Since it’s inception in 2005, YouTube has gone from a convenient way to share videos to a multinational publishing platform. Boasting over 1 billion users (a third of the entire internet population) it is also arguably the second largest search engine in the world.
When you consider that the number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40% year on year since 2014 and YouTube reaches more 18 – 49 year olds than any cable network in the USA, it’s clear that it is a channel to be reckoned with.
A key driver of this success is the emergence of YouTube celebrities or influencers.
Some have become large scale celebrities in their own right, with tens of millions of subscribers and billions of views, where others may be known only to those in a very specific niche. Regardless of the audience size, YouTube has become a powerful platform for influencer marketing.
If you’ve never run an influencer marketing campaign before however, it can all seem a bit daunting. This article will cover some of the basics to help you get started.
WHY YOUTUBE IS SO POWERFUL
Video is about as close to face to face interaction as you can get. It’s visceral, authentic and an excellent way to build a connection with an audience. And these deeper connections are precisely what makes it such a powerful platform for influence.
And compared to other platforms like blogs or Instagram, the longer length of YouTube videos offer more flexibility for creators. They can experiment with video style, content and go more in depth than on other platforms.
This flexibility and depth also helps to build deeper connections with the audience.
But how exactly should a brand get started with a campaign?
1) CLARIFY YOUR OBJECTIVES (and set some KPIs)
Before you dive right in, it’s important to get clear about what exactly you are looking to achieve. Are you looking to drive app downloads? New sign ups to your service? Or maybe you just want to get the word out about a new product you are launching.
Whatever it is, get clear about it from the start.
Setting clear goals will put you in a much better position to set your budget, find the right influencers, and develop your campaigns. It is also a good idea to set some key metrics you can use to measure success (such as click through, cost per acquisition, total views etc). This will help you be clearer about whether the campaign was a success.
2) FIND THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS
Influencer marketing is all about working with the right influencers. It’s not enough to simply find a big name and get them to talk about your product. Especially when it comes to YouTube, relevance and authenticity are key.
You can manually search through YouTube to find the right influencers or use influencer marketing platforms to help you find the best people. Whatever you choose to use, here are the main things you should be looking out for.
How relevant is your product or service to their audience? Are they in a similar field talking about similar subjects? The more relevant your product to their audience and style the greater chance you have of connecting with the audience.
How many total subscribers and views do they have? This will give you good idea of how many people you can expect to see your video. Though it’s tempting to go for the bigger numbers, remember that it’s about finding the right people. Relevance trumps reach.
How engaged are the audience on their videos? Are people commenting and liking regularly? Does the influencer actively engage with their audience and build a sense of community? Audiences who regularly comment and engage are far more likely to be receptive to your message (assuming it’s relevant).
An important but often overlooked factor. How regularly is the influencer posting content? Consistently posting videos leads to greater engagement and a more responsive audience. Beware of big subscriber counts and no recent videos.
3) NEGOTIATE THE TERMS
Knowing your objectives, metrics and budget will give you a much better idea of how much you can afford to spend on an influencer campaign. Campaigns can range from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands, depending on the influencer, brand and projected results.
There is no hard and fast rule, but look to find a rate that works for both parties. You want the influencer to feel they are being fairly compensated for their efforts, but you also want the campaign to deliver results.
It’s also a good time to clarify details of the campaign and include trackable links to so you can measure the performance – especially important if you are working with multiple influencers.
4) DEVELOP THE CONTENT
It’s often hard for brands to let go of creative control, but it’s important to trust the influencers judgement on what will work for their audience. It’s best to provide guidelines and resources but be very open to the input and creative direction of the influencer.
Generally speaking, successful YouTubers are usually either entertaining or educational. Sometimes they blend the both.
Partnering with prominent educational YouTubers can be a great way to showcase the details of your product and capture search traffic. Influencers help your audience learn more deeply about your product or service through the voice of someone they trust.
Save the sales hype. Authenticity is key.
If that means an influencer will point out some of the small frustrations they have with your product, that is OK. This adds to the authenticity and unless is a fundamental flaw, can make the video even more effective.
5) KEEP IT REAL
At the risk of being repetitive, authenticity is key. YouTube personalities will often share things that are often media trained out of mainstream celebrities and that is a big part of their appeal.
Which is why it’s so important to find influencers who want to work with you, who genuinely believe in your product or brand and are authentic when they talk about it.
In order to keep this level of authentic connection, it’s important for them to disclose paid promotions. Though it’s tempting to think you will get greater results by obscuring the nature of the arrangement, it’s really not worth it in the end.
YouTube is an extremely powerful channel for influencer marketing. It offers flexibility, connection and thousands of different niches for all kinds of brands. Relevance and authenticity are key. If you are looking to kick start your influencer marketing on YouTube or other platforms, Brand New offers an intuitive software platform that makes the process a breeze.