Why Do They Do It?
Why do these YouTubers like talking about these products, even if the vast majority make little or no money from advertising or sponsors? Because they are enthusiasts, just as bloggers or Instagram users are. They love using these products, and want to share their expertise and interests with like-minded ad hoc communities. Of course, everyone likes making a little cha-ching along the way, when possible.
So here are 11 tips for an effective YouTube influencer marketing strategy that can be dovetailed into your overall marketing mix:
1) Amazing is Boring, But How-To is Hot
What should your strategy be? It’s a big question, but let’s try to make it simple.
When people are making a buying decision, they often go to YouTube to get information. Usually they want to know what a product feature looks like, or how to do a task which may involve that product feature. So the two most popular kinds of videos are 1) unboxing videos that walk people through the features of a new product as they unwrap it, and 2) how-to videos that show how products can solve a problem. Your potential customers, it turns out, are very happy to watch a long video that shows them something useful about how to use your product. So instead of paying a YouTuber to read some short script that says how amazing your products are, instead have them help the customer by teaching them how to use it. On YouTube, nobody believes the hype unless they see it for themselves.
2) What to Budget?
The cost of working with YouTubers is highly variable. Sometimes the more modest channels are happy with $100 or less per video, and the price could go as high as $100,000 or so for the most popular channels. But most small- to medium-sized businesses can do very well working with a number of smaller channels, if the right strategy is executed. Additionally, many small product review channels are just happy to get products sent to them, and aren’t expecting to be paid. Reviewing cool products gets them more views and grows their audience. (But money doesn’t hurt.)
Start by asking them how much they charge. Average the views of the last few videos uploaded by that channel. That’s about how many views you’re likely to get.
3) Be Relevant
Select YouTube creators because they know about products like yours and are already talking about them on their channels. If you put your product on a channel where it’s irrelevant, the product will be at best ignored, and at worst antagonized by the channel’s loyal viewers in the comment section. Moreover, the YouTuber herself will be criticized as a sell-out, and lose some of her audience. Make the experience a win-win-win for you, the YouTuber and the customer, not a lose-lose-lose.
4) Audience Size
Contrary to our tendency to gawk over high viewcounts, they don’t matter much and can be easily fudged with paid views to untargeted audiences. Rather, it’s the relevant audience that matters. Would you rather have 2,000 targeted views of people searching for your products, or 2 million views of people who hate your product and would never buy it?
Smaller, more relevant channels are secret gold, and you can cobble together a group of these niche influencers to provide, in total, as much audience as the larger influencers, potentially at a lower overall cost.
5) Let the YouTuber Decide
YouTubers know best what their audience will like and what type of discussion about your product fits in the context of their channel. Instead of telling them what to do, offer some suggestions, but say that you’ll be supportive of any ideas they come up with. You think you know what works best for your product on YouTube, but you don’t. This is a new medium. The YouTuber knows best, and when given control will work very hard to make it work because they will want you to have the best results, and because it’s a reflection of their skill and creativity, it’s personal.