YouTube at its heart is a video-sharing platform. After all, video is the reason this wildly-popular video-sharing tool now claims more than one billion users. But despite its incredible popularity, YouTube’s creators and marketers face stiff competition. Whether we’re talking about Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram, all of today’s top social media platforms inevitably are competing for audience attention and advertiser partnerships.

This high-stakes competition is likely one reason for this week’s news from YouTube, which announced this week that they were expanding the rollout of their popular “Community” product. The tool, which makes it easy for creators to connect with YouTube fans using “non-video” media formats like images, GIFs, text and polls, is now available to any YouTube user with more than 10,000 fans. Here’s why that’s likely to be good news for any creator or marketer spending their time and energy on YouTube to connect with consumers.

Community helps bring YouTube fans “behind the curtain”
YouTube already offers plenty of great options for creators to connect with their audience using site comments. But Community takes fan interaction to the next level, creating new ways for creators to develop more intimate interactions with their follower base. A great example of this is the many opportunities Community offers for “behind the scenes” content. A  musician on YouTube might use Community to build anticipation for their upcoming album, while athletes like NBA star Kevin Durant can experiment with the feature to share an insider’s view of game day. There’s even plenty of potential for marketers: a brand might work with a creator partner to share “outtakes” and bonus footage from a recent content collaboration.

Community makes it easier for creators to experiment with new ideas
Most YouTube content is already designed to feel spontaneous. But for creators with millions of subscribers, every share can feel like an “event,” forcing them to closely think through their story and content concept for each video. Community’s new “Reels” feature is designed to remove some of that pressure, allowing YouTube creators and brands to share quick, informal, snippets of content much like they might do with Instagram or Snapchat Stories. In addition, Community’s palette of digital sharing options, which now includes polls, GIFs, images, and text, provides plenty of opportunity for creators to test out new ideas before they’re “ready for prime time.”

Community assists creators with finding new audiences
One of the biggest potential benefits of Community for creators is that it helps them get their content in front of their most passionate fans. YouTube says that creators’ most engaged fans will see new Community content at the top of their home feed, even if they’re not subscribed to the creators’ channels. This is great way for YouTube’s emerging stars to continue building their audience, re-engaging past viewers and encouraging them to subscribe for future content.

YouTube is already the world’s biggest platform for video, making a natural home for creators and marketers alike. But with this new update to Community, YouTube is taking its creator and fan engagement tools to the next level, offering a powerful new way for anyone on the platform to build more powerful connections and grow their audience. Wondering how you might take advantage of Community for a future content or marketing campaign? Reach out to the experts at Captiv8 today.