“YouTube Influencer” is not just a buzzword coming out of the social media microcosm of gen Z – at least, not anymore.
Nowadays, influencers are major players in modern business marketing. More and more brands are deciding to partner with influencers to boost brand awareness and increase audience outreach.
You might think only industry giants can afford to affiliate with influencers. And it’s true… if you’re shooting for big celebrities like the Kardashians. But believe me – you don’t need A-list names to leverage the power of influencers’ recognition.
What can you do with a small business budget that can be pretty tight? Partner with influencers on YouTube! That’s an excellent way to step up your marketing game. And 77% of marketers agree – they claim that influencers are ideal candidates for a fruitful collaboration.
Let’s see why.
When it comes to the best medium of brand representation, video content has multiple advantages over anything else – they’re engaging, dynamic, and fun.
And YouTube is the platform that accumulates pretty much all of the video content you might ever look for. It regularly ranks within the top three most visited and used websites in the world, with the audience reaching 2 billion people.
Besides, YouTube marketing is now a well-developed and thoroughly analyzed tool. 55% of marketers report it’s their top one video content medium. It’s not only convenient for seeking visual inspiration, though. YouTube can drive up your sales as you’ve never seen before – if you play it smart.
Who Are YouTube Influencers?
And that’s where influencers can help you. But who are they?
In simple terms, an influencer is a person with a high degree of credibility within a specific area or industry, supported by a community they have formed on a given social media platform (YouTube in our case).
YouTube influencers accumulate between 1k and 100k followers. While these numbers are far behind macro-influencers and top celebrities, influencers tend to have higher engagement rates. Added bonus: it is much easier to get in contact with an aspiring micro-influencer than with a major celebrity.
One more key characteristic of a micro-influencer: they usually possess some very specific knowledge or specialize in a narrow sub-sphere. That’s why their content is more targeted and conceptualized.
This is what makes YouTube influencers potentially powerful trendsetters who cultivate loyal communities.
Take Omar El-Takrori as an exemplary case. With under 30k YouTube subscribers, Omar dedicates his channel to photography, making tutorials and tips to help people take better pictures. His viewers are a devoted crowd with a popular interest in common – a perfect ground for community-building.
What Can Influencers Offer Your Business?
It is perhaps this ability to unite people under the umbrella of a shared passion that allows YouTube micro-creators to be 4x more effective at boosting brand awareness than A-list celebrities.
Indeed, influencers come in handy when you promote your brand with a small starting audience on social media. They help get the word about your business out there, which then increases conversion rates and enhances brand recognition.
YouTube influencers are becoming so important in today’s marketing strategies because the young generation of audiences – your potential customers – trust influencers in guiding lots of their buying choices across a great number of industries.
And a successful partnership between your business and a growing micro-influencer can benefit your brand by putting it on the map for these audiences.
Think of Sarah Tripp, for example. This lifestyle YouTube micro-influencer has a close-knit community of 10k subscribers. Sarah focuses on discussing her life experiences and relationships – it forms the core of her intimate and cozy lifestyle blog.
Sarah’s collaboration with an authenticated luxury consignment website The Real Real gave birth to a series of gift unwrapping videos her audience enjoys so much because the products shown in the videos form part of the influencer’s lifestyle.
It is a great integration, especially considering her target audience who will likely be interested in buying the same items their favorite YouTuber possesses from the shop she vouches for.
How to Find YouTube Influencers?
You can pursue two ways to find your perfect YouTube micro-influencer.
If you have time at hand, you may do some YouTube research on your own.
Use the YouTube search tab and simply enter your request there. For instance: “beauty product reviews”, “sneakers unboxing video” – anything you imagine your collaboration might look like. Make sure to work out your criteria in advance – use keywords as precisely as possible to find the right creator.
You can also check previously sponsored content in your niche and go through the “Trending” section every now and then. A hashtag-based search is an additional tool if you know which combination to look for.
Once you’ve found your candidate(s), contact them through the platform. Done!
However, it’s not the best way for everyone. This manual method, though interesting, is very time-consuming.
As an alternative, you might invest in a paid tool that will do all the dirty work for you. Paid tools sift through hundreds and thousands of micro-influencer accounts to find the best match for your brand and campaign.
