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How to Unlock the Power of YouTube Influencers

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Social media isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Social media influence!

When I wrote that line, I took some liberties from that scene in The Social Network (you know, that movie about Facebook). It’s the scene where Sean Parker tries to convince Mark Zuckerberg about the potential of his then-small platform.

“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars!”

You can see Sean’s eyes gleaming with excitement at the future that Facebook had in the world of social networking.

When it comes to influencer marketing, I think marketers and brands should gleam with similar excitement at the opportunity a YouTube influencer has, especially when appealing to millennials and niche audiences.

But these aren’t the only audiences YouTube is successful in reaching. Brands across all industries and niches are quickly discovering how to make money on YouTube with influencer marketing.

In this article, I’ll cover:

  • The rise of YouTube
  • Some of the most popular types of YouTube influencer partnerships
  • How to find the right YouTube influencers
  • 3 successful YouTube influencer marketing examples

The Rise of YouTube Influencers

There are plenty of benefits to working directly with a YouTube influencer:

  • When it comes to video content, a YouTube influencer is a trendsetter that social media users trust to identify the hottest products and trends.
  • Most YouTube creators are highly selective when choosing brands to partner with, adding a level of authenticity to sponsored content.
  • YouTube influencers listen to and interact with their audiences, cultivating communities that are more like friendships than fanships.

rise of youtube influencers


Also, YouTube influencers are changing perspectives across more industries than you’d think.

A study conducted by Carat, Nielsen, and YouTube found that beauty brands were the first to partner with YouTube influencers, with 86% of the top 200 videos in the beauty category coming from influencers (not brands).

But what’s intriguing about Carat’s finding is just how far YouTube influencers stretch beyond this particular niche.

Carat tested nine more categories including snacks, auto, and toys. Across all nine of them, working with a YouTube influencer caused an uplift in brand affinity as well as consumers’ purchase intent.

So the idea that YouTube influencer marketing is purely for the female audience who are looking at beauty and cosmetic brands simply isn’t true.

Ultimately, a YouTube influencer’s impact on marketing is worth paying attention to, because the next generation of audiences is picking up on their branded content across multiple industries.

And YouTube is making its own contributions, continuously working on nurturing influencers of all sizes. For instance, it launched a ‘Merchandise’ feature that allows influencers to sell to audiences directly.

Creators with more than 10k subscribers can offer merchandise like phone cases, T-shirts, hats, or any of over 20 different items that make sense for their channel.

Additionally, it has a dedicated creators program in place that allows influencers to make great videos, find their audience, and grow their channel on YouTube.

Most Popular Youtube Partnerships

Partnering with YouTube influencers offers several advantages. But to carry out a YouTube influencer marketing campaign, it’s crucial to think about the different kinds of collaboration possible.

Let’s dive into the most popular YouTube partnerships that you can consider to promote your products, initiatives, and brand.

Unboxing Videos

Unboxing videos – that show YouTubers unwrapping products for the first time as they analyze the features – are a hit on YouTube.

Google’s research found that one-fifth of consumers has watched unboxing videos on the platform.

Because they portray the product experience without using marketing lingo and buzzwords, they are generally regarded as objective, unvarnished, and honest.

Here’s an example:

This unboxing video features a micro-influencer on YouTube unboxing a GoPro Hero7. It’s close to 25k pageviews and has received over 130 comments, many of which are from people who are planning to buy the product.

For all kinds of businesses, working with top YouTube influencers on unboxing videos can ultimately drive up brand engagement and result in people taking profitable actions like shares, sign-ups, and sales.

How-To Guides and Tutorials

Where would YouTube be without the power of the ‘how-to’?

These videos have an advantage in the sense that they’re almost timeless – they only become outdated if the activity explained in the video changes or its ‘educational value’ goes out-of-date.

Some of the most popular educational videos, tutorials, and how-tos include software upgrades, mobile troubleshooting, makeup, and fitness.

Here’s an example of a how-to:

On YouTube, you’d notice that micro-influencers like Louie post many of the how-tos. Louie has just 17k subscribers, but his video has raked in over 3.5 million views. That’s the power of the how-to tutorial.

Brands can partner with YouTube influencers like Louie to provide educational and thought-provoking content to their target audiences.

Comedy and Sketches

Many YouTube influencers create comedy and sketch content to keep their viewers amused. Of course, everyone’s sense of humor is unique, but there are so many content creators in this video genre that you’re sure to find someone who matches your branding.

These can go from full-on productions with a proper setup to impromptu skits in someone’s living room.

Comedy and sketch videos are among some of the most talked-about, often making their way onto Twitter, Facebook, and even mobile-based channels like WhatsApp. Which means they’re usually a go-to method for brands and people who are trying to master viral marketing.

Here’s one by Lauris Beinerts:

Lauris is a micro-influencer with less than 100k subscribers, but due to the viral nature of this videos, he gets a significant amount of views and engagement.

That said, it’s important to set realistic expectations, as not every sketch put on YouTube goes viral. Unfortunately.

Product Reviews

Nowadays, it’s ideal for people to turn to YouTube when they’re considering buying a product. They want to know what others think about the item that interests them.

Research has frequently shown that people are more likely to buy a product if they see positive reviews online.

