep up with your work.
Don't forget to demonstrate why it is worth subscribing to your channel. Make sure to ask about the subscription only after you've posted new and useful information or made viewers laugh.
2. End your video by teasing what you're working on next
Subscribing to a YouTube channel is an act of anticipation. Viewers who have just seen what your brand is about are prepared to want more if you've done your job right.
Hype your next video and make it clear why you shouldn't miss it is the most organic way to encourage people to tap into subscription.
Of course, this requires that you have a good handle on your content plan and know what's next. (More on that soon.)
3. Confirm your Google account
By default, all YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes long. If you want to keep creating content, you'll need to verify your account.
Because longer videos give you more options for the type of content you can create, this is an important step for anyone looking to build a professional channel.
To verify your account, go to www.youtube.com/verify on your computer (not a mobile device) and follow the instructions.
Once you've verified your account, you can upload videos up to 256GB or 12 hours in length.
4. Interact with your audience and build a community
When you develop a relationship with your viewers, they'll be more likely to want to see your work. Reply to comments. When YouTubers subscribe to your channel, follow them back and watch their videos.
Think of your channel as a community and make sure that you are an active member and not just someone posting content from above.
If you pay attention to the comments, your audience will provide you with lots of free content ideas as well.
Writing on comments can seem like a daunting task. If you use Hootsuite to manage your YouTube presence, you can add comment streams to your Hootsuite dashboard. This makes it easy to review, reply to, and / or moderate comments on all of your videos from one place.
5. Create effective channel branding
Channel branding is an important way to let viewers know who you are and what to expect from your channel.
Your YouTube banner welcomes everyone who clicks on your channel. Maybe they just watched a video and are looking for more. Maybe you are a potential subscriber.
Make sure they know where they are and why to stay around.
Source: Laura Kampf
Your banner needs to be clean, brand-compliant, compelling and – that's the tricky part – optimized for all devices. For example, you don't want important details to be hidden by your social media buttons.
We have a handy guide on how to create your own YouTube channel graphics, as well as free templates with the latest dimensions.
Your channel icon is essentially your logo on YouTube. It will appear on your channel page and everywhere you comment on YouTube. Make sure it clearly represents you and your brand and is easy to spot even if it is small.
This text will appear on the About page of your YouTube channel. You have up to 1,000 characters to describe your channel and let viewers know why they should subscribe. We have a full blog post on how to write effective YouTube descriptions to get you started.
Your default channel url looks something like this:
That's … not ideal. Fortunately, you can change it with a custom url. Select in YouTube Studio Adaptation in the left menu, then click Basic information and scroll down to Channel url.
The catch is you need to have at least 100 subscribers before you can claim a custom URL. If you aren't there already, put this at the top of your to-do list when you hit your first subscriber milestone.
6. Add a custom channel trailer
You can use YouTube's customization settings to make the most of the video area displayed at the top of your channel page. You can show one video for existing subscribers and another for unsubscribed viewers.
Source: YouTube Studio
For non-subscribers, create a channel trailer letting people know what to expect from your channel and why they should subscribe. Here is a great example from Bhavnas Kitchen & Living:
And this is what the video looks like on their channel page:
Source: Bhavna's Kitchen & Living
7. Brand your thumbnails
A thumbnail is a 1280 x 720 pixel still image that serves as a cover for your video. Think of it as a mini movie poster. It's your first and best chance to get someone to click your video. (Aside from your video titles, but more on that later.)
We're not talking about getting YouTube views today (we have another post for that) so why bring this up? Because consistent, professional thumbnails are another part of your channel branding. They can help new viewers learn more about who you are as a YouTuber.
Aim for consistent branding across all of your thumbnails. Use the same font, color palette, or even composition so people know (at least subconsciously) that they are watching a video from your channel.
For example, take a quick look at Jack Sturgess’s Bake with Jack YouTube channel. His consistent, compelling thumbnails show that his channel has plenty of reasons to subscribe.
Source: Bake with Jack
8. Use YouTube's clickable subscription tools in your videos
YouTube offers a number of built-in clickable tools that you can use to convert video watchers into channel subscribers.
This is a still image at the end of your video where you can remind people to subscribe or add another call-to-action before the YouTube algorithm directs them to the next video. You can add credits to any video during the upload process, as long as the video is longer than 25 seconds.
You can also go back and add credits to existing videos, which can be a great way to convert subscribers right from your existing content.
To add credits to an existing video, click content in the Creator Studio left menu, then select the video you want to add credits to. Press the End screen Box on the right side of the screen and paste Subscribe to item to your video.
This is an additional subscribe button that will appear in the lower right corner of your video. You can choose when to display the watermark during your videos.
To add the watermark, click Adaptation in the left menu of YouTube Studio, then select Trademark. The watermark will now appear on all of your videos.
9. Think in playlists
Playlists are a great way to add some time to your channel to play. Like a Netflix series, a YouTube playlist automatically plays a series of videos in a set order. The viewer doesn't have to actively click on the next video – they just sit back and let the content advance.
Think of each playlist as a separate mini-channel or an ongoing series. If someone watches a few videos in a row and enjoys them all, they have plenty of reasons to subscribe more.
Playlists appear, unsurprisingly, in the Playlists Your channel's tab.
