Today, nobody can contest the ever growing popularity of YouTube. From instructional videos to documentaries, reality TV episodes to movie trailers, and everything else in between, YouTube is the place to be for many web users. For this reason, a lot of businesses have long invaded this platform and are making use of it to expand their reach, boost their website traffic, and promote their products and services.

So how can you develop and grow your very own following on YouTube? Here are 6 helpful ways that have been tried and tested in the past:

1.      Make your videos short but overflowing with value.

Don't try to pack in too many things into one video or you'll end up either boring the audience or confusing them. It's important to keep your videos brief while focusing on just one important message that can help fulfill a particular purpose. This way too, you can save up more ideas for future videos.

What's more, when you have videos that are overflowing with value for your target viewers, that's when you'll capture their attention and keep them coming back for more. It can pique their interest and lead them to visit your website or subscribe to your YouTube channel.

2.      Keep things interesting and engaging.

The first few seconds of your video are crucial. You need to seize people's attention at the beginning, then keep them hooked all throughout. This can definitely be tricky, and here's where in-depth knowledge of your target audience is critical.

What makes them tick? What captures their fancy? What emotions will keep them hanging? What would make them want to get involved?

In addition, you ought to remember that YouTube is also a social media network. Therefore, you need to engage with others who are in your same niche or who may be interested in the same things that you are. You need to also check out other channels, comment on other videos, and keep interacting.

3.      Include your call to action and other annotations.

There's nothing like a direct call to action that can make a viewer actually do something. If your video's purpose is to ask people to subscribe to your channel, then go ahead and ask. If it was designed to grow your following by requesting people to share it to their friends, then you must clearly state this request. You can place an annotation at the bottom of the screen and/or flash it when the video's done.

If you have a narrator or voice over, you can include the call to action within the script too. And of course you have to also mention it in your video's description. Add a link to your channel or to your website if you must.

4.      Come up with a regular programming plan.

Have you ever seen a popular TV series that had only a total of 5 episodes? Probably not. In the same way, you ought to also provide something regular for your followers and viewers. Let the word out that you are releasing a new video every end of the week at a particular time. You can even come up with more than one show if you can.

If people like what they watch, they're bound to look out for more. They will want to catch the next video release, which will drive them to follow you on YouTube.

Think of your YouTube channel as a real channel or TV network for your business. So sooner or later, you'll have to come up with your very own programming of two or three shows that you can safely run on a regular basis. Don't worry, because each one can be short and simple--- perhaps a two-minute health and fitness tip or a five-minute interview.

5.      Don't forget to apply SEO strategies on and off your YouTube channel.

When you have an online business, consider SEO as a constant companion in all your marketing efforts. Naturally, you'll also need to optimize your videos on YouTube. This can be done by incorporating relevant keywords into the description and even the video itself, adding the proper title and tags, ensuring top quality content, and more.

Of course you also need to work on SEO strategies outside of YouTube, which will probably entail you to add a "Subscribe to my Channel" widget on your website and feature a few of your videos in your blog or for guest posts in other blogs among others.

6.      Partner with the experts in the online video world.

Be observant of the well-established channels on YouTube that already have a massive following, not to mention an active community within and regular uploads of valuable videos. Do you know that you can actually partner with these experts in order to tap into their communities and strengthen your online presence? It's a great way to build your own following on YouTube.

You have to grab such opportunities to have greater exposure. But if there are not opportunities presented to you, then make them! Go out there and approach these channels. Just be sure to pick out the ones related to your business.

Apply these 6 important ways to build and grow your YouTube following and before you know it, you've got your own active social network on this video sharing platform!