Best Practices

Best Practices: Working with YouTube Influencers

By Editorial Staff

When it comes to influencer marketing, most brands don’t realize the jackpot they can hit on YouTube. YouTube influencers have a profound effect when appealing to millennials and niche audiences, but YouTube’s influence expands far across just these audiences. Brands across all industries are quickly learning how to make money on YouTube with influencer marketing. First, let’s talk about how YouTube turned into a major marketing machine.

The Rise of YouTube

The American-created video platform launched in 2005 under the creation of three former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. Stationed in San Bruno, California, YouTube was bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion and now functions as one of Google’s subsidiaries. Now, over 400 hours of content are uploaded to the platform every second, making YouTube influencers insanely beneficial.

  • When it comes to video content, YouTube influencers are at the forefront of trends meaning users trust them to identify the hottest new brands and products.
  • Most YouTube creators are highly selective when choosing which brands to partners with, maintaining a level of authenticity to sponsored content.
  • YouTube influencers tend to be very interactive with their audiences allowing them to cultivate communities amongst their subscribers that reflect friendships rather than typical fanships.

YouTube influencers have a reach that extends further than you would think. A study conducted by Carat, Nielsen, and YouTube found that beauty brands were the first to partner with YouTubers with 86% of the top 200 videos in the beauty category coming from influencers rather than brands. This study was conducted across nine more categories including auto, snacks, and toys, all of which showed that working with a YouTube influencer caused an increase in brand affinity as well as consumers’ purchase intent. 

This makes the idea that YouTube influencer marketing is strictly for female audiences an outdated concept. The next generation of audiences is being raised on YouTube, making the marketing impact of these influencers something to take note of. 

YouTube has also started making its own contributions. The platform recently launched a ‘Merchandise’ feature which allows creators to sell directly to their audiences. The feature works on a sliding scale, meaning that creators with more than 10,000 subscribers can offer more merchandise such as phone cases, T-shirts, hats, or any of over 20 different items that fit the theme of their channel. YouTube has also created the dedicated creators program which allows influencers to make even better videos, find their audience, and grow their channel. 

Most Popular YouTube Partnerships

In order to carry out a YouTube influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to think about the different kinds of collaborations available and pick one that best fits your brand. Some of the most popular YouTube partnerships include:

1. Unboxing Videos

These videos show YouTubers opening up packages or products for the first time. Recent Google research shows that one-fifth of consumers have watched unboxing videos on the platform. Here is an example of a micro-influencer unboxing a new GoPro Hero 7. Though the video was published by a smaller creator, it has 25,000 pageviews and over 130 comments.

2. How-To Guides and Tutorials

These videos seem to go back almost as far as the platform itself. A good, old-fashioned how-to video is perfect for any type of software gadget, mobile troubleshooting, makeup product, or fitness equipment. This tutorial was posted by a user with 17,000 subscribers, but earned over 3.5 million views. Crazy, right? 

3. Comedy and Sketches

A lot of YouTubers incorporate skits into their videos already, but adding humor to their brand deals helps keep their viewers entertained, sometimes to the point where they don’t even realize it is an ad. While everyone’s sense of humor is different, there is luckily no shortage of content creators in this genre making it super easy to find one that will fit your brand. Comedy sketches like this one are a good method to use if you are trying to achieve viral marketing

4. Product Reviews

Finally, product reviews are ideal when it comes to selling products. Nowadays, people turn to YouTube when they are considering buying a new product. Research has shown that people are more likely to spend money on a product if they see that it has positive reviews online. Since audiences find it easier to make purchase decisions after seeing how a product works, video reviews become great resources. Some of the most popular reviews are about technology, but many also include makeup and beauty products, hotels, and even cars. The ideal partnership will be one where you pay or give free products to a YouTuber in exchange for them creating a video that aligns with your marketing goals.

How to Find YouTube Influencers

We all know the classic YouTubers that started their channels early and still gain tons of traction on everything they post like Jenna Marbles and Shane Dawson, but what about the newer YouTube creators that can reach smaller, more targeted audiences? These are considered micro-influencers and they are more reachable than ever. 

1. Use Google

Google is a great place to look for itemized lists of influencers. As you start your search for micro YouTube influencers, here are some keywords that might be helpful:

  • List of [your industry name] influencers on YouTube
  • YouTube [your industry name]
  • [Your industry name] influencers to follow on YouTube
  • Best [industry name] YouTubers to follow

Example: If you are a brand that specializes in technology, try searching “tech influencers on YouTube” to find potential partners for unboxing, product review, and other types of videos. Most search results will give you a list of relevant tech influencers to peruse before deciding which ones may fit your brand best. Pro tip: Don’t stop on the first page! Try looking through at least 4-6 pages of search results to make sure you aren’t missing out on anyone good. 

Don’t be discouraged if you planned on working with someone that didn’t show up on a list of top influencers for that industry. This might mean that the influencer you had in mind is simply at the beginning of their career, allowing your brand to become one of their first partnerships. These relationships have the potential to grow as the influencer grows, turning into a really strong partnership!

2. Search YouTube

Since a YouTube search won’t give you itemized lists like Google, it’s better to search for specific types of videos and channels instead. However, just like Google, you can use filters in your YouTube searches. Try these out:

  • “Type: Video” to browse videos that have crossed a certain threshold for the creator or have gone viral.
  • “Type: Channel” to search by creator.
  • “Sort by: View count” to go past the popular videos and channels. Look for videos and channels with views between thousands and tens of thousands.

3. Other Approaches

There are lots of other ways to search for YouTube influencers. You can go through a talent management agency that works specifically with micro-influencers such as Socially Powerful. These agencies have existing relationships with content creators and can reach out on behalf of your brand to finalize deals and set up your partnership. You can also use self-service influencer platforms like FameBit or NeoReach to receive proposals straight from the YouTubers themselves. 

NeoReach's Search Feature

3 Successful YouTube Influencer Marketing Examples

Now let’s take a look at some successful YouTube Influencer Marketing Campaigns.

1. Try The World’s Brand Awareness Campaign

Try The World is a subscription food box that wanted to increase awareness of their brand. They decided to work with several micro-influencers to accomplish this. One influencer had more than 50,000 subscribers and created an unboxing video featuring the Try The World box. His video got over 20,000 views and over 200 comments, many of which stating that the viewers intended to purchase one of the boxes. 

2. Society6’s Female Millennial Market Drive

Society6 is an online store and community that lets artists sell their artwork through various products. Society6 wanted to specifically target a female, college-aged demographic. To do so, they partnered with both large and small YouTubers. Many of the micro-influencers like Katherout, a micro-influencer with around 100,000 subscribers, created videos similar to this one. Although many of the videos got less than 50,000 views, these combined accounted for 31% of the total campaign’s reach. 

3. Aunt Jackie’s Black History Month Campaign

Aunt Jackie, a popular haircare brand, partnered with YouTube channel, NaturallyCurly, to create a Black History Month Campaign. NaturallyCurly is run by micro-influencers that focus on sharing tips for maintaining natural hairstyles. For this video, Alex and Gerilyn from NaturallyCurly used Aunt Jackie hair products while answering a Black History Month quiz. The video earned 20,000 views with over 80 comments.

Overall, using YouTube influencers can be very beneficial for marketing campaigns. With video content comes a lot of room for creativity, authenticity, and conversation between the content creators and the audience. Now that you have an idea of where to start, get out there and get looking for ways to make YouTube influencing the next step for your brand. 

This article was written by PJ Leimgruber & Lauren Martin

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