You can also use playlists to …
10. Present your content strategically on your channel page
You can add up to 12 sections to your channel home page on the Layout tab in YouTube Studio. This allows you to showcase your best content right in advance, so new visitors can see your best creations when they think about whether to hit the Subscribe button.
You can also use sections to showcase the playlists you made in the last tip. Use playlists that are specifically tailored to different viewer needs to highlight the extensive value you offer at the top.
For example, check out these playlist sections on the English with Lucy YouTube channel:
Source: English with Lucy
People likely land on their channel page after looking for tips on learning English. From their playlists they can immediately see that there is a lot of information there if they want to learn something about grammar or pronunciation.
If you're not sure which sections to include on your channel page, start with popular uploads. This will automatically collect your top 12 videos with the highest number of views.
11. Run a competition
If you want a short-term increase in engagement or just feel like you're languishing on a subscriber plateau, check out our guide to running a YouTube contest.
Key steps include choosing a prize that matters to your audience and asking viewers to subscribe and enable notifications to participate.
12. Publish videos on a consistent schedule
People subscribe to a channel because they want to see new content from the creator. As a YouTuber, it's your job to deliver consistent, high-quality content that engages existing subscribers and engages new viewers.
Think of this as the equivalent of your TV time slot. You want people to look forward to your next "episode" and subscribe so they never miss the latest issue.
Fortunately, you don't have to commit to always being at your desk for your videos to go live. You can use a social media management platform like Hootsuite to schedule your videos on YouTube for later publication. For more information, see our guide to scheduling videos on YouTube.
13. Attract your audience from other social media channels
That means cross-promotion on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook – wherever you have established an existing fan community. It can be as simple as encouraging people to visit your YouTube channel on your Instagram or Twitter bio.
Posting a teaser of your latest video is another great way to attract people from other social accounts to your YouTube channel. Instagram Stories are ideal for this as you can offer a trailer or teaser of your video and alert people to it with a simple swipe-up link.
Coupled with the previous tip, if you regularly tease videos, people will start to anticipate your content. Once they anticipate your work, they are ready to subscribe.
Alexandra Gater is a home decor and DIY YouTuber who uses Instagram Stories really effectively to tease her YouTube videos that she posts every Saturday. After swiping up several times, viewers are more likely to click Subscribe so their content can become a regular part of their weekend plans.
Here's a teaser on Instagram Stories:
Source: Alexandra Gater on Instagram
And here is the video on YouTube.
A social media planning tool like Hootsuite makes cross-promotion a lot easier. We also have a complete guide on how to create a social media content calendar.
14. Do your keyword research on titles, descriptions, and hashtags
Once you know which keywords are related to your topic that people are already looking for on YouTube, then you can title your new video and choose your hashtags. But it could also be inspiration for your next video theme.
For example, if you have a YouTube channel about making kombucha at home, some preliminary keyword research could show YouTube viewers are interested in choosing the right brewing vessel, cleaning your brewing vessel, or doing a second fermentation. These topics could all be their own videos.
SEO tools like the Google Keyword Planner can help you identify the words and phrases that people are using to find the information you provide. Your goal is to find topics in a sweet spot: lower competition results, but higher search volume.
This way, you can avoid creating videos that no one is looking for. Or videos with titles that no one can find.
It also helps you avoid creating content on a topic that is already highly competitive before you are ready.
If you have no idea where to start your keyword research, consider what types of search phrases you would use to find content in your industry.
For example, Adriene Mishler from Yoga has an extensive back catalog of videos with Adriene that begin with the words "Yoga for …".
Source: Yoga with Adriene
This is exactly the type of language people are likely to use when looking for yoga videos to use at home. And, as Adriene told The Guardian last spring, keyword research and SEO terms sometimes guide the videos she creates.
Once you start building your channel, you can use YouTube Analytics to see which keywords are working to get people to your videos. Look for trends that could guide the content you create in the future.
To access this information, click Analytics in the left menu of YouTube Studio. click Access source in the top menu, then click YouTube search to see a list of the top searches that are driving viewers your way.
Source: YouTube Analytics
You can always go back to the descriptions of older videos to add new keywords and hashtags and make them easier to find.
15. Collaborate with other YouTubers
This goes back to tip # 4: Build a community. Use your connections to find other YouTube creators to work with so you can leverage each other's audience. After all, your audience trusts your recommendations and their audience trusts theirs.
Once you start building an audience, you may find that your followers are suggesting potential collaborations. In the meantime, explore YouTube yourself to look for potential employees in your area. When you find someone who looks promising, get in touch.
This is how you see your YouTube subscribers
You can see your list of YouTube subscribers in your channel dashboard. A full list of subscribers can be found here:
1. Go to your channel dashboard in YouTube Studio and scroll down to the Last subscribers Map. click SEE EVERYTHING.
Source: YouTube Studio
2. Select in the top right corner of the pop-up window lifespan from the drop down menu.
Source: YouTube Studio
You can now click through your subscriber list. You can sort by subscriber count if you want to see the most YouTubers with the most subscribers following you first.
If you just want to review new subscribers, you can view a list of people who subscribed in the last 7, 28, 90, or 365 days.
Note that the list only includes users who have made their subscriptions public.
Grow your YouTube audience faster with Hootsuite. It's easy to manage and schedule YouTube videos, and quickly post your videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – all from one dashboard. Try it for free today.
Grow your YouTube channel quickly with Hootsuite. Easily moderate comments, schedule videos, and post to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.