It clearly depends on the product, but YouTube videos are the perfect medium for many different items. Audiences find it so much easier to make a purchase decision if they can see how a product works and if it has any shortcomings.

Straightforward and transparent: product reviews are just that. A YouTube influencer talks about products from brands and what they think of them.

Some of the most popular product review videos are about technology, but reviews can be about anything, really… from hotels to the latest model of Mercedes Benz.

Most of these partnerships involve brands sponsoring the YouTube creator. Sponsored YouTube content looks a bit more in-depth than other channels, giving audiences an opportunity for longer engagement with a piece of content. 

Ultimately, the perfect partnership will be the one where you pay or give free products to a YouTuber who then creates (or co-creates) valuable content that aligns with your goals.

How to Find Youtube Influencers

We all know the popular YouTubers who started early and have now gained a pop-culture icon status with younger audiences. Everything they upload gets tons of engagement, and their influence extends far beyond the platform, to conferences and even Hollywood flicks.

Talent agencies manage many of these mega-stars, but for brands, finding micro-influencers (YouTubers with smaller audiences) is now more achievable than ever.

Use the following tips to ensure that you connect with a YouTube influencer who’s the right fit for your brand.

Use Google

Start with Google to find a targeted YouTube influencers list that can steer you onto the right path. If you’re unsure of who exactly you should be contacting, this process will be useful.

As you go through the YouTube influencers list, you’ll be able to better visualize how partnering with certain YouTubers may or may not be beneficial.

Here are some search strings to help you get started:

  • 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

To explain through an example, if you sell wearables and other similar gadgets, you can search for ‘tech influencers on YouTube’ to find potential partners for unboxing, product review, and other types of videos.

Here’s what Google returns for this search:

finding youtube influencers

Most of these sites will present you with a relevant list of tech influencers who you can narrow down based on how closely they align with your goals.

Don’t just stop at the first page! Explore 4-6 pages for each search you conduct to ensure you’re not missing out on any good results.

Just because some YouTubers haven’t made it to the lists on the front page doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them for influencer marketing. In fact, they might be in the early phase of their career, which makes them an ideal fit for a lucrative YouTube influencer marketing partnership.     

Search YouTube

A YouTube search is different from a Google search in that it doesn’t present you with the same helpful curated articles and lists as Google does. With YouTube, you’re better off conducting individual searches for videos and channels.

As in the case of Google, you can narrow down your search. Click the ‘Filter’ option in the top right corner to do so. Try filters like:

  • ‘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’ – go past the popular videos and channels, as high-profile influencers most likely own these. Look for videos and channels with views between thousands and tens of thousands.

What Else?

Apart from using YouTube and Google to find YouTube influencers, you can get in touch with a talent management agency that manages micro-influencers, such as Socially Powerful.

These agencies reach out to their network of YouTubers, find relevant talent, finalize deals on your behalf, and help to line up the best YouTube influencers for your brand.

Finally, you can use a self-service influencer platform like FameBit to receive proposals directly from YouTube influencers. 

3 Successful Youtube Influencer Marketing Examples

Thinking about trying your hand at YouTube influencer marketing? Now is the perfect time to take the leap. Here are three real-world examples to inspire you.

1. Try The World’s Brand Awareness Campaign

Food box brand Try The World wanted to drive brand awareness for its range of subscription boxes. Instead of working with a high-profile influencer, the brand decided to collaborate with several micro-influencers.

One of them was Tyler, who runs a travel agency.

Tyler, who has more than 50,000 subscribers, posted an unboxing video featuring two subscription boxes from Try The World.

The video managed to get more than 20,000 views and resulted in a high level of engagement – more than 200 people left comments.

What’s more: many of those who saw the video noted that they intend to buy Try The World’s subscription boxes.  

2. Society6’s Female Millennial Market Drive

Society6, an online store and community that lets artists sell their artwork through various products, wanted to tap into the millennial women demographic who are in college and conscious about fashion.

For the purpose, Society6 partnered with both renowned lifestyle influencers and smaller YouTubers on this campaign.

These influencers published videos that showcased the many products available at Society6’s online store, which millennial women can use to spruce up their dorms. They wanted to portray the idea that these offerings are perfect for personalizing a small living space.

Here’s one from Katherout, a micro-influencer with around 100,000 subscribers.

The majority of the videos posted by micro-influencers like Katherout for Society6’s YouTube campaign got less than 50,000 video views. However, these videos accounted for 31% of the total campaign reach collectively.

Not bad, if you consider that these brands could recruit these smaller YouTubers at a much lower rate than high-profile influencers in the same industry.

3. Aunt Jackie’s Black History Month Campaign

Every year, as Black History Month is celebrated across the US, companies like Aunt Jackie use the power of storytelling to cultivate people’s deeper interest in black history.

This year, the haircare brand partnered with NaturallyCurly, a YouTube channel run by natural-haired micro-influencers. NaturallyCurly’s Alex and Gerilyn made a video in which they style their hair with Aunt Jackie’s products while taking a quiz on Black History Month.

The video generated over 23,000 views. More than 80 people left comments.

I’d say that was a success.

A YouTube influencer can be an ideal partner for any brand aiming to promote its product or service via video, and there are so many opportunities to leverage creativity, authenticity, and organic relationships.

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