Now you have an idea of how to locate the best YouTube influencers. And it’s finally time to take a closer look at the ways you can partner with them to promote your brand in an authentic, engaging, and potentially highly profitable manner.
1. Sponsored Content Spots
When you see video intros like:
- Sponsored by;
- Paid post;
- Promoted by;
- Powered by, etc.
you’re looking at sponsored content.
Essentially, you finance a piece of (video) content a micro-influencer will create and place your brand within it in a holistic, non-invasive way.
When it comes to YouTube videos, the best way to present sponsored content is through the so-called “sponsored spots”. These are short, well-integrated, and brief mentions of a brand or a product within a larger piece of video content.
To illustrate: when a YouTube vlogger makes a long video about computer hardware maintenance and mentions that they only use the X cleaner spray to wipe their screen – that’s a sponsored content spot.
Why opt for this type of collaboration?
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a type of native advertising, which will make the mention of your brand organic to the influencer’s audience. A talented and experienced YouTube influencer will know well how to include your product into their channel in a natural way that will engage the viewers, not annoy them.
Besides, since it’s a shorter kind of video content, it is more affordable.
Once the video featuring your sponsored spot is out there, you can see how the audiences react, adjusting your collaboration strategy based on the feedback.
2. Product Reviews
More than 65% of consumers say that video content has inspired their buying choices. Additionally, research suggests that people are more willing to make a decision to buy a product when they’ve checked positive reviews online.
And product review videos on YouTube are fuelling these two tendencies more than any other type of visual content. In a product review, a micro-influencer tries on, shows, or tests a product by your brand.
What makes a product review video much more appealing than your typical written customer review is, naturally, the picture. The viewers have a much fuller experience with a product when they see it being used by a real person in (almost) real time.
Besides, unlike in sponsored ad spots, the whole video will be dedicated to your brand. Hence, of course, the higher prices – along with better outreach.
These videos specifically target those people who are farther down the buyer’s journey, giving them that last little push of encouragement to purchase your product.
Influencers know their audiences and create product review videos with their needs in mind. They feature lots of eye-catching visuals, detailed descriptions and explanations, and honest opinions.
This type of content is especially booming in the beauty industry (but not exclusive to it). TheHonestBeautyReview is a fine example of a micro-influencer who knows how to present brands and products to highlight their benefits or unique features.
Try this type of collaboration if you’re betting on a specific product by your brand that is sure to generate the buzz and become a competitive item in the niche.
3. Create and Spread Hashtags
Like other social media platforms, YouTube actively makes use of hashtags to:
- Tag various categories;
- Simplify the searching process;
- Reflect viewer trends.
Why should you care? Well, you can create a unique hashtag related to your brand and collaborate with influencers to help promote it. They can add them to their video content, sponsored posts, reviews, etc. The hashtag will be a convenient way to find videos connected to your brand or product on YouTube.
But is there more to hashtags? Of course:
- The use of hashtags can boost the organic reach of your posts;
- They raise awareness of your brand;
- They encourage potential customer engagement with your content;
- They target specific audiences (and you determine who it will be);
- They can become a new hot trend, etc.
Extra tip: when you use hashtags for your collaborative YouTube videos, don’t focus on just one hashtag. Say, you’re including #yourbrand under every piece of published video content a micro-influencer creates. Boost your outreach by following these simple steps:
- Use at least 2-3 hashtags: it will help attract more viewers with different interests and search purposes;
- Combine your unique hashtag with other trending hashtags;
- Track your hashtag performance and optimize them in the process.
The micro-influencer you’re working with will essentially spread these and popularize them, helping you navigate through trends along the way.
4. Start and Follow Challenges
Challenges are now a huge part of viral digital marketing. Remember the ice bucket challenge?
That definitely generated a lot of buzz, didn’t it? And you can aim for a similar effect through a collaboration with a YouTube micro-influencer.
Hop on the existing challenge campaigns or create your own!
It’s not simply a brand promotion strategy. Video challenges are also an amazing way to spice up an otherwise conventional marketing campaign. The competitive thrill will attract more and more people to your content and, thus, your product.
If the micro-influencer you collaborate with is open to this format, give it a go! Ask your viewers to compete, complete a task, or solve a problem that involves your product. If you can add some humor on top, that’s a recipe for success.
