How to build a huge social media following

YouTube star and author Matthew Santoro built an army of followers across multiple social networks by turning his fans into his collaborators

YouTube star Matt Santoro

YouTube star Matt Santoro. (Portrait by Lane Dorsey)

Matt Santoro is a YouTube phenom and author of Mind = Blown! Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World. He tells us how he built up his 5.5 million-and-counting subscriber base:

Give the people what they want

“Originally, I started making comedy sketches and a few videos that used a Top 10 list format. I started to notice the Top 10 videos were getting significantly more views than the sketches. I was at a personal crossroads because I wanted to make people laugh; I didn’t necessarily want to be known as the Top 10 guy. Then I realized I could integrate that comedy into the Top 10 videos. Instead of fighting my own success, I just embraced what was working.”

Turn your followers into collaborators

“In my book, I devote a chapter to my fans. I used social media to ask my fans to email me interesting facts. I said that if the facts were true, I’d put them in the book, along with the contributor’s name. Getting fans involved gave them more reasons to be excited about the book and my brand overall.”

Don’t fear overexposure

“Nowadays, it’s not necessarily enough to be on one single social media platform. You could pick and choose, but if you do that, you’re leaving money on the table. Why wouldn’t I want to be on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope and Snapchat? Not only are these additional creative outlets for me, but they also allow me to interact in different ways with the very people who have made my brand what it is.”