Let the “Will It Blend” challenge by Blendtech be your role model. Initially, it was a series of videos aiming to prove the quality of the brand’s high-speed blender. The company wanted to show that the device could blend anything – even household items.
And people took it from there! Customers started creating their own blending challenge videos, and the trend went viral.
Explore this type of content with your micro-influencer! It is an outstanding way to show the quality of your product and encourage the viewers to try it out themselves.
5. Unboxing Videos
Unboxing videos form one of the most “viral-worthy” types of content on YouTube these days.
According to YouTube stats, amateur and professional unboxing videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times, accumulating over 60 million hours.
People love watching unboxing videos because it’s as close to a first-hand experience with a product as it can get when there’s a screen separating you from it.
What products are the most popular items in YouTube unboxing videos? These include toys, phones and accessories, other electronic devices, watches, shoes, and lots of other goods. So whatever products your brand specializes in, you can take advantage of asking your YouTube micro-influencer to make a couple of unboxing videos on YouTube.
Choosing this type of collaboration might also encourage you to rethink the packaging for the products made by your brand. That’s a seemingly subtle but still crucial part of the customer’s experience.
6. Create Guides and Tutorials
Another great way to spread awareness of your brand and draw people’s attention to the benefits of your product is through visual guides and tutorials.
Such videos go a long way to show the functionality of your product, outlining its advantages in the process.
The key characteristic of a quality tutorial is its simplicity – the viewers should get the sense that your product is easy and pleasant to use. An experienced micro-influencer will find the best way of information delivery to create this impression.
For example, you may teach your potential customers to take full advantage of your product by creating step-by-step visual instructions. Once a viewer has seen a tutorial or guide on your product, they feel they are much better acquainted with your brand now. This, in turn, increases their trust and leads them toward a purchasing decision.
Besides, such videos achieve other goals:
- Resolve potential customer doubts;
- Make your brand a credible authority in the niche;
- Potentially reduce the number of customer service requests.
Take some inspiration from this Grammarly general guide as an example.
It does a fine job at presenting the solution, previewing its functionality, and explaining how it works. Visual cues combined with simple yet detailed explanations enhance the product’s appeal to the customer.
If your micro-influencer knows how to showcase your product in an entertaining yet educational manner, give it a go.
7. Start Ambassador Programs
This is probably the best way to incorporate micro-influencer marketing into your brand promotion if you’re in for long-term cooperation with the chosen YouTube creator.
Who is a brand ambassador? It is essentially a spokesperson for your brand. The ambassador shares a deep connection to the values of your brand, translating them into the video content they create.
The faith your ambassador has in the products you produce will eventually extend onto their own audiences, and that’s when you’ll see your conversion rates skyrocket.
Learn more about brand ambassador marketing to get a good idea of where to start developing this content type on YouTube.
Pro tip: you don’t need to limit your brand ambassador to the videos they create on their channel. go further and, say, score interview invitations with other influencers and channels to increase your outreach.
GoPro ambassadors do just that.
8. Develop Design Collaborations
Last but not least – why not create a design collaboration with a creative micro-influencer?
This is an especially bright idea if you’re a young brand that is still in the process of defining itself.
For instance, for the series of videos your YouTube influencer creates for your brand, you may develop a unique collaborative logo that will represent your joint work.
Another possible way to execute design collaborations is to ask the influencer to create a new package for your product, demonstrating the process in a video as part of a product review or an ambassador message.
Possibilities are nearly limitless here. Define your common goal together with a micro-influencer to see what will work best for their content medium, audience, and the brand.
If you’re looking to enhance your small business outreach and bring those sales up, collaborating with YouTube influencers might be just the right decision for you. YouTube videos continue to be the most popular and easily accessible online content, and you should not hesitate to leverage that.
When choosing between product reviews, unboxing videos, tutorials, and other types of YouTube micro-influencer marketing collaborations, make sure you understand how you want the creator to (re)present your brand to their audience. Because it will likely become yours, too.
And of course, do not be afraid to experiment with the formats! A huge number of legendary viral YouTube promotional campaigns started as a bold, sometimes risky idea or concept no one could vouch for.
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David Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing SAAS